Walkers participating in the Sea of Blue Autism 5K start off from The Neighborhood House in Northeast Harbor on Saturday. ISLANDER PHOTO BY NINAH REIN

Sea of Blue raises $10K

NORTHEAST HARBOR — With 41 runners and more than 100 walkers, the annual Sea of Blue Autism 5K took off from The Neighborhood House on April 30. The race, now in its seventh year, raised more than $10,000 to fund programs that help support families and individuals with autism.   

This year’s race was record breaking, said co-organizer Susan Heel who, along with her son Christopher Heel, has been the driving force behind the annual event. “This is the first year we’ve been able to raise over $10,000,” she said, noting that donations were still coming in and estimates that the number will be closer to $11,000.  

Heel said that the event drew a lot of new faces, specifically those who have moved to town over the last two years when the race could not be held due to the coronavirus pandemic. “We answered lots of questions and reached a new audience,” she said.  

In addition to the race’s primary sponsors, Curtis Family Shoe Store and Darling’s Auto Mall, Heel said that many racers gave additional donations and that a number of other local businesses stepped up to support the organization, which sends the proceeds to other nonprofits such as the Autism Society of Maine, Downeast Horizons and Special Children’s Friends. 

After the race, participants were invited to an after-party at the nearby Nor’Easter Pound and Market to enjoy appetizers and light fare donated by the restaurant.  


Top 10 finishers


Peter Williams        18:17.6  

Michelle Gagnon    23:24.4  

Jean Johnson         23:28.8  

Eliza Bishop            23:29.6  

Amy Nyberg            24:02.5

Christa Brey            25:17.7 

Andrew Tiemann   25:20.1  

Lisa Tweedie          25:46.4  

Tom Murphy          26:12.1  

Mike Mandell         26:31.5

Faith DeAmbrose

Faith DeAmbrose

Managing Editor at Mount Desert Islander