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In this episode we recap the Mount Desert Island Marathon in the beautiful state of Maine, USA.
Since this was my 50th marathon you will hear Trevor ask me to share some lessons and take-a-ways from my journey thus far. We also take a short walk down memory lane.
You never know where running will take you!
The Mount Desert Island Marathon
The 16th running of the Mount Desert Island Marathon in Maine took place on Sunday, October 15th, 2017. They also offer a half marathon (in its 4th year), a team relay and kids run.
The MDI Marathon fills up every year and has an informative website. They offered race deferrals, transfers to someone else and switching between races up until 6 weeks before the race. Another cool thing is that the race numbers are color coded so that participants, spectators, and race officials can identify the various groups:
- BLUE = Experienced Marathoner
- GREEN = Greenhorn- This is your first marathon
- PURPLE = Charity Fundraising Participant
- ORANGE = Team Relay
- RED = Half-Marathon
The race expo was located at the Atlantic Oceanside Event Center on Friday from 3-8pm and Saturday from 10-5pm. There were a few booths in the room and it was very easy to get your race packet.
Race swag consisted of a long sleeve tech shirt, maple water, balsamic vinegar and the usual brochures and advertisements. They had a pre-race pasta dinner on Saturday evening (which I didn’t attend).
The race director also started the Sea to Summit Series which includes MDI and the Millinocket Marathon and Half Marathon in December. Some of you may have heard of this event where race entry is free as an effort to support the community with more tourism after the lumber mill closed.
MTA Meet Up
I drove part of the 12 hour drive up to Maine on Friday and then finished up on Saturday. When I got to town I first went to packet pick up and then to the MTA meet up. We gathered at a coffee shop called Choco Latte on Saturday afternoon. It was awesome to meet Jason & Katy, Liz, and Abby who all live in Maine. Another MTA member Kathleen was also at the race but wasn’t able to attend.
Bar Harbor is a beautiful area that gets millions of visitors each year from around the world. There are lots of great restaurants, art galleries and culture. When I was walking around town I saw a cruise ship sitting just off the island. Bar Harbor was settled in 1763 by fishermen, shipbuilders, artists, and outdoor enthusiasts.
It has Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the North Atlantic Seaboard, and also the beautiful Acadia National Park. There are many activities to do in the area including hiking, biking, kayaking, birdwatching, snowshoe, cross country skiing, horseback, and great seafood.
Acadia was established in 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson with 6,000 acres. It has since expanded to 49,000 acres and encompasses nearly half of MDI and a scattering of smaller islands. The area has 125 miles of trails and some stately lighthouses.
I was thankful for easy logistics on race morning and found parking at a park area near the YMCA. The half marathon had a separate starting time (8:30am) and location. The weather was overcast and in the mid-50’s which is perfect for running.
The race offered an early start for those runners who would take longer than 6.5 hours and had made prior arrangements. The race announcer did announcements over a PA system, there was a beach ball being bounced around in the corral of runners and they played the song ‘Thunderstruck” to pump everyone up.
There weren’t any designated corral sections for different paces or pacing teams. The Star Spangled Banner was played by a trumpeter and the race cannon sounded at 8am to get the race started along Main Street in Bar Harbor. The course had a 7 hour time limit.
The race start was on Main Street in Bar Harbor and somewhat flat and slightly downhill before hitting the first of many hills. The course continued around Otter Creek and Seal Harbor, through Northeast Harbor, up Somes Sound to Somesville and down the other side to Main Street in Southwest Harbor where the race ended. There were not many spectators along the course, just a few through the town areas and around the aid stations.
The trees were spectacular with fall colors and the beauty made the numerous hills a lot better. It started to get foggy and misty around the half marathon starting line which obscured some views of the ocean. On a clear day the view of the water would have been wonderful but the fall colors were stunning throughout. It started raining around 10:30am and continued for the rest of the morning. Fortunately the temperatures remained mild so that it didn’t get chilly if you kept moving.
Around the Sargeant Drive area there was the Maine Seacoast Mission’s vessel SUNBEAM just offshore tooting her fog horn in support! They were also using the PA to cheer runners on and played “Chariots of Fire” which was really motivating and unique.
Along the course I saw one guy’s shirt that said,
“The best pace is a suicide pace and today is a good day to die.”
As we got toward the final ¼ of the course the portion designated for runners narrowed and was along a busy highway for the last 10k. This was definitely not my favorite part of the course as we were splashed by cars and treated to vehicle exhaust. Around the 24.5 mile mark there was a Citgo Sign as a tribute to the Boston Marathon.
There were aid stations approximately every two miles manned by very enthusiastic volunteers. Many of these were themed aid stations (one had a lady dancing in a fat suit, one was put on by midwives called “The Final Push”). They offered water, sports drinks, and gels toward the last few miles. I had a Generation UCAN snack bar pre-race and then 2 servings of UCAN in a bottle to take throughout. My energy felt solid throughout even though the hills took a toll on my legs. Use the code MTAMAINE to get 15% off!
The finish line area was in the town of South Harbor. My time was 4:56:42. At the finish line festival they gave out heat sheets. For refreshments they had Maple Water, sports drinks, granola, milk (white & chocolate), bagels, chips, bananas, and beer. I found the finish line area to be a bit confusing and it was challenging to find gear check and the shuttle bus area to transport back to starting area in Bar Harbor. But in all fairness they did include a map in the race packet (but I get notoriously turned around in unfamiliar areas). The race had live results and the medal was a gold lobster claw with a nice ribbon. Another awesome thing was free race photos.
They had a Sunday evening official post race party at the Side Street Café. I didn’t attend because I needed to start my drive back home.
- The marathon had 651 finishers (Males – 343, Females – 308),
- 508 half marathon finishers and 54 relay teams,
- The male marathon winner: 2:28:18 Bryan Morseman,
- The female Winner: 3:05:02 Leah Frost (4x winner and US Olympic Marathon Qualifier),
- 1st place male for the half marathon was- Eric Ashe 1:15:25,
- 1st place female winner- Erica Jesseman 1:21:57,
- MDI also hosted the 2017 RRCA Eastern Region Championship.
This race is a great one to do if you want to visit a beautiful area of the country, love great scenery and fall colors, like smaller races and don’t mind a lot of hills. It was a great one to do for my 39th state and 50th marathon.
Also Mentioned In This Episode
Blog Post: What I Learned From Running 50 Marathons
Generation Ucan -the revolutionary new way for runners to fuel without sugar. Use the code MTAMAINE to save 15%
Sun Basket -makes it easy to create healthy organic meals at home in 30 minutes or less.
Virtue Labs -a new haircare brand with a vision: To give everyone the best hair scientifically possible. Use the code MTA to try Virtue at 10% off, plus free shipping.
Rehoboth Beach Marathon in Delaware – my next marathon.
Not the greatest of marathons (very warm post mile 16) but I shaved off 37 minutes from my PR and last marathon with Coach Lynn’s guidance. Onto the next race in that elusive search for a BQ! -Megan at Marine Corps Marathon