Starting 2019 with a bang, nearly 100 walkers and runners from around the country are virtually logging miles from Acadia National Park to Millinocket, and even going by Stephen King sites along the way – to do good, stay fit, and keep up with old friends and make new ones.
And if over the first 100 days of the new year, participants in the Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race get a streak going, they earn the right to a custom medal, featuring a star for each 20-day streak, plus a large sequined star for logging at least 1 mile daily all 100 days, for a maximum 5 stars. Registration open now.
Launched last year with Mount Desert Island Marathon & Half and Millinocket Marathon & Half as the virtual edition of the Sea to Summit Series, the virtual race has so far raised $375 for charity, on top of the $800 raised in an earlier edition of the race.
But perhaps as meaningful as benefiting charity, the virtual race has led one participant to lose 21 pounds (@LRM); helped a couple of racers keep a more than year-long streak going (@Shellperry and @KDW); allowed fans of the Acadia and Katahdin regions to see photos of the places they love in the race course’s Google Street Views; and let family and friends stay in touch, no matter where in the world they log their miles.
In 2018, we learned who among the virtual racers are Stephen King fans, thanks to @Ghost, who challenged other racers to dedicate a 10+ mile entry to an SK story. We met virtual racers, some for the first time, on the day of the real-life MDI and Millinocket races and throughout the year, logging some miles together on a small remote island or sharing a cup of good cheer at the Sawmill Restaurant in Millinocket.
And we had fun with a Team #lobster vs. Team #moose challenge, along with custom #lobstrosity and #MonsterMoose medals for those who logged 10 or more miles in one day; playing mini-golf at a Millinocket Memorial Library fundraiser that featured Stephen King books lining the “fairway”; and giving away gift certificates from SK-Tours, Moose Drop In, Gift MDI and L.L. Bean. (See sidebar for coupon code for 10% off Gift MDI, one of our affiliated partners)
For 2019, may the Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race help you keep your new year resolutions, whether it’s to train for a marathon or a trip to hike Acadia National Park or Baxter State Park, lose weight, get fit, or stay in touch with family and friends, no matter where in the world they are. Even if you don’t make a 20-day streak for a star, and even if you haven’t completed the 337.8-mile virtual race course, everyone is a winner, as medals will ship after April 10.
The continuation into the first 100 days of the new year makes this the virtual edition of 2019 Streak-100, co-sponsored with Crow Athletics, with special pricing for Crow members signing up for the first time, as well as for those who participated in the real-life MDI or Millinocket races. Sign up here.
Maine virtual race helps raise funds for charity, makes winter go by faster
For those who are already in the race, the custom 2019 medal with up to 5 stars for 20- to 100-day streaks can be ordered by tagging @AOMM in the virtual race message board. Participants have the option of a plaid ribbon, or a lobster or moose instead of the large sequined star for doing 100 days in a row, if they already have the 2018 Acadia to Katahdin finisher’s medallion.
At least 5% of gross proceeds will go to benefit Millinocket Memorial Library, Our Katahdin and Friends of Acadia. The Maine virtual race is powered by racery.com, and displays Google Street View photos when available, of where you virtually are based on your day’s ending mileage. The classic Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race finisher’s medallion is made by Ashworth Awards, the same company that makes the medals for the Boston and MDI marathons.
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, and was inducted into the Maine Running Hall of Fame last year.
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, 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.
There’s more than one Stephen King story, site behind this virtual race
Knowing that the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation had donated $10,000 to the Friends of the Millinocket Memorial Library to help keep library doors from closing forever in 2015, we thought it would be fun to embed a few Google Street View sites in the virtual race map with a connection to the King of Horror – such as the Deer Brook Trail in Acadia, where a scene from the movie “Pet Sematary” was filmed, and his home in Bangor.
Little did we know that that would bring out of the virtual woodwork die-hard fans of the novelist, led by @Ghost, Tim Henderson of Castine, an Acadia volunteer, who first issued the challenge of dedicating a 10+ miler to a Stephen King story, and uncovered some other fans among the racers:
- @BigRed68, Alan Marks of Orono, who has taught a course on King at the University of Maine. “The first ‘grown-up’ novel I ever read was “The Dead Zone.” After that, I snapped up whatever King wrote,” said Marks, who’s read almost all of the author’s more than 50 novels and 200 short stories, and has a personal King library that takes up a small part of a room in his book-filled house. “I think that students are often surprised to find out just how much depth there is to King’s writing,” said Marks, who has included in the reading list such stories as “The Body,” “Hearts in Atlantis” and “Misery.”
- @BenTreat, director of the Bangor Public Library, which has benefited from major donations from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation, including a $3 million matching grant for a major library renovation, completed about two years ago. “Stephen and Tabitha King are tremendous supporters of libraries across Maine,through their foundation,” said Treat, who is in the virtual race with his wife Ann-Marie Miller (@AMM). “Both small and large library renovations and improvements across the state have received principal funding from the Kings.”
