Christine Hein won the women’s division of the Maine Marathon in 2018 and finished second in 2019.  Jill Brady/Staff Photographer

 

The Greater L-A Triple Crown 5K Series isn’t the only local road races affected by the coronavirus.

“Well, it has affected us to the point where there are no events going on, actual physical events,” Eric Cobb of Back 40 Events said. “Everything is pretty much canceled, postponed or gone virtual.”

Back 40 Events runs the Royal River Relay which was supposed to be held May 23-24 at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester. It will now take place Oct-17-18. Another event, the St. Mary’s Commit To Get Fit Challenge originally scheduled on May 2 will now take place on Oct. 24.

The Dynamic Dirt Challenge which was scheduled for May 31 has been canceled. Back 40 Events has given people who registered for the event four options for their registration fee which includes transferring the registration fee to the 2021 event, a 2020 added value option to lifestyle programs in the Portland area, transfering registration fees to another Back 40 event later in the year or donating registration to help sheJAMs, a small business that helps put on the event, to recoup expenses.

Back 40 is holding on to hope for events in late summer and early fall.

“We’ve got a couple events we produce in September that we are hoping to get them actually run in the physical sense this year,” Cobb said. “We will see what’s still in effect and what’s lifted in terms of the governor regulations. We certainly want to air on the side of safety and we don’t want to put any of our runners in a position they might get sick. We are going to follow whatever the governor tells us to.”

Scheduled September events include The Last Man Standing Ultramarathon on Sept. 5 and the Lake Auburn Half Marathon on Sept. 13

The Maine Track Club is still in a holding pattern on events it puts on after the Sea Dogs Mother’s Day race and Pat’s Pizza Clam Festival five-miler in July were canceled by event organizers.

Runners leave the starting line for the 28th annual Gorham Savings Bank Maine Marathon, Half Marathon, and Marathon Relay Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019 in Portland Maine. (Staff Photo by Joel Page/Staff Photographer) Portland Press Herald file photo

“The status of our other (Maine Track Club) races is still being evaluated,” Maine Track Club president Steve Miller said in an email. “The next race is the Peak’s Island 5 Miler in July, which is not officially cancelled yet but given current restrictions, it may not be able to be held.”

As for races in the fall, Miller believes changes will be in place for their events to go off as planned.

“We are also still evaluating the Maine Marathon, Half Marathon and Marathon Relay scheduled for Oct. 4th as well as our Farm to Farm Ultra Race in Oct. or Nov.,” Miller said. “If they do occur, they will certainly have some changes to many aspects including the race expo, working with volunteers, social distancing considerations for fans and runners, and after race activities.”

WHAT IS A VIRTUAL RACE?

Back Forty events is finishing up a two-month virtual race program where racers can sign up for 5k and 10k races.

What does a virtual race entail?

“(Racers) submit their time once a week in whatever their event they are in and basically we got some area businesses to donate prizes,” Cobb said. “We had Lamey Wellehan, we had Baxter Brewing, we had Tripp’s Farmhouse Cafe and a couple of other ones. Each week we would draw three random names to give them a prize to keep everybody engaged and give them a chance to run and post their times. They aren’t really competing because we cannot verify their times or (whether) they actually ran the same course as everybody else.”

The Girls on the Run – Maine has taken its race virtual this year, and it will be held on May 30-31. Girls on the Run is one of 200 Girls on the Run councils in the US, is a non-profit after-school program that inspires girls in third to eighth grade to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.

The Girls on the Run virtual 5k is free and open to anyone. Participants choose the time and place (following local social distancing guidelines) on that weekend to walk or run a 5K, a mile or any distance that is comfortable.

Participants are asked to complete their 5K distance or Activity Card by Sunday, May 31 at 8 p.m. Those interested can register at https://girlsontherunmaine.org/5k-detail-virtual#show-reg-details

The Friends on the 4th 5K that’s put on by the Friends of the Cobbossee Watershed in Winthrop will make the race, which is annually held on Fourth of July, go virtual this year. Executive Director Tamara Whitmore said details will be announced in the near future.


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