Down East Sunrise Trail Relay | Race Recap

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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.

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Sugarloaf 15K |Race Recap

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Race Location: Sugarloaf, Maine

Race Date: 5/20/18

Race Managed/Timed By: All Sports Events

Organization of Bib Pick Up: Very organized and easy to get in and out. Barely any lines. However, we were required to be present to pick up bibs, no picking up for friends/family, which can be difficult for a destination race. Pick up was 3-7 p.m. so it was assumed you would be coming up the day before and staying the night. Early morning pick up was offered, but logistics were unclear.

Organization of Race: The race seemed decently organized. Meeting locations and transportation was very clear. A warming bus was available at the start of the 15k. There were enough portopotties at the very start of the race, however there was no hand sanitizer in them. Shuttles were provided from the hotel to the start of the race, but I prefer drop-off so I don’t have to be there as early. There was a small convenience store at the start that allowed us to wait inside. Warnings were announced prior to the race start time. Runners did not line up by pace so there was a fair amount of dodging for at least 2 miles. Water stations were available every 1-2 miles with both water and Gatorade. I did not see fuel or medical care during the course. There were no race provided portopotties between the start and the finish. Many runners darted into the woods around the half way point. Medical support was available at the end of the race, as well as many massage tables. Warming blankets and water were right at the finish. I was texted almost immediately with my race results. Mile markers were every mile and very clear.

Course Description: Road running along a very scenic river. It was not a closed course, so cars and trucks were driving in both directions during the run. If you stayed with a group, the cars seemed more likely to move over, however there were a few cars that came way too close and were going much too fast. Other than a police officer at the start of the race, I did not see any police or course marshals along the route until the finish line. Running on the side of the road was difficult and not at all flat. The course was mostly down hill with a few rolling hills, but was hard to enjoy because all I could think about was my expanding bladder!

Spectators/Energy: Very few spectators, but the ones that were there cheered for everyone. Lots of cheering at the finish line but was definitely a small crowd. Some spectators drove along the course cheering, following their runners.

Swag: Long sleeve tech shirt, actually looks pretty nice and I ended up running in it. Women’s medium was true to size and fit nicely. Swag bag had granola, Sugarloaf stickers, printed logistics for day-of. The finishers medal was a wooden carved medal that was shared for both the 15k and marathon finishers.

After Party: Lots of snack options at the end of the race: 2 types of soup, pastries, bagels with peanut butter or cream cheese, granola, bananas and oranges and other snacks. I did not walk thru the entire food tent. There was a large tent for massages with many tables available.

Other Thoughts/Comments: I ran this race just so I could be at the marathon finish to cheer on a friend, otherwise I would not have driven so far for a 15k. The course was nice, but I was too preoccupied with having to pee, not being able to run in the middle of the road and worrying about cars at my back. I also thought I had read that there was fuel available but did not see it. I am fine running close to 10 miles without fuel, but I don’t think that’s true for everyone. I was surprised there was no medical support on the course, especially considering it covered the last 9 miles of the marathon course. However, there were many medial staff at the end of the race, one even approached me and asked me a bunch of questions before he would let me go. I’m glad I ran it, but I won’t run it again. Running with 2-way traffic and no portopotties is a no-go for me!

~ Suzanne A.

Shipyard Maine Coast Half Marathon | Race Recap

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Race Location: Biddeford, ME

Race Date: 5/12/18

Race Managed/Timed By: Racewire

Organization of Bib Pick Up: Bib pickup was Friday night from 4-8 p.m., and before the race. I thought it was well organized. They checked my ID, so are serious about bib pickup. You could also get your ID checked for a beer bracelet at that time instead of having to carry your license.

Organization of Race: The race was well organized. There was plenty of parking, and there were potties at the starting point. They also had water at the start. We started in waves every 3 minutes. For the first 1.5 mile runners were tightly packed on the side of the road since it was still open to traffic. Almost all of the roads were open to traffic & cars weren’t too aggressive. There was water & Gatoraid every 2 miles or so. There were port-o-potties along the route as well. The race seemed to be capped at 1200 runners & sold out weeks before the race.

Course Description: The course is gorgeous! The views over the water and the beach houses. There were rolling hills throughout the course. The course was in a Y shape with out & back stretches. The out & back was nice because spectators didn’t have to go far to see runners multiple times.

Spectators/Energy: Volunteers were so friendly, as were other runners. There were stretches with few spectators, but from what I recall, at the beginning, end, and at an intersection for miles 7 & 11.25 there was an energetic crowd. shipyard_medalimg_8094.jpg

Swag: The metal is so cool! You could pay more at registration for the shirt, but I didn’t. At the end each person got a reusable water bottle full of water

After Party: Nice party afterwards. Runners got 2 beer tickets & 1 ice cream ticket (I’d rather more ice cream!). There was music & snacks & places to sit. Although when I finished, at 2h 20min, many vendors had packed up & by 3h 20min when my cousins finished there was very little of the snacks & no vendors left.

Other Thoughts/Comments: This was a fast field of runners! I finished in 2:20, which didn’t feel so slow, but I was finished 1051 out of 1209.

~ Erin M.