BAR HARBOR — Runners from across the country are tightening their laces for the annual Mount Desert Island marathon.
More than 1,700 runners are expected on the island’s scenic roads on Sunday, Oct. 18, as part of the 14th edition of the event. Included in that total are participants in a half-marathon and team relays also scheduled that same day.
Crow Athletics of Bar Harbor organizes the race, which also serves as a fundraising vehicle for local nonprofit groups.
The 26.2-mile marathon starts at 8 a.m. at 200 Main St. in Bar Harbor. It follows Route 3 between Champlain and Dorr Mountains, through Northeast Harbor and along the eastern shore of Somes Sound. It cuts through Somesville on the way to the finish line in Southwest Harbor.
The half-marathon begins at 8:30 a.m. at the half-way mark of the full marathon course in the village of Northeast Harbor. It also ends in Southwest Harbor.
Teams running the relays split the course, with two-person teams handing the baton off at about the halfway mark and three-person teams handing off at 8.5 miles and again at 18.6 miles.
The public safety relay consists of five members of recognized departments including firemen, active military and police. Four runners each go for 6 miles each before handing off to the next. The fifth member will run 2.2 miles to the finish line.
“It is designed to celebrate the job they do to keep us safe,” said race director Gary Allen of Crow Athletics.
A kids’ run is also a part of the activities and is set to begin at 9:30 a.m. in Southwest Harbor.
Runners can pick up their race packets, timing chips, color-coded bib numbers and other information at a runners expo at The Atlantic Oceanside Hotel’s event center in Bar Harbor either Friday, Oct. 16, from noon to 5 p.m., or Saturday, Oct. 17, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
On Saturday night, runners and others can load up on carbohydrates at a pasta dinner at Mount Desert Island High School. The dinner, sponsored by the MDI Music Boosters, runs from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tickets for the dinner are $18 and $16 for children under 12.
The featured speaker and guest athlete at the dinner is Michael Westphal, a native of Great Cranberry Island, who finished his first marathon in over 23 years this past June in 3 hours, 32 minutes, 56 seconds to qualify for the 2016 Boston Marathon. Diagnosed with Parkinson’s more than eight years ago, Westphal uses his running and racing to support Parkinson’s disease research, in particular the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
Last year’s winner of the marathon in the men’s division, Nicholas Mangan, finished the course in 2:38.53.
First among the female runners was Leah Thorvilson of Little Rock, Ark., who smashed the women’s course record with a time of 2:49.13.
More information about the races can be found online at mdimarathon.org