LUBEC, Maine — More than 500 runners will flock to the tiny waterfront village of Lubec for the second Bay of Fundy International Marathon and 10K on Sunday.
Last year’s inaugural event provided a boost to local businesses with the influx of visitors, and this year is expected to do likewise although the number of runners registered for the marathon is down.
The marathon course begins at West Quoddy Head Lighthouse — the easternmost point of the U.S. — and crosses the Roosevelt International Bridge to Campobello Island in Canada. The runners return to Lubec, where the marathon ends on the waterfront.
Runners have registered from as far west as Hawaii, California, Oregon, and Washington, as far north as North Dakota, and as far south as Texas and Florida. The marathon also has drawn runners from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in Canada and Spain, Iceland, Germany, and the Czech Republic.
This year’s 10-kilometer road race had 287 runners signed up as of Monday — about the same number as 2013 — and people can register up until 9:45 a.m. Sunday, said marathon director John Hough.
Unlike the marathon, the 10K course is entirely within the U.S. and goes from the West Quoddy Head Lighthouse to the Lubec waterfront. The 10K start time is at 10:30 a.m.
Marathon finishers will receive a maritime-themed medal hand crafted by a local artist, and top finishers in the 10K will receive awards.
Activities during the weekend of the marathon include sightseeing at four lighthouses in the region, whale-watching cruises, a craft fair and traditional lobster boil on Saturday, a 5K walk and fun run and street fair on Sunday, and more.
One difference this year is the start time, 7 a.m. Last year’s marathon featured two start times — 6 a.m. for slower participants and 8 a.m. for other runners.
Some local businesses reported their best days during the marathon last year, according to Hough, and Roosevelt Campobello International Park on Campobello Island, which preserves the home and summer retreat of the family of President Franklin Roosevelt, experienced a “huge boost” in visitors. Inns from Machias to Calais were filled, he said.
“Obviously, it’s not quite as jam-packed this year,” said Hough.
Two hundred and sixty-eight people are registered for the marathon, down from about 500 who participated in the inaugural event a year ago. The biggest reason for the decline, said Hough, is what he called the “Boston effect.” After the bombing at the Boston Marathon in 2013, there was a jump in people who registered for qualifying marathons in order to be able to participate in the 2014 Boston Marathon in a show of support for the greater Boston region.
More than 200 people volunteer to help put on this year’s marathon. They include Betty Quinlan, at 94 the oldest volunteer, a summer resident of Lubec who strings the medals for the marathon finishers. The medals are hand-crafted pewter sea urchins designed by Richard Klyver of Eastport.