- @JohnT, John Torrone of Westfield, MA, an attorney for the state of Massachusetts who’s been a huge Stephen King fan since he was 12. “I have read most of his books more than once. My favorite book and movie of his is “The Shining.”
- @ZombieChop, a.k.a. Meghan Brunelli of St. Petersburg, FL, who has toured Stephen King sites and even shared a photo of the sign outside his rock radio station, WKIT, 100.3 FM, in Bangor, on the virtual race’s Facebook page.
It seemed no matter where we logged miles with virtual racers in 2018, Stephen King was everywhere.
Last September on a trip to Baker Island, a remote part of Acadia, with @Ghost, @FL2ME (Barbara Hopp Linton of Melbourne, FL), @Fossil (Robin Emery of Lamoine) and Jack Russell, who served as co-chair of the Acadia Centennial Task Force, the topic of Stephen King came up.
Perhaps it shouldn’t have surprised us, but @Fossil mentioned a King short story (“The Reach,” in the collection known as “The Skeleton Crew”) that reminded her of Hannah Gilley, who settled Baker Island in the early 1800s with her family.
And last month, after we completed a round of indoor mini-golf to help raise funds for the Millinocket Memorial Library’s major building campaign, we bought a couple of Stephen King books that were being used to line the “fairway” – “Under the Dome” and “Duma Key.”
We met up with @mak321 (Margie King of Millinocket, a library volunteer) and @BigRed68 for the first time along the 5-hole “course” to present them with their virtual race medals.
“I am a big Stephen King fan, though I haven’t read many of his more recent books,” said Margie King (no relation to Stephen), in an email in advance of the mini-golf event. “If I had to pick a favorite, it would be ‘The Stand.’ From the horrible pandemic through the post-apocalyptic world battle of good vs. evil, it kept me thoroughly entertained and up way too late at night when I just HAD to know what was going to happen next.”
With @Ghost’s challenge of dedicating 10+ milers in the virtual race to Stephen King stories, “it adds another layer of interest to this already-cool virtual race,” said @mak321. “It’s a little scary to think of being in a virtual King book!! Lol!”
While @BigRed68 and his wife weren’t able to join us in a round of mini-golf, we told him we appreciated his sharing his insights into Stephen King during the Maine virtual race.
For example, when asked on the virtual race Facebook page whether there is a Stephen King story that includes mini-golf or golf, he had this to say: “The closest I can find is one called ‘Autopsy Room Four.’ In it a golfer is bitten by a rare snake that somehow got into his golf bag. It paralyzed him to the point where he was declared dead. He comes to on the autopsy table, still paralyzed, struggling to find a way to tell the doctors about to cut into him that he isn’t dead.”
About $50 was raised during mini-golf to go toward the library building, construction beginning this spring in time for the library’s 100th anniversary. The virtual race added another $125 to the building campaign in 2018 (made on behalf of “Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Racers”), on top of $500 from an earlier edition of the race. The virtual race’s contributions should qualify for a wall plaque that says “Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Racers” in the renovated library. The library is about 80% to its $1.25 million capital campaign goal.
Now, to close this chapter with a couple of Stephen King quotes that clearly show he’s a fan of libraries, whether in Millinocket, Bangor, or anywhere else in the great state of Maine:
“When all else fails, give up and go to the library.” – 11/22/63
“If I have to spend time in purgatory before going to one place or the other, I guess I’ll be all right as long as there’s a lending library.” – On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
For auld lang syne, may old friends, real or virtual, never be forgot
As 2019 begins, let us remember some scenes from last year, experienced during the Maine virtual race and the real-life MDI and Millinocket races.
And let us plan on keeping up with old friends, and making new ones, as we make new year resolutions and log miles on the Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race, no matter where in the world we may be.
It’s easy to join the Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race
What are virtual races, you ask? They let people from anywhere in the USA or the world sign up to run, hike, walk, snowshoe, cross-country ski or log other forms of miles, whether to raise funds for charity, earn a finisher’s medallion or just set a fitness goal. Races can include technology-driven virtual routes that allow participants to see their progress, get a Google photo of their virtual location and check out the competition online, such as in the Acadia to Katahdin Virtual Race. Or it can be as simple as allowing people to record their mileage via the honor system in order to get a medal in the mail. There are different themes for virtual races with medals, and even Disney runs them. Check out what a virtual racer experience can be like in this short video by racery.com, which hosts our races on its online platform.
- Sign up with your name and e-mail at this registration page
- The race ends on April 10, 2019
- You can track your daily miles any way you like, and can backdate them to July 20, 2018
- Log your miles on the race page
- Racery will keep track of fun stats like your total mileage and miles per week