May 20, 2018
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Eastport Speedo, bikini race raises more than $4,000

By Diana Graettinger

EASTPORT, Maine — The second annual Eastport Speedo and Bikini Race held on Valentine’s Day has raised more than $4,000 and counting.

Also known as Hearts Warming Hearts, this event raises funds to help provide heating assistance for local senior citizens. Organizers say checks are still coming in.

On Feb. 14, 11 individuals put on their favorite bathing attire to run in.

“Considering the economy, we did very well to match last year’s total and surpass it,” said organizer Jeff Starling in a press release.

Starling and fellow island restaurateur Bob Del Papa organized the first race last year. Starling, his wife, Lesley, and their son Tyson were runners this year.

Eight-year-old Ameena Viscarrondo raised $400, up $300 from last year, while her 3-year-old brother Antonio donated $9.36 from his piggy bank.

The Boat School, Husson University team of John Vreeland, Skylar Cook and Jake Markos raised more than $2,000.

“This was my second year to run,” Vreeland said. “I was determined to raise at least twice the $202 that I did last year so I formed a team. My fellow students and team members Jake Markos and Skylar Cook set the bar at $1,000 for our goal. I am ecstatic that we were able to bring in over $2,000 for the effort. We had a lady almost 90 contribute to our team because she was concerned about the elderly. We put out the call and people … responded. It was the very best Valentine I could ever give or receive.”

After the race, The Happy Crab Restaurant and owners Jeff and Lesley Starling hosted the runners and spectators and provided free hot chocolate and pizza. State Sen. Kevin Raye, R-Perry, and his wife, Karen, were on hand to give the runners and their supports jars of Raye’s Hot & Spicy Mustard in honor of their efforts and Valentine’s Day.

Starling is already planning for next year’s event.

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