Elli Hartig of Bar Harbor crosses the finish line at the Frenchman Bay Conservancy Autumn Trail Race on Nov. 4 in Sullivan. Hartig was the race’s top female finisher with a time of 1 hour, 24 minutes, 50 seconds. FRENCHMAN BAY CONSERVANCY PHOTO

Big racing weekend takes Hancock County runners across Northeast



ELLSWORTH — With the sun setting earlier and temperatures dropping with each passing day, Maine running enthusiasts made the most out of the first November weekend time by hitting their favorite trails and courses across the region.

From nearby Sullivan to New York, locals competed in races of all distances across the Northeast. Even cold, rainy conditions and long distances didn’t affect Hancock County runners, who spent days and afternoons of traveling to compete.

“It was definitely a weekend for Mainers running,” Bar Harbor resident and ultrarunner Melissa Ossanna said. “People were taking off to all corners of the country to run this weekend.”

Ellsworth’s Andrew Kephart traveled to New York to compete in this year’s edition of the New York City Marathon along with 52,696 other runners from across the United States and around the world. He crossed the finish line after 3 hours, 16 minutes, 58 seconds of running to place 2,971st and finish in the 95th percentile of all runners.

The race stretched through all five New York boroughs before finishing at Central Park in Manhattan. The last quarter of the race, Kephart said, was the most difficult stretch of all.

Andrew Kephart (right) of Ellsworth poses for a photo with friend Alan Groudle of Lewiston (left) and New York City Marathon Chief Peter Ciaccia on Nov. 2 in New York. The two met Ciaccia the day before running the race. ANDREW KEPHART PHOTO

“Over the last 6 miles, I was so sore,” Kephart said. “I didn’t do as well as last year because I didn’t train specifically for this race, but it was still a good experience. I’d recommend that anyone the running community do a race in New York City because it’s a fun place to run.”

Elsewhere in the Northeast, Ossanna was in New Boston, N.H., for an endurance race known as The Hamsterwheel. The race featured six-, 12-, 24- and 30-hour editions, and Ossanna attempted to tackle the longest of the four distances. That edition stretched 100 miles with competitors completing 25 laps of a 4-mile loop.

Ossanna didn’t finish the race, which she stopped running at 2 a.m. after she began to exhibit symptoms of hypothermia. Yet she did complete 76 of the 100 miles, an impressive feat even without the cold, rainy weather consuming the area.

“It was originally planned as sort of a goof with some friends, I believe, but then people wanted to run it,” Ossanna said. “The support is great with all sorts of delicious food since you pass the start and finish every 4 miles.”

In Ipswich, Mass., Rebeccah Geib of Bar Harbor competed in the 50-mile Stone Cat Trail Race. The race drew 67 people from the New England states, New York, Nova Scotia and Quebec.

Geib finished third among both the race’s 19 female runners and the overall 20-29 age group. Her finishing time was 9:13:54.

“Rebeccah was very happy with her race,” Ossanna said. “It was pretty dramatic with super wet conditions.”

Locally, Bryant Perkins of Bar Harbor won the 8-mile event in Frenchman Bay Conservancy Autumn Trail Race on Sunday in Sullivan. His time of 1:14:45 was 2:28 faster than second-place finisher Jamie Anderson of Amherst. Elli Hartig won the women’s competition with a time of 1:24:50.

Jenn Britz of Bar Harbor took home the Double Trouble Challenge prize after posting the best combined time in Saturday’s Frenchman Bay Conservancy event and the Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust’s Wildland Race on Oct. 28 in Orland. She posted a time of 36:20 in the 4-mile race Saturday after finishing in 49:11 in the Oct. 28 race a week earlier.

Other races are on the horizon with the Veterans Remembrance Road Race in Ellsworth next week and the Millinocket Marathon scheduled for Dec. 8. After that, racing opportunities will be few and far between until the season commences again next spring.

“It’s getting to be that time of year,” Kephart said. “It’s definitely a challenge to run in the cold, but those of us who love it as much as we do will still be out there.”

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at [email protected]