ELLSWORTH — Reindeer shirts, Santa hats and dogs dressed in red and green clothing were only part of the festivities at the Ellsworth Elementary-Middle School this weekend.
Runners from Ellsworth, Hancock County and elsewhere throughout the state came to Ellsworth on Sunday for this year’s edition of the Santa Run 5K. A total of 58 runners finished the race, which was open to runners and walkers at no charge.
Unlike last year’s race, this year’s edition lacked snow on the ground and near-zero wind chills. That made for perfect racing conditions as runners didn’t have to fight the rippling wind or worry about slipping on an ice-covered pavement as they sprinted toward the finish line.
“It’s a great day for it,” said Robin Clark, who helps to organize the race every year. “Last year and the past few years in general have been really cold, and we’re glad today turned out to be a lot better.”
The race winner was 40-year-old Bar Harbor native Judson Cake, who crossed the finish line in 16 minutes, 47 seconds. Close behind him was Hampden’s Erik Knickerbocker, who set a personal record with a finish of 17:01.
Rob Shea was the top Ellsworth finisher with a time of 18:51. Rounding out the top-five overall finishers were Jim Hunt of Dedham and the top female finisher, 22-year-old Kylee Parker of Winterport.
Runners of all ages were among the race participants. The race had four 9-year-old finishers and one 77-year-old finisher, Lloyd Harmon of Ellsworth. Harmon finished 24th overall with a time of 28:06.
Although the race did not require a registration fee, donations went toward the Beth C. Wright Cancer Resource Center. Clark said the race brought in a total of $1,073.
The next major road race in eastern Maine will be the third running of the Millinocket Marathon and Half-Marathon at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 9. Last year, runners from all over Hancock County participated in both races, and Ellsworth’s Chris Holt, Nick Brown and Andrew Kephart have each earned top-10 finishes in the full marathon over the past two years.