New Cadillac to Katahdin virtual race aids Acadia, Millinocket

The connections between the Acadia and Katahdin regions run deep, through history, among residents and visitors – and now, with the first-ever virtual race that starts on Cadillac and ends on Katahdin, to help raise funds for the two areas.

virtual race

Announce your participation in the first-ever Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run by sharing this social-media friendly graphic. Register now. (Image by racery.com)

Runners and walkers anywhere in the world can join the 200-mile virtual race, and earn a special Cadillac to Katahdin Medallion to mark the achievement. The race runs from Aug. 15 through Dec. 9, and includes the routes of the real-life Mount Desert Island Marathon, Half & Relay that’s happening on Oct. 15, and the Millinocket Marathon & Half that’s on Dec. 9. Register now.

Co-sponsored by Acadia on My Mind and organizers of the real-life MDI and Millinocket races, the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run will help benefit the nonprofit Friends of Acadia, Our Katahdin and Millinocket Memorial Library. The Cadillac to Katahdin race is also the virtual edition of the first-ever Sea to Summit Series, where runners who participate in both the real-life MDI and Millinocket races can earn a special Sea to Summit finisher’s medallion.

Gary Allen, director of the real-life MDI and Millinocket races, and Sea to Summit Series, likens the impact of the races he’s launched as “a pebble tossed into still water,” with ever-widening rings of positive influence and inspiration. The rings have spread so far and wide, especially with his starting the free Millinocket Marathon & Half in December 2015 to provide an economic boost to the old mill town, that Allen has been profiled in Runner’s World, Down East Magazine and elsewhere.

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The 3″ gold Cadillac to Katahdin Medallion features raised lobster claw and pine tree. (Image by Ashworth Awards)

Just as the real-life MDI Marathon & Half have extended the Acadia area’s season beyond Columbus Day, and the Millinocket Marathon & Half have brought a boost just before the holidays to what has been an economically challenged Katahdin region, we hope this virtual race can be like another one of Allen’s pebbles tossed in still water, to help bring more funds and recognition to these two very special parts of Maine.

And just as more real-life visitors to Acadia are heading inland as part of their vacation, with the addition of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument last year, may our blogging about the new Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Race spur people to learn more about both regions, whether they’ve ever set foot in Vacationland or not.

Register now for the virtual race, and you have 117 days, from Aug. 15 to Dec. 9, to run or walk 200 miles, anywhere in the world. If you register late, you can backdate daily mileage to Aug. 15. And if you can’t complete the 200 miles by Dec. 9, you can log any additional miles needed on another virtual race that we’ve sponsored, the Acadia Centennial Trek.

virtual race

Are you up to the challenge of the 200-mile Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run? The Bubble Rock image at the top of Cadillac, the highest point on the US Atlantic coast, represents Acadia on My Mind. The finish line is atop Katahdin, the highest point in Maine. (Image by racery.com)

Virtual race aids Acadia, Katahdin-area nonprofits, comes with bling

At least 5% of the registration fees ($30 for participants who are signed up for one of the real-life MDI or Millinocket races, and $35 for all others) go to benefit the nonprofit Friends of Acadia, Our Katahdin and Millinocket Memorial Library.

acadia national park hiking

You can add the collector’s edition of the Acadia Centennial Medallion, pictured here on top of Cadillac, when registering for the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run, at a special price of $10.

The fee includes the Cadillac to Katahdin Medallion, made by Ashworth Awards, the same company that makes the MDI and Boston Marathon medals; a digital bib and finisher’s certificate; and participation in the racery.com-powered virtual race, which displays Google Street View photos where available, of where you virtually are based on your day’s ending mileage.

There’s an option during registration to add a second medal, the collector’s edition of the Acadia Centennial Medallion, for $10 (regular price, $25). Medals will be mailed as participants finish, beginning no later than early December, domestic postage included, with an extra charge for international shipping.

Virtual races are a growing fitness trend, offering runners and walkers the ability to be part of a real-life race anywhere in the world, or to join with family and friends in all corners of the earth for a fun challenge. They also offer the chance to raise funds for charity, earn a finisher’s medal and be part of a real and virtual community.

We first teamed up with MDI Marathon last year in co-sponsoring the MDI Marathon and Half Marathon – Acadia100 Virtual Edition, as a joint Acadia Centennial Partner commitment to celebrate the 100th anniversary and help raise funds for the park.

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Home page for the 2017 MDI Marathon. (Image by runmdi.org)

We powered that race, as well as the virtual 100-mile Acadia Centennial Trek, through racery.com, which allows participants to see their avatar move on a map of the virtual route with the logging of daily miles, as well as the chance to cheer, or gently razz, fellow racers.

Between those 2 virtual races last year, about 400 racers from around the globe covered 30,000 miles, to help raise funds for Acadia, and have the chance to earn a special Acadia Centennial Medallion to mark the accomplishment.

Virtual races have real-life meaning, for health and friendships

acadia centennial

Julie and Roger Grindle of Hancock at the finish line of their 100-mile Acadia Centennial Trek. (Photo courtesy of Julie Grindle)

The reasons that people gave for signing up for last year’s virtual races were all over the map, from having a special way to mark Acadia’s Centennial, to training for the real-life MDI Marathon & Half; and from having another reason to hike Acadia’s trails, to doing something fun in retirement.

Participants from as far away as Scotland and Australia joined in, and racers ranged in age from 10 to 70.

And among some of the magical stories: People who may never have met in real life, like @TrailWitch and @RangerMo, or @HikingWithPups, @Linnane and @AOMM, except for participation in the virtual races. (Those are their racery.com monikers.)

But perhaps the story that has been most inspirational, is the one shared by @Grin and @Grinny (Julie and Roger Grindle of Hancock).

Last year, Roger had just retired, and the Acadia Centennial Trek came at the perfect time as a fun activity for the couple to do together.

acadia centennial trek

Julie and Roger Grindle’s Acadia Centennial medal has the state of Maine covered! They found that special rock while Trekkin’ behind their camp. (Photo by Julie Grindle)

Among the most enthusiastic Trekkers, Julie and Roger came to the Acadia Centennial Trek meet-up we hosted at Side Street Café, and proudly shared photos of the medal being draped on pink granite along Ocean Path, and over a rock shaped like the state of Maine, which they found somewhere on their rambles.

This year, Julie is being treated for cancer, and credits her continuation with the Trek, even though she’s long past the original 100 miles of the virtual route, as helping with her recovery.

“The Acadia Centennial Trek was a highlight of 2016 for us and unexpectedly supports my fitness level for this current cancer journey!” as Julie posted this morning in a Trek comment, at about the 489 mile mark of her racery.com log.

@Grin, may the Trek help speed your recovery!

And if you have a chance to join the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Race, may the special medallion – which reminds us of the photo you shared of the Acadia Centennial medal over the Maine-shaped rock – also represent a triumph over illness.

It’s easy to join the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Race

  1. Sign up with your name and e-mail at this registration page
  2. The race starts on Aug. 15 and ends Dec. 9
  3. You can track your daily miles any way you like, and can backdate them to Aug. 15
  4. Log your miles on the race page
  5. Racery will keep track of fun stats like your total mileage and miles per week

Check out the racer experience in this short video.

virtual race

Dec. 9, 2017, is the running of the Millinocket Marathon & Half to benefit the Katahdin region, and also marks the end of the Cadillac to Katahdin Virtual Run. (Image by Crow Athletics)

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.