The number of runners in local races is down this year from previous years said Howie Chadbourne, race director, for the 89th annual Boys & Girls race this year put on by alumnae of the non-profit. “All races are down by about 25%. There’s a real saturation in the racing field,” he said. There are so many races around so there is a lot of competition out there. But Chadbourne and his crew of volunteers were trying to increase those numbers this afternoon.
Chadbourne said that 165 people had signed up on line. Today they were picking up their numbers and T-shirts at one of the historic buildings on Portland Foreside near Portland Trails. There are two races scheduled for tomorrow. A 5K that starts at 9:15 am and a 5 Mile race that starts at 9:00 am. The race ends at 277 Cumberland Avenue, at the Boys & Girls Club, Portland. For those who signed up on-line the cost is $25.00 and to register tomorrow the cost is $30. The money provides scholarships to the Club.
Polly Kenniston, 81, has been running since she was fifty years old. “I love the running community. There isn’t a better community. It’s a good thing.” She is a part-time legal secretary at Jensen, Baird – a local law firm, where she has worked for thirty years. Kenniston said she plans to retire later this time and will find plenty to keep her busy. Charlie Baird, Assistant Harbor Master, said he’s been running in this race for about 20 years. His wife, Debbie Moulton, is an emergency room nurse and runs in this event as well. (See top, right photo of them.)
“It is saturated. There are so many races around,” said Tony Myatt, owner of PIne Tree Services, and former race manager for this event for six years. “If your numbers are down, you cut back on expenses, but you don’t make it obvious. If you increase your entry fee, you want to make sure you add an amenity,” said Myatt this afternoon. Myatt manages and owns ten races in the area, lives on Munjoy Hill. One of them is: the 5th Maine Running Hall of Fame 5K, in memory of Julius Marzul, will be held, on June 3rd, at 5:15 pm. Register online today at: www.runsignup.com
The 5 mile race, at 89 years old, is the second oldest race in the country. The 5K race is only two years old according to Chadbourne.