Race Location: Ellsworth to Eastport, Maine
Race Date: 7/20-7/21/2018
Race Managed/Timed By: Crow Athletics
Proceeds to Benefit (if any): The Down East Trail Coalition, who maintain the trail
Organization of Bib Pick Up: Bib pickup is at the starting line of the relay 30 minutes before your team’s start time. Teams have a staggered start depending on the estimated finish time of the team. Start times run from 5:30 p.m. Friday to 1:00 a.m. Saturday.
Organization of Race: The race was well-organized; we received our start time the week of the race & the race started on time. There were a lot of details provided on the website and in the driving, running, and race packets. On the course there were markers at the hand off points, and markers at tricky turns for both runners & drivers. Once the race started, there wasn’t much oversight. There were port-o-potties at a few exchange points but not at most; there was no oversight at the exchange points, & there were no medical personnel. The course is broken into 16 legs and teams can have a maximum of 8 people. Teams have to run a 12 minutes mile or faster.
Course Description: The trail system is gorgeous, as are the surrounding areas. The race is 102.7 miles total, with 85 on trails and the rest on roads. The course is broken into 16 legs. The Down East Sunrise Trail is a rail trail with a mostly sand & gravel surface. The exchange points were pretty easy to find & had enough side of the road parking for teams. There were 42 teams this year, which was double their team number from last year. This is the 5th year of this race. At the leg 13 exchange point, the ATV club offered bathrooms & homemade breakfast starting at 3 a.m. The race organizers hope to build more local support in coming years. Eastport is the eastern most city in the US and the sunrise is spectacular to see as a runner or from the car! The sunrise started around 3:30 a.m.
Spectators/Energy: The teams and runners were very supportive of one another, and there was a positive, albeit tired, energy throughout the entire relay. There were no spectators on the trails, but teams cheered on runners along the road portion of the race & the downtown Eastport finish line. Mostly the energy was from runners & teams supporting each other.
Swag: A hefty medal with the state of Maine & rail road ties. The ribbon around the medal shows all of the legs of the relay! In order to keep costs low, the shirt was for sale, and not part of the registration cost.
After Party: Was held at the Quoddy Bay Lobster restaurant. Wait times were long, so we just got ice cream & hung out for awards to be given.
Other Thoughts/Comments: This was my first relay, so I can’t compare it to Reach the Beach or other relays. I loved the experience and the challenge of this relay, and also being able to explore northeastern Maine. It has a rustic feel since it is on trails, and has few facilities available, but I think that adds to the unique challenge and adventure of this race.
~ Erin M.