Runners take off at the start of Emily’s Run in 2022. It’s the second 5K race in the Triple Crown Race Series and is named for Emily Fletcher, a standout runner for Edward Little High School in Auburn who died in a car crash in 2004. This year’s series begins Sunday with the YMCA Fit Fest at 8:30 a.m. at Festival Plaza in Auburn. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal file

A love of community, fitness and family is behind three summer 5K races that kick off this weekend in Lewiston-Auburn — all of them organized by volunteers to raise funds for community causes.

The Triple Crown Race Series is scheduled to kick off its first 5K race Sunday with the YMCA Fit Fest. The race is set begin at 8:30 a.m. from Festival Plaza in Auburn. The online registration fee is $30 and closes Friday. Go to to register. Race day registration is $35. There is no cost for children 14 years and younger. Proceeds go directly to the Auburn-Lewiston YMCA.

There are two subsequent races, Emily’s Run, planned for July 16 and benefitting The Fletcher Foundation, and the L-A Bridge Run, scheduled for Aug. 27 and benefits the Bridge Run Foundation.

Prior to each of the 5Ks, the Auburn Firefighter Local 797 will participate in a kids fun run at 8 a.m. The run is free of charge and does not require prior registration. Proceeds from the races are shared equally among the three organizations and directly fund their activities.

The Triple Crown Race Series was formed in 2008 when the three independently run road races combined to promote participation and reduce workload for staff, according to Ralph Fletcher, former director of the Triple Crown and president of The Fletcher Foundation. The Fletcher Foundation contributes to education, health and conservation across Maine and was established in memory of Lyn and Emily Fletcher, Fletcher’s wife and daughter.

Fletcher leads two of the races on his motorcycle as course marshal and helps organize Emily’s Run. The run was established in memory of his daughter, who was an avid runner and member of the Edward Little High School cross country and track teams in Auburn.


“We lost Emily in a car accident in the summer of 2004,” Fletcher said. “She was on her way home from the University of Vermont for the holidays and had a car accident. So, her younger brother, Sam, in the spring of 2005, got together with their old coach, Dan Campbell, and decided to promote a race in Emily’s memory.”

The race came together in just over a week, yet more than 100 runners came to honor Emily. The route traced the path that Emily’s cross country team would take on their distance workouts. The Fletchers lived along the route and on especially warm days the girls would stop in to relax and drink water.

“They would stop in here and relax and have a drink of water and talk girl talk and stuff like that and then continue on their run,” Fletcher said. “And then when they get back to the high school they tell coach Campbell, yeah they had done the entire route and had not stopped and had actually gone further or whatever the details of the run may be.”

The YMCA Fit Fest is organized by Marcie Hird, development director for the Auburn-Lewiston YMCA and race director since 2013.

The Auburn-Lewiston YMCA is a fitness organization that offers athletic programming, child care, summer camps and affordable options to people with limited or fixed income.

Hird attributes her decade of commitment to the event to her belief in the mission of the YMCA.


“We are able, with these monies, to provide scholarships to kids in our community to participate in our youth sports programs,” she said. “A lot of these kids otherwise wouldn’t have the ability to pay.”

The Triple Crown lines up conveniently with the end of the YMCA’s Couch to 5K program. Hird said the program shows participants how to run a 5K and how to enjoy the outdoors.

According to Hird, often, “when the Fit Fest comes around in June, it’s the first 5K that they’ve ever run.”

Like Hird, Mike Lecompte appreciates how the races encourage community while promoting fitness and health. He is the race director of the L-A Bridge Run and president of the Bridge Run Foundation. The foundation promotes outdoor athletic activity in the Lewiston-Auburn communities. It sends four teens to Outward Bound from middle schools in the area and from the Boys & Girls Club.

Lecompte has been organizing the Bridge Run since 1998 and said they rely on an entirely volunteer staff to put the races on. “I’m deeply grateful for the people that have stepped up to volunteer,” he said, “And we’re certainly always looking for an infusion of new individuals that might be interested in helping out with the Triple Crown races.”

According to Lecompte, what he enjoys most about the Triple Crown is how “people get to see some of what Lewiston-Auburn is all about, they get to see some of the trail networks and they get to see some of the pretty spots of Lewiston-Auburn while running.”

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