Off to the virtual races! Strong start to 100-mile Acadia virtual race

virtual races

First day of the inaugural 100-mile Acadia Centennial Trek is in the record books. Join in any time; you have until the end of the year to finish the Acadia virtual race.

The first-ever Acadia Centennial Trek, a free virtual 100-mile race to help celebrate Acadia’s 100th anniversary, jumped into action on the Leap Day of Feb. 29, with dozens of participants strong out of the gate.

And Gary Allen, founder and director of the Mount Desert Island Marathon, and the man who’s single-handedly helping to revive Millinocket with a free real-life marathon and half, has thrown his weight behind this inaugural trek as well.

Beginning at sunrise on Feb. 29, at the virtual top of Cadillac, @Mac (as represented by HM on the above map) did an 11.4 mile run, ending just shy of Gorham Mountain. (Never participated in a virtual race? Read more about this Acadia virtual race.)

acadia centennial

Be part of history by joining the first-ever 100-mile virtual Acadia Centennial Trek, and have the option of buying a finisher’s medal to help raise funds for the park.

Not to be outdone, more than 30 other of the approximately 80 participants logged their miles, stretching out the icons down Cadillac Mountain Road, along the 1-way Park Loop Road, past Sand Beach and Precipice, all over the virtual map.

Participants all over the world have all year to join the race, log their 100 virtual miles in Acadia National Park, covering all 26 peaks of Acadia on Mount Desert Island, sections of the real routes of the MDI YMCA’s Acadia and Fall Half Marathons, and ending at the finishing line for the real MDI Marathon.

There’s the option to purchase a finisher’s medal, featuring the Acadia Centennial logo (details to come), to help raise funds for the park, part of our Acadia Centennial Partner commitment.

Virtual race guide to mile markers links to Google Maps photos

And if you don’t know Acadia like the back of your hand, as racers @Linnane or @MG do, we’ve put together an online guide to each of the route’s mile markers, with links to Google Maps photos where available, and featuring our own photos from our years of hiking and writing about the park in our Falcon hiking guides.

We’ve even put together a Facebook events page where participants can upload their own photos, no matter where in the world they may be logging their miles, and no matter how, whether by running, hiking, step-counting or some other way.

As of the end of the first day of the running of the Acadia Centennial Trek, @ChrisG (CG map icon) logged 16.3 miles, and is just about on the summit of virtual Dorr Mountain.

Also yesterday, @Linnane (JL map icon) walked up and down Cadillac – really! – while @MG (MF map icon) hiked Parkman and Bald – also really! – although on the virtual route map, they’re somewhere on the Park Loop Road or Cadillac Mountain Road.

Who says you can’t hike Acadia in winter, really?

If you zoom in on a Garmin Connect map, where we drew the 100-mile route for use by Racery.com for this race, and expand mileage markers to 1-mile increments, you can see where in the park you virtually are, based on the miles logged.

Time to get trekking! Sign up now. Invite family, friends and fellow fans of Acadia, to truly make this a global virtual community of fitness aficionados! You can be age 5, or 95, doesn’t matter, as long as you’re young at heart, and have Acadia on your mind.

virtual races

We used Garmin Connect to custom design a 100-mile route for the virtual race that’s being hosted on Racery.com. To see 1-mile increments and elevation, click on this link, check the “Mile Markers” box, zoom in on the map with the + sign, and select “Terrain” from the dropdown menu below the icon that looks like a stack of papers.

CAUTION: Don’t necessarily follow the virtual Acadia Centennial Trek route on any of your real-life exploration of Acadia. The route was drawn for the convenience of coming up with exactly 100 miles, covering all 26 peaks of Acadia on Mount Desert Island, some of the Park Loop Road, carriage roads and the routes of Acadia and Fall Half Marathons, and ending at the MDI Marathon finish line. It could be that some of the virtual route doesn’t follow any official trail, or goes up the hardest way, rather than the recommended way, up a particular mountain, or along less-than-scenic campground roads. We’d recommend getting a good topo map and hiking guide, before setting out on the trails. We’re fond of our own guides, of course (see sidebar), but you can search Amazon.com for other books or maps, or try a free app like Chimani. The sponsors of this race assume no liability for accidents happening to, or injuries sustained by, participants in the Trek. The sponsors also do not make any representations as to the conditions of the virtual routes as they apply to the actual routes at Acadia. If you are hiking, running or biking in Acadia National Park as part of the Trek, be sure to follow the rules for park passes, safety, and trail and road usage, available at nps.gov/acad.

Dolores Kong & Dan Ring

About Dolores Kong & Dan Ring

Dolores Kong and Dan Ring are co-authors of the Falcon guides Hiking Acadia National Park and Best Easy Day Hikes Acadia National Park, and also blog at acadiaonmymind.com. They’ve backpacked the 270-plus miles of the Appalachian Trail in Maine, and are members of the Northeast 111 Club, having hiked all major peaks of the Northeast. Dolores is a former staff reporter at The Boston Globe. Dan is a journalist and former Statehouse bureau chief in Boston for the old Ottaway News Service and for The Republican, the daily newspaper for Springfield, Mass. They are married and live outside Boston.