A growing interest in triathlon and run/walk events in Aroostook has brought together four County organizations, each working to improve the health and wellbeing of area residents, to present a series of activities in northern Maine this summer for all ages and ability levels.
After seeing the number of registrants more than double for triathlons hosted for both adults and youth from the first year they were offered in The County (2012) to last summer, a second offering is being added for youth. Additionally, a swell in participation in 5K races and fun run/walks throughout the region has spurred a new such event, the return of one of the most popular and unique, and the introduction of a half marathon for running enthusiasts in the coming season.
The County Fit and Fun Summer Series was announced at a press conference today in the pool area of Gentile Hall at the University of Maine at Presque Isle. Representatives from partner organizations UMPI, TAMC, CompetitorME, and the Aroostook County Action Program’s Healthy Aroostook Partnership were all present for the announcement, along with participants who will take part in the activity.
The summer series will both begin and end with the triathlon events at UMPI. The return of the popular Tri-Aroostook for adults on the morning of Saturday, June 28, will be added to this year with the first-ever Tri-Aroostook Kids contest following the adult competition in the afternoon. Both of these events, the only sanctioned by USA Triathlon in northern Maine, are being coordinated by CompetitorME, a new County-based organization, along with lead partners TAMC and UMPI.
Youth will have another opportunity to experience a kid-friendly triathlon at the summer series closing event on Sunday, September 7. Like the Tri-Aroostook events, the third annual REDY…Set…Let’s Go! Youth Triathlon, hosted by ACAP’s Healthy Aroostook Partnership, TAMC and UMPI, is based on the University campus, specifically Gentile Hall.
“We are so pleased to have two of the region’s premier triathlon events returning to our campus at the start and end of the summer and to see even more health and wellness-focused activities happening in between,” UMPI President Linda Schott said. “We’re delighted to partner with TAMC and Healthy Aroostook on our third annual youth triathlon, and to have CompetitorME join with TAMC and UMPI to not only hold the Tri-Aroostook, but to expand it to include a youth competition. The University has always been a strong proponent of physical activity and healthy lifestyles—thanks in large part to the dedicated efforts of University faculty like Dr. Caroline Gentile, the namesake for our Gentile Hall wellness facility —so we couldn’t be more pleased to have our campus be a part of these events.”
The events are also a great fit for TAMC, which will provide volunteers and logistical and promotional support for all six of the activities promoted as part of The County Fit and Fun Summer Series. As the largest and most comprehensive provider of healthcare services in northern Maine, TAMC takes seriously its leading role in promoting health and wellness initiatives region-wide.
“We are supportive of efforts to help people of all ages get active. It is great to see growing interest from individuals throughout the region, and from other parts of Maine, New Brunswick, and Quebec, registering to take part in these events. It is clear, both from the larger numbers of participants and expanded roster of events, that we are helping our community get fit by providing activities that promote a healthy lifestyle for the young to the young at heart,” TAMC President and CEO Sylvia Getman said. “The participants in these activities benefit from the events, but also from the work that goes into preparing for them. Both the youth and adult participants are role models for others who are looking to live a healthier lifestyle. We are happy to join in partnership with UMPI, Healthy Aroostook and CompetitorME to offer these events to community members.”
The County Fit and Fun Summer Series will feature two first-time events, coordinated by CompetitorME. The Midsummer’s Night Glow Run, on Saturday, July 12, will include both a 5K and 10K road race departing from the Gehrig Johnson Athletic Complex at the Presque Isle Middle School just prior to sunset and winding through the streets of Presque Isle.
The second event will bring a half-marathon to the region on Sunday, August 31. The Harvest Half Marathon (13.1 mile distance) is for all ages and will start and finish on the UMPI campus, extending through the City of Presque Isle and area countryside.
“CompetitorME is excited to offer a variety of events for the community, aimed at maintaining a healthy lifestyle for families of The County, specifically through triathlon and running races for all abilities. The goal is to provide safe, fun, and affordable events that one would find downstate, only in our back yard,” said Jonathan Kelly, CompetitorME owner and race director. “The combination of two triathlons, Tri-Aroostook and the new Tri-Aroostook Kids Triathlon, is a vision turned into reality. It is a wonderful way to allow families to encourage adult athletes in the morning, while the adults can then cheer on the kids in the afternoon. Likewise, we have designed the two summer running events to be equally family-friendly. We promise quality events with attention to detail and a fun atmosphere.”
