LUBEC, Maine — Shanna Wheelock, a Lubec artist, is spending four months preparing the nearly-100 ceramic pieces that will serve as awards for the first Bay of Fundy International Marathon.
The inaugural marathon takes place Sunday, June 23 in Lubec and across Campobello Island, New Brunswick. It is just the third marathon in the United States that crosses the US-Canada border. The marathon starts at the West Quoddy Head Lighthouse, crosses Campobello Island, turns around at the East Quoddy Head Lighthouse and finishes on Lubec’s Water Street.
More than 300 runners will participate in the marathon, and 150 more are expected in the same-day 10K, which stays entirely within Lubec. With four months until the race weekend, runners have registered from 32 states, five provinces, Uruguay and Ireland. The 26.2-mile race is one of more than 720 annual marathons across the United States, according to Running USA, an industry group that tracks trends in running.
The race is being organized by a cross-border committee of 16 volunteers. John Hough of Edmunds Township is the race director, and Katherine Cassidy of Lubec and Sue Keef of Campobello are the event’s co-chairs. Ron Beckwith, supervisor of Roosevelt Campobello International Park,is the event’s honorary chair.
The marathon committee’s objectives for the race weekend are three-fold: to inspire healthy, active lifestyles within Lubec and Campobello; to create an economic impact for Lubec and Campobello; and to further collaboration and cooperation between the Lubec and Campobello communities.
Wheelock was asked in January to design and prepare hand-crafted awards for both the marathon and the 10K. The marathon’s overall winners (for places 1-2-3) will receive bowls of graduated sizes with herring designs, and 10K winners (places 1-2-3) will receive jars each with the herring design. Age-group winners in both races will receive herring-design medallions. Team winners in both races will receive herring-design tumblers .
Known as “the easternmost potter in the United States,” Wheelock is adapting her original hand-carved Herring Collectors Series design for the awards project. The herring theme was inspired by the sardine canning and smokehouse industry that once thrived in Lubec. Each piece is individually hand-carved or pressed, then finished with oxide stains and glazes.
Formerly the art teacher for the Lubec Consolidated School for several years, Wheelock volunteers her time to help to build the local arts community within Lubec and Washington County. She was featured as the narrator in the 2009 documentary film “Lubec Arts Alive.”
“Shanna’s pottery has long been admired by the community,” said Cassidy, the race’s founder. “We are delighted to enlist her as the creator of our awards for the marathon and 10K, because her designs represent our communities’ shared fishing heritage.”
Wheelock’s pottery will be on display and for sale at the race weekend’s expo, on Saturday, June 22, from noon to 6 p.m. at the Lubec Consolidated School. It is also found online at shannawheelock.com. More information about the Bay of Fundy International Marathon may be found at its website, bayoffundymarathon.com.