BANGOR, Maine — A long-distance race is the shorter part of Sarah Mulcahy’s typical road-running experience.
Traveling around Eastern Maine to get to those events usually is the more time-consuming aspect for the 28-year-old schoolteacher who lives way Down East in Baring Plantation, just north of Calais along U.S. Route 1.
“The last two years I’ve been in Baring I’ve been part of Sub 5 [a Bangor-area track club], and I’ve made a network of friends and I race with them every weekend,” said Mulcahy, who teaches seventh- and eighth-grade math and science at Woodland Junior-Senior High School. “I’m the one who usually travels the most, but I Iove it. This is a network of people that I love, I’ve found so many friends through running.”
Mulcahy also has found considerable competitive success on the roads, emerging as one of the region’s top distance runners.
She has won numerous races this year at a wide range of distances, from last Monday’s Bangor Labor Day 5-Miler to June’s inaugural Bay of Fundy International Marathon in Lubec.
“The 10Ks and the half marathons are my favorites,” said Mulcahy, “but I’ve been putting a lot of time into training for marathons and I’m doing OK. I’m seeing results and I’m getting PRs every time I run one.”
Among Mulcahy’s other victories this year are the Chamberlain March Half-Marathon in Brewer, the FinishLynx Orrington 10K and two Washington County events, the Cobscook Bay 10K and the Perry to Eastport 7-Miler.
Mulcahy also is planning to serve as a race director for the first time when her school hosts the first Dragon’s Breath 5K on Saturday, Sept. 28.
“The National Honor Society is putting it on and they asked me to race direct it. It’s the first one, and we’re hoping to get people into it,” she said. “I’m kind of excited.”
Born in Eagle Lake and a graduate of Fort Kent Community High School and Saint Joseph’s College in Standish, Mulcahy is a relative newcomer to road racing.
“I started running in college for fun, and began competing in 2009 while I was teaching in Westbrook,” she said. “I never knew I was good, I just loved running.
“My first two races were in Texas when my husband [who works for the U.S. Border Patrol] was down there and I won them both,” Mulcahy said. “I was in a climate that I don’t usually run in so I thought maybe I have a shot at this.”
And while Mulcahy’s preferred running distances have proven to be fairly eclectic, her training regimen suggests a recent leaning toward longer events.
She ran her first two marathons at Sugarloaf and Mount Desert Island last year, then established her current personal best for the distance of 3 hours, 16 minutes and 12 seconds at the Bay of Fundy, a unique event that passed through both the United States and Campobello Island in Canada.
“It completely rivals MDI in the sense that the elevation is about the same as MDI,” Mulcahy said. “MDI has a lot of slow, gradual hills but Bay of Fundy has a lot of short, steep hills. It’s a great course. Anyone who wants a challenge, I really recommend it for next year.”
Mulcahy said she was slow to recover from Bay of Fundy, but that didn’t prevent her from taking on an even longer distance barely a month later, the seventh and final Great Cranberry Island 50K Ultra Marathon in late July.
She placed sixth in the women’s division and 15th overall in the GCI 50K, which was designated by the Road Runners Club of America as its 2013 national ultramarathon championship.
“I was coming off injuries and decided a week before the race that I was going to run it so I had no training under me, but it was my favorite race I’ve ever done,” said Mulcahy, who finished the 50K in 4:22.17, an 8:27 pace for the 31 miles run in back-and-forth fashion on the island’s 2-mile main road.
“Everyone was saying, ‘Down and back, down and back 16 times?’ But it was so much fun. Everybody was always cheering each other on, and you were seeing people all the time but you never knew where they were at. You’d see somebody and they might be at Mile 10 or Mile 30 but you were never exactly sure. I loved it.”
Mulcahy currently is training for the Oct. 20 MDI Marathon, and she hopes to run her first Boston Marathon next April.
“I qualified for this year’s [Boston] race at MDI last fall, but the 2013 race filled the day before I qualified,” said Mulcahy. “But then I beat that qualification time this year at Bay of Fundy, so I registered on the ninth of [August] and hopefully all will go well.”