BAR HARBOR — When more than 1,300 runners take to the Mount Desert Island Marathon race course on Sunday morning, many will be running for more than just themselves.
Crow Athletics, the host organization of the annual race, has set up a “Beyond the Finish Line” program to make it easy for runners to collect sponsorships and pledges for their favorite local charities.
These efforts go hand in hand with traditions such as the Saturday night pasta dinner, mile marker art auction and groups providing music and entertainment along the route.
More than $120,000 has already been raised to support the Acadia Family Center, Acadia Wildlife Federation, Beth C. Wright Cancer Center, Camp Beech Cliff, College of the Atlantic, Friends of Acadia, Friends in Action, Harbor House Community Center, Healthy Acadia, Hospice Volunteers of Hancock County, Island Connections, The Jackson Laboratory, Maine Sea Coast Mission, MDI Biological Laboratory, MDI High School Music Boosters, MDI Historical Society, MDI Hospital, MDI Marathon Beyond the Finish Line, MDI YMCA, Mount Desert Nursery School, Mount Desert Nursing Association, Neighborhood House, SPCA of Hancock County, Stanwood Wildlife Sanctuary and others.
Local artists decorate canvas “mile marker” banners to be sold in a silent auction near the finish line. Proceeds benefit the Mount Desert Nursery School. The Mount Desert Island Historical Society has several runners collecting pledges, plans to cheer on runners at the Sound School House with the help of the Mohawk Arts Collective and has been posting historical tidbits relating to the marathon route on their Facebook page.
Bar Harbor knitter and runner Joyce Peterson will be trying to beat the world record for longest scarf knitted during a marathon, during this year’s race. All proceeds benefit Alzheimer’s disease research in the laboratory of JAX Assistant Professor Gareth Howell, Ph.D.
Saturday night, runners and others can load up on carbs at a pasta dinner at Mount Desert Island High School from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The dinner is sponsored by and supports the MDI Music Boosters. Tickets for the dinner are $18, $16 for children under 12. The menu includes penne pasta with choice of vegetarian, meat or seafood sauces,;9 a salad, garlic bread and chocolate cake with ganache.
The featured speaker at the dinner is Alexi Pappas, who helped lead the University of Oregon to NCAA titles in cross country during the 2012 season, and in 2013, an indoor track title. She is a professional runner with the Nike Oregon Track Club Elite.
The marathon starts at 8 a.m. at 200 Main Street in Bar Harbor and follows a course along the eastern side of the island and around Somes Sound to the finish line on Main Street in Southwest Harbor. There is an early, 7 a.m. start for those who feel they will need more than six hours to finish.
The half-marathon begins at 8:30 a.m. and begins at the intersection of the Neighborhood and Manchester roads in Northeast Harbor and also ends in Southwest Harbor.