ELIOT, Maine — Thousands of festivalgoers, spectators and runners gathered at Eliot Days Festival for a day of competition and fun, Saturday, Sept. 28. Over 500 of them competed in the festival’s 5K race and the inaugural Pumpkinhead Half Marathon.
Visitors from across New England and as far as Arizona finished the half marathon, ran a 13.1-mile course through rolling hills and along the Piscataqua River. The top finishers split a purse of $3,000. Eric Ashe of Boston, Massachusetts, placed first for men’s with a time of 1:09:29. Heidi Caldwell of Craftsbury Common, Vermont, placed first for the women’s division with a time of 1:17:37.
During the festival, members of the community came together to celebrate their town and the start of autumn. Local vendors lined the streets, the Eliot Elementary School choir performed original songs and teams raced homemade outhouses during the festival’s first Outhouse Race. Shipyard Brewing expanded upon the festival at their nearby brew pub with extreme sport demos, a beer garden, and live music.
“We saw a lot of smiles on a lot of faces and that makes the day a total success,” said Shipyard owner Fred Forsley. “The town has done an amazing job of producing this festival for the last 39-years and we were honored to bring our resources and energy to help raise visibility and attendance. We’re already looking forward to next year.”
The two races helped raise funds for End 68 Hours of Hunger, a nonprofit combatting food insecurity for school-aged children.
“Receiving these donations are sincerely appreciated and will help us to continue End 68 Hours of Hunger’s mission,” said program coordinator Tricia Foster. “The support we get get from the community is huge and we can’t thank enough the 25-plus area volunteers who coordinate every week to make this happen.”
The Second Annual Pumpkinhead Half Marathon will coincide with the 40th Annual Eliot Festival Days in September 2020. Registrations will open in the spring of next year. 2019 Sponsors Include: Gorham Savings Bank, Cross Insurance, The Press Room, Dirty Water Media, Maine Magazine, Boulos Company, Three Rivers Whitewater, Elite Airways, Sunday River, Sugarloaf Inn, Kennebunk Savings, Abacus Health Products, Hampton Inn & Suites Kittery, Portland Radio Group, SOL Sports Events, Attar Engineering, Nemo Equipment, GetMaineLobster.com and Weir Motors.
Thanks to Shipyard Brewing Co./Three Rivers Whitewater.