Pumpkinman festival teams with cancer society

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Posted May 21, 2009, at 1:27 a.m.

A program that was jumpstarted in Illinois back in 1996 is now up and running in Maine.

The American Cancer Society has launched the Charity Runner program in Maine. It provides local running enthusiasts the opportunity to dedicate the miles they run in honor or memory of a loved one who has had or is battling cancer.

The program has selected the Pumpkinman Triathlon Festival, set for Sept. 12-13 in South Berwick, as its official race partner. It is the first such Charity Runner event to be held here.

The race will feature two events over the two days, with a Sprint Triathlon consisting of a one-third-mile swim, 14.25-mile bike and 3-mile run Sept. 12 and a Half Ironman Triathlon Sept. 13, which will feature a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike and half-marathon run. That’s half the respective distances of an IronMan Triathlon (2.4, 112, 26.2, respectively).

An Illinois runner who wanted to compete in a marathon in memory of a friend who died of cancer got the Charity Runner program off the ground. It has been going strong ever since, according to Sue Clifford, communications director at the American Cancer Society Maine.

“It’s helped a lot of athletes achieve training and race goals at the same time,” Clifford said.

Once events such as triathlons began to expand, it was only fitting that the program do the same.

“Because of overwhelming popularity interest from other endurance sports like triathlons, the American Cancer Society decided to expand the program nationwide in 2007,” said Clifford.

Registration has already started for the Pumpkinman event, but 10 spots for both races are being reserved for those who want to participate in some fundraising.

Clifford said those who want a fundraising spot in the sprint triathlon must commit to raising at least $1,200, and potential participants in the Half Ironman event must raise at least $1,500.

With the interest that has been generated thus far, the outlook for fundraising is promising.

“We’ve had calls from all up and down the eastern seaboard about this, people are very excited about this opportunity,” Clifford said.

Since 1996, more than 4,000 athletes nationwide have teamed up to raise $5.2 million through Charity Runner in the fight against cancer. In return for their fundraising efforts, Charity Runners will receive benefits, such as a personalized Web site to assist in fundraising efforts, an American Cancer Society racing T-shirt, complimentary local training and an opportunity to dedicate their participation in memory or honor of a loved one stricken by cancer.

For those who aren’t planning to participate in the Pumpkinman triathlon, volunteers are encouraged. To sign up to volunteer, contact the American Cancer Society at 800-227-2345 and ask for Community Executive Donna Muto, or sign up online at www.charityrunner.org and click on the state of Maine link, which will bring up the Pumpkinman event.

Running for Patty

Sunday’s gloomy and wet conditions didn’t stop 150 running and walking enthusiasts from heading to Lee for the Patricia Corbin Memorial Run, or “Patty’s Race.”

The race, which covers roughly 3.2 miles over portions of Lee Academy’s cross country course, dirt roads and pavement, commemorates the former Lee cross country runner who died in a car accident while a student at the school in 2002.

Runners were treated to dozens of prizes and a plethora of age-group and overall awards, which were earned after competing on a challenging course that featured a hilly first mile, including a steep climb just before the mile mark.

The respective male and female divisions were won by Lee Academy graduates Ty Thurlow and Amanda Gifford.

rmclaughlin@bangordailynews.net

990-8193

http://bangordailynews.com/2009/05/21/sports/pumpkinman-festival-teams-with-cancer-society/ printed on July 25, 2014