To the Editor:

On Saturday, September 14, nearly 200 runners gathered in the field across from Mahoosuc Land Trust’s Valentine Farm on the North Road, for the start of the inaugural Mahoosuc Ridge to The River Challenge. The event is a collaboration of three local non-profits: Mahoosuc Land Trust, Mahoosuc Pathways, and The River Fund. The event supports the missions of these organizations by highlighting the value of our lands, recreational opportunities, and community & youth development. Participants ran and hiked west on North Road, up the Daisy Bryant and Locke Mt. Roads through the newly acquired Bethel Community Forest and Bingham Forest, onto snowmobile trails on private land, and continuing the majority of the race on hiking and ski trails on Sunday River property. Runners finished at South Ridge Ski Lodge, also home to the annual Maine Brew Fest which was in full swing that afternoon.

The race consisted of three categories: hiking/untimed 10k, 10k timed, and a half marathon that summited seven of Sunday River’s peaks. This challenging course drew participants from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Maryland. Two elite runners living and training in Portland, and originally from Rwanda, also competed. They finished in first and third place in the half marathon. Several families ran in the 10k together, and three competitive teams fought for first place in the half marathon. There was a strong showing of Bethel area runners and hikers as well. The atmosphere at the finish was supportive, positive, and upbeat.

There are many people and organizations to thank for contributing to the success of the event. Sunday River proved to be an invaluable partner and premier sponsor in this race, offering the use of their trails and venue, as well as support from ski patrol, who provided medical aid, transportation of supplies and volunteers, and organization help. In particular, we’d like to thank Dana Bullen, Josh Thompson, Jon King, Colton Ebitz, Dan Elliott, Caroline Ochtera and Karolyn Castaldo. Over 80 volunteers contributed time, energy and expertise over the course of the last five months. We are indebted to the following people: Amy Call, Amy Halsted, Amy Lawrence, Andy Bartleet, Bill Yates, Bob O’Brien, Bonnie Largess, Brian O’Neil, Carlie Casey, Caroline Blair-Smith, Charles Cavanagh, Chris Hayward, Christine Conlogue, Christine Trefethen, Dan Elliott, David Walker, Debbie Dubay, Diana Petra, Don Weafer, Doug Alford and Outing Club members from Gould Academy, Elizabeth Meadows, Elizabeth Wise, Eric Boyle-Wight, Fred Bailey, Fred Call, Jacob Burgess, Jason Stephanski, Jaxen Call, Jeff Newsom, Jerry Bernier, Jessie Seymour Perkins, Jim Lepich, Jo Elliott, John Dunn, Joyce Roma, Julia Reuter, Karen Wilson, Katherine O’Neil, Kelsey Sloan, Ken Pooley, Laura Allen-Tummon, Lee Hughes, Lee Smith, Leslie Jones, Lisa Robinson, Lizz Peacock, Lynne Zimmerman, Mark Conlogue, Martha Chandler, Martha Siegel, Morgan Rodway, Nancy Babcock, Nicole Bernier, Pam Kearney, Pat Roma, Paul Duclos, Peter Southam, Rosemary Wiser, Rusty Foster, Sara Shifrin, Saranne Taylor, Savannah Sessions, Shanta Hoff and family, Sharon Lepich, Simone Szuba, Scott Szuba, Skip Repetto, Stephen Smith, Sue Dunn, Thomas Bradbury, Will Leitch. Thank you to Laurie Knowles Gilbert of ​Bethel Living Magazine​ for allowing us to publish a story about the event. A tremendous thanks to Bethel Rescue, who provided organizational help, and an ambulance and three EMT’s on race day: David Hanscom, Jen Wakefield, and Tim Fitzgerald. PACE Ambulance Service provided medical support at the finish line, with two EMT’s on site. A big thank you goes to the private landowners who allowed us to use their trails as part of the course: Billy and Jim Nicols, and the Bingham Forest Advisory Board.

We also thank our gold sponsors Bean Group: Cassie Mason and Peak Properties of Maine for their generous donations. The following sponsors donated in-kind goods and services that were crucial for the event: The Good Food Store & Catering Co., Katherine and Brian O’Neil, Sunday River Brew Pub, The Meeting House, Crockett & Wright, P.C., Cafe DiCocoa, Bethel Dunkin’ Donuts, True North Adventureware, the Town of Bethel, Sysco and Bethel Foodliner.

The following volunteers met weekly with the race committee for nearly five months, spent days marking the race course, wrote sponsorship letters, designed and made awards, designed start and finish stadiums, and much more: Brian O’Neil, Will Leitch, and Fred Bailey. We were incredibly fortunate to have such dedicated volunteers.

More information on the race can be found on the website, www.ridge2river.me, and on the Mahoosuc Ridge to The River Challenge Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ridge2rivermaine/. We look forward to hosting this event again in the fall of 2020!

Sarah Weafer
Jim Largess
Gabe Perkins
Kirk Siegel
Mahoosuc Ridge to The River Challenge

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