To bring home that message, the winner of the two previous Tri-Aroostook (adult) competitions and a young athlete expected to take part in the inaugural Tri-Aroostook Kids, who has previously and will again compete in the REDY…Set…Let’s Go! Youth Triathlon, spoke about the expanded opportunities coming to The County this summer.
“The amount of effort behind individuals around the County to organize activities and events has been inspiring. Their greatest goal is for people to have fun, bring a sense of gathering and close bonds to motivate everyone toward health and fitness through people’s experiences. This can make all the difference when personal goals need to be accomplished,” said Shawn Berry, two-time Tri-Aroostook overall winner.
“I am always looking forward to the next triathlon, because it’s a fun way to keep in shape. It’s also a way to spend time with my family and friends,” said 14-year-old Jillian Jandreau of Caribou, who has participated in past youth running and triathlon events, and will take part in as many of the County Fit and Fun Summer Series events as possible.
Berry and Jandreau were joined by 12-year-old Grace Bemis of Presque Isle, the top female finisher in the 11-12 age group in the REDY…Set…Let’s Go! Youth Triathlon last year. Bemis encouraged other youth to join in the event this coming summer.
“I enjoyed the youth tri because the volunteers and people that run it are so nice. I like to compete and wanted to try triathlon after watching my parents in their races. Other kids should participate because it’s a fun way to get fit and meet new people,” said Bemis.
Jamie Chandler, community transformation grant coordinator for ACAP’s Healthy Aroostook Partnership, who is the REDY race co-director with Adam Murchison, shared with those in attendance at the announcement her goals for the September 7 event.
“We invite any youth to participate in the event even if it is your first event,” said Chandler. “The focus of REDY, Set, Let’s Go! Youth Triathlon is on family fun and healthy lifestyles. At the end of this year’s event, we want the athletes, their families, and the volunteers to continue to be engaged in healthy living throughout their entire lives and have fun while doing it.”
The sixth event to be included in The County Fit and Fun Summer Series will be the second annual Color Presque Isle 5K co-hosted by UMPI and the Wintergreen Arts Center. Color Presque Isle, for which a set date will be announced by organizers in the coming weeks, combines fun, fitness and the arts, and begins and ends at Riverside Park. Proceeds from the benefit support arts programming at UMPI and the Wintergreen Arts Center. Last year’s event was among the largest fun run/walks in the region, drawing over 400 participants.
Organizers hope that by promoting the County Fit and Fun Summer Series collectively, event planners are further helping to establish northern Maine as a destination for running and fitness enthusiasts from across the United States and Canada.
The complete listing of events in the County Fit and Fun Summer Series is as follows:
Saturday, June 28 – Tri-Aroostook
UMPI Gentile Hall – 8:00 a.m. (first swim wave)
A USAT Sanctioned Sprint Distance Triathlon for ages 16 and older. Compete as an individual for the full sprint triathlon (swim, bike, and run) or as a team member on a relay of two or three. TRI AROOSTOOK will be capped at 125 athletes.
Registration fee: $60 (individual) -$105 (relay) –varies depending on when individual/team registers
Registration Deadline: Friday, June 13 or before if the capacity of 125 registrants has been met
For information or to register: www.competitorme.com
Saturday, June 28 – Tri-Aroostook Kids
UMPI Gentile Hall – 1:30 p.m. (first swim wave)
TRI AROOSTOOK Kids is a USAT Sanctioned Youth Triathlon for ages 6 to 15. Athletes will compete as individuals at varying triathlon distances based on age. TRI AROOSTOOK will be capped at 125 athletes.
Registration fee: $20 / Registration Deadline: Friday, June 13 or before if the capacity of 125 registrants has been met
For information or to register: www.competitorme.com
Two training sessions will be held prior to TRI AROOSTOOK Kids in preparation for the event:
- Saturday, June 7 at 1:00 p.m. at Gentile Hall – Swim portion of TRI AROOSTOOK Kids. Parents are encouraged to participate with their children.
