BAR HARBOR — Temperatures nearing 90 degrees and high humidity didn’t stop a zany road running tradition from taking center stage this Fourth of July.
Seven teams came to Hulls Cove last Wednesday for this year’s edition of the Fourth of July Around MDI Relay. It was the 16th running of the holiday event, which took runners across the island in the roasting heat.
“Runners are runners,” said Gary Allen of Crow Athletics.
“It’s kind of crazy, but they show up no matter and run no matter what. There were points on that trail where the heat felt like it was 100 degrees, but everyone kept going.”
The race started and finished at Mainely Meat Dreamwood Hill, across from Pirate’s Cove mini golf course. The route follows the one covered by the MDI Marathon with added stops in Tremont and Pretty Marsh as well as some along the north side of the island for a total distance of 61.97 miles.
Crow Athletics members set up signs with American flags to mark each handoff zone. Distances varied with stretches averaging 8.5 to 9 miles between the second and fourth legs to a more manageable 4.12 miles on the ninth and final leg.
“I don’t really drive anywhere without seeing a potential race course somewhere,” Allen said. “It was a fun one to plan, and the runners have always seemed to really enjoy it. It makes for a good holiday.”
Although this year’s race had water available in the handoff zones, teams planned ahead to ensure proper hydration throughout the race. Andrew Kephart and Nick Brown of Team Pizza and Beer had a truck with an ice-filled cooler and cold towels drive alongside the person running each respective leg.
“It wasn’t easy with the heat, but it’s always a good run around the island,” Kephart said. “We took extra precautions to make sure we were even more prepared than usual.”
Wes Danforth, Dan Ferguson, Dave Lin and Robby Morache of Team TBD won the race with their time of 7 hours, 48 minutes, 35 seconds. Ferguson won the second leg in 54:51, and Danforth won the third and fifth legs with times of 1:03:35 and 47:05, respectively.
Team Pizza and Beer finished second with a time of 7:58:56. The two-person team alternated legs of the race with Brown running 33 miles over five legs and Kephart running 29 miles over four.
“My personal pace was 6 minutes, 27 seconds, which was faster than expected,” Kephart said. “For us to do that well with just the two of us is something to be happy with.”
Jarly Bobadilla, Candace Daley, Dylan Garceau, Eli Hartig, Rudy Kelley, Brandon O’Keefe and Andrew Simon earned third place for Barn Arts Running Club. Simon won the seventh leg with a time of 1:01:59, and the team had an overall time of 8:06:45 and an average pace of 7:48.
Northeast Runners, Hounds without a Hare and The Lab Rats placed fourth through sixth respectively. The Gnarwhals did not compete in the final two legs, though the two-member team of Dylan Brann and Rebeccah Geib of Bar Harbor put together some solid times over the first seven.
2018 Around MDI Relay
Place Team name Total time Average pace
1 Team TBD 7:48:35 7:34
2 Team Pizza and Beer 7:58:56 7:44
3 Barn Arts Running Club 8:06:45 7:48
4 Northeast Runners 8:31:40 8:15
5 Hounds without a Hare 10:01:24 10:01
6 The Lab Rats 10:25:00 10:05
— Gnarwhals — —