PORTLAND — The Bar Harbor Bank & Trust Half Marathon, an annual fundraiser for the Mount Desert Island YMCA, was inducted into the Maine Running Hall of Fame Nov. 9 at a ceremony in Portland. Current race director Becky Carroll, wellness director at the Y, accepted the award on behalf of the organization.
The Hall of Fame was formed in 1989. “The intent was to honor those distance runners and track and field athletes who had made particularly outstanding achievements, and to honor others who have made outstanding contributions to the sport of running in Maine,” a statement in the program for the ceremony said.
In 2008, the group began honoring specific races as well as runners. Criteria for races, Carroll said, are “longevity, community spirit and fundraising support.”
The 2014 Bar Harbor Bank & Trust Half Marathon was the 37th edition of the race. Nine miles of the half marathon course are inside Acadia National Park along carriage roads.
Since its inception, dozens of YMCA staff members and hundreds of volunteers have helped make the race happen. It’s the YMCA’s largest fund-raising event of the year, with proceeds funding scholarships and other programs.
“It was an honor,” Carroll said. “I’ve only been involved in bits and pieces for six years, but it’s been going on a lot longer than that. It was fun to be at the ceremony with all these running folks. It’s cool to be involved.”
Convincing people to sign up for this race has never been a problem. There’s a cap on the number of runners in the spring and fall YMCA half marathons because the course includes Acadia National Park roads.
“We used to sell out in March or April,” Carroll said. “It sold out later this year than in previous years, but there are a few more half marathons around now.”
The MDI Marathon in October now includes a half, and the YMCA added a spring half marathon in 2013.