April 17, 2014 EASTPORT, MAINE - All roads might indeed lead to Rome, but this long and winding one is heading down east, specifically all the way to the eastern most city in the entire USA - Eastport, Maine! The first Down East Sunrise Trail Relay is set to start in Ellsworth on July 25th at the western terminus of the Down East Sunrise Trail (DEST), located at Washington Junction in Ellsworth. This amazing event runs thru some the most beautiful 'never been there' parts of Maine.
Teams of 4 to 8 runners will run thru the night and into the next day handing of at various junctions where the trail enters towns or crosses roads. Whether at Tunk Lake Road, or Unionville Crossing, or Jonesboro Station, or Rocky Lake Crossing, teams of runners will be covering 103+ miles to get to the scenic finish line located on the shores of the Bay of Fundy on Moose Island, home to Eastport.
The event is being planned by the organizers of the award winning Mount Desert Island Marathon and the Great Cranberry Island Ultra Marathon, which was just named the National Road Race of the Year by the Road Runners Club of America.
"The city of Eastport is thrilled to host the finish, and both its Chamber of Commerce and the City Council are onboard to be part of the inaugural edition. The Eastport Area Chamber of Commerce (EACC) is most pleased to be part of the 'trail's end' celebration & lobster bake. We couldn't be happier to be hosting them!" said Meg Keay, President, EACC.
The event will help raise funds for the Sunrise Trail Coalition, the group who helps to maintain the trail, which is the eastern most section of the east coast greenway that runs from Key West, Florida, to Calais, Maine. Funds also will be raised for an Eastport area charitable organization, TBD.
"We are thrilled to bring all the good we know running brings with it to all of downeast Maine," explained Gary Allen, one of the organizers. "The logistics of this event make it a pretty daunting task but our team has put on some of the biggest and best races ever held in Maine, which makes us feel like we can knock this one out of the park, too!" said Mary Ropp, a co-organizer.
Crow Athletics, founded in 1991, is the host running club behind this new cutting-edge event that is the first all-night team relay ever held in the state. The club started in Maine but now has members all over the USA, Canada and abroad.
The DEST is a well maintained rails-to-trail gravel surface that is closed to motor vehicles. (Bicycles and ATVs are Welcome.) Runners will need to be self-suffiencent, carry fluids, and be well equipped to run alone on legs that range from 4 to 10 miles in length, while their support vehicles drive to the next hand-off zone.
This race is already being called the "Ultimate Summer Running Adventure!" Individual runners may claim a coveted spot by registering a team online, and then recruiting others to join.