VERONA, Maine — Runners will have an opportunity to enjoy the scenery from the Penobscot Narrows Bridge this weekend as part of a race raising money to send RSU 25 students to a leadership camp.
The first “Bridge the Gap” road race will begin Saturday morning at Fort Knox in Prospect on the Waldo County side of the bridge. Participants can choose between a 5-kilometer race and a 10-miler, both of which cross the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and then proceed around Verona Island.
Race-day registration opens at 8 a.m. at Fort Knox and is $20 for the 5K or $40 for the 10-mile race. There is also a $30 “family rate” for the 5K that covers one adult and up to three children under age 13.
All proceeds from the race will go toward a fund to help seventh-graders in RSU 25 attend the Leadership School at Kieve, a camplike program on the shores of Damariscotta Lake in Nobleboro. During the program, students take classes aimed at improving their decision-making skills, self-confidence and self-awareness.
Belle Ryder, co-founder of Ryder Boats in Bucksport and a member of the Bucksport Town Council, said Thursday that she began thinking about including the bridge and Verona Island in a race as she trained for a marathon. While local towns benefit from tourist traffic to the iconic bridge, there are few events centered on the bridge itself, she said.
Working with a friend, Ryder then set up an organization to stage the fundraiser race for the RSU 25 program. Ryder said she hopes the race will become an annual event.
The race starts at 10 a.m. The northbound lane of the bridge will be closed to traffic during the brief time that runners are on the bridge. The southbound lane will not be affected.
Opened in late 2006, the Penobscot Narrows Bridge has become a popular tourist destination because of the bridge’s unique design and the views of Penobscot Bay and the surrounding countryside from the observatory atop one of the towers.
For more information on the race, go to www.bridgethegaprace.org/.