- Saturday, June 21 at 1:00 p.m. at Gentile Hall – Bike and Run portions of TRI AROOSTOOK. Parents are encouraged to participate with their children.
Saturday, July 12 – Midsummer’s Night Glow Run/Walk
Gehrig Johnson Athletic Complex (Running Track) Presque Isle Middle School – 7:00 p.m. (race day registration)
The Midsummer’s Night 5K and 10K Glow Run/Walk is the perfect mix between serious road racing and crazy amounts of fun! Athletes of all abilities will light up the streets of Presque Isle and celebrate a healthy lifestyle! THE BONUS- a post-race movie under the stars!
Registration fee: $20 / Registration: same-day, on-site 7:00 – 8:15 p.m.
For information: www.competitorme.com
Date TBD – Color Presque Isle 5K Run/Walk
Riverside Park, Presque Isle – Time TBD
Color Presque Isle 5K is a benefit event that combines fun, fitness, and the arts!. Color Presque Isle, for which a set date will be announced by organizers in the coming weeks, combines fun, fitness and the arts, and begins and ends at Riverside Park. Proceeds from the benefit support arts programming at UMPI and the Wintergreen Arts Center. Just come in white and we’ll add the color, County style!
Registration fee: $25 before August 1 and $30 after/ children under 10 are free
Registration: www.umpi.edu/colorpresqueisle5k or in person at Wintergreen Arts Center, 149 State Street, Presque Isle
For information or to register: www.umpi.edu/colorpresqueisle5k
Sunday, August 31 – Harvest Half Marathon
UMPI Gentile Hall – 8:00 a.m. (marathon begins)
The Harvest Half is a half marathon (13.1 miles) for all ages. Compete as an individual for the half marathon, or form a relay team of up to four athletes. The Harvest Half will start and finish at the University of Maine at Presque Isle campus, run through the heart of Presque Isle, and quickly climb to the outstretched farm fields along Centerline Road, briefly run along the historic main artery to Northern Maine, US Rt. 1, then behold the rolling road that takes athletes just north of Aroostook State Park. A quick out and back portion of the course will round the run out before heading back on a nearly flat road for the remainder of the run before a roaring finish!
Registration fee: $45 (individual) -$85 (relay) –varies depending on when individual/team registers
Registration deadline: August 15 – no cap on number – no same day registration
For information or to register: www.competitorme.com
Sunday, September 7 – REDY…Set…Let’s Go! Youth Triathlon
UMPI Gentile Hall – 9:00 a.m. (participant check-in)
The REDY…Set…Let’s Go! Youth Triathlon is perfect for beginners and more experienced competitors between the ages of 7 and 14. Triathlon is a multi-sport activity with three components: swimming, cycling, and running. The REDY…Set…Let’s Go Youth Triathlon is a great way for children to get active and experience the thrill of participating in a real triathlon.
Registration fee: $20 / Registration Deadline: Friday, August 1 or before if the capacity of 110 registrants has been met
For information or to register: www.redyyouthtriathlon.org
Five training sessions will be held prior to The REDY…Set…Let’s Go! Youth Triathlon in preparation for the event.
- Sunday, April 27 at 1:00 p.m. at Gentile Hall – Swim portion of REDY…Set…Let’s Go! Youth Triathlon with Erica Hemphill. Parents are encouraged to participate with their children.
- Sunday, May 18 at 1:00 p.m. at Gentile Hall – Run portion of REDY…Set…Let’s Go! Youth Triathlon with Amanda Cushman. Parents are encouraged to participate with their children.
- Sunday, June 22 at 1:00 p.m. at Gentile Hall – Bike portion of REDY…Set…Let’s Go! Youth Triathlon with Shawn Berry. Parents are encouraged to participate with their children.
- July TBD at 1:00 p.m. at Gentile Hall – Youth Yoga Session
- Sunday, August 17 at 1:00 p.m. at Gentile Hall – Swim portion of REDY…Set…Let’s Go! Youth Triathlon with Erica Hemphill. Parents are encouraged to participate with their children.