December 13, 2017
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Marathon pumps life into Maine region wracked by mill closures

By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff
Updated:

As many as 1,850 runners will run in a marathon on Saturday designed to bolster the Katahdin-region economy.

Registration for the third annual Millinocket Marathon and Half has closed due to the response from runners looking to race in Millinocket and along a small portion of Maine’s fabled Golden Road, co-organizer Gary Allen said.

The founder of both the Millinocket event and the Mount Desert Island Marathon, Allen, of Cranberry Isles, waived runner entrance fees but encouraged attendees to splurge at area shops, restaurants and hotels and see how much the region has to offer. His goal: to help the region recover from two mill closures.

Last year’s races ― a 13.1-mile first and 26.2-mile second loop — drew 953 pre-registrants and 592 participants.

“I think we will top last year in many ways. People in the region know now what to expect and I think the buzz from last year’s race is carrying over,” Allen said.

[Opinion: I won the Millinocket Marathon, but that wasn’t the goal]

The race has a reputation for being especially challenging, given that last year’s winner, 31-year-old Ryan Collins of Portland, finished with an icicle hanging from his chin. It’s an Olympic Trials, Boston, Chicago and New York marathons qualifier, Allen said.

Forecasts for this year’s event call for temperatures in the low 20s and 30s and possibly snow.

The event’s schedule lists several indoor and outdoor activities, plus taxi and bus shuttle services to facilitate pub crawls, said Susan D’Allesandro, a race coordinator.

Organizers encourage spectators to sign the race’s Facebook page or the town’s website at millinocket.org for event updates. People who seek to help the region should visit ourkatahdin.com.

“It’s funny how things like this can energize people and businesses, the community as a whole,” D’Allesandro said. “It’s been quite amazing to see the dedication that people have had to it.”

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