By Martha Nadeau
According to the race organizers:
"THIS SCENIC COURSE ON THE ST. GEORGE PENINSULA BEGINS AT DRIFT INN BEACH IN PORT CLYDE. IT OFFERS SOME FANTASTIC VIEWS OF THE MAINE COAST AS IT WINDS ITS WAY TOWARDS THE LIGHTHOUSE, DOWN THROUGH THE VILLAGE OF PORT CLYDE, AND ENDING BACK AT DRIFT INN BEACH".
This annual race is located just south of Rockland/Thomaston, for those not familiar with the area. After a 1-1/2 drive from my house, the small parking lot had already been filled and I had to locate parking on the road, which isn't easy to find since the road is fairly narrow. Having done this race before, I was aware this might be the case and allowed some extra time. Snagging a prime spot, I head to the folding table set-up in the small dirt parking lot, to register. Registration can be done ahead, by printing out the form and sending a check for $15 or on race day for $20, between 7:30-8:30. T-shirts were guaranteed, if registered ahead, but I lucked out and there were choices available to me. This parking lot is also where the port-o-potties are located. TMI? I don't think so.
Following the kids fun run, at 8:30, the 5k starts at Drift Inn Beach, heading uphill, taking a left turn up and down the hilly road to the amazing turnaround that is Marshall Point lighthouse (cue Forrest Gump-yep, the lighthouse from the movie). While the turn stops short of the lighthouse, itself (because it would be a nightmare for all those runners to crowd the walkway out and back-and selfies?-who could resist that opportunity? The race would come to a standstill.) We take a turn around an orange cone, and with the ocean on our side, we head back down and then another uphill, taking a left that opens to a view of the Port Clyde waterfront, and a nice recovery downhill to take in the scene. Passing the Monhegan ferry terminal and the ice cream store, the right turn takes us through a quinessential Maine small town. Yep, the Post Office is decorated with lobster traps. A last right turn, with a brief, but brutal uphill, leads back downhill to the finish line, where the volunteers record times with pen and paper. This year I wanted the whole experience, so I ran the lowtide flats, to jump into the ocean. After everyone had finished, awards were handed out and prizes given to fastest overall and age group winners.
It is a must to go to the lighthouse and visit the museum. If you have patience, you may even get a picture alone at the lighthouse.
This race is part of an annual festival, complete with yard sale and cornhole tournament. Details will be available on their website (but not easily found) at www.stgeorgemaine.com and on Facebook at St George Parks & Rec.