Millinocket Marathon and Half, Millinocket, Maine

Runners on the Golden Road with a View of Mount Katahdin Photo by Kevin Morris

On Saturday, December 8th, Frosty and I headed up to Millinocket for the Millinocket Half Marathon. We headed up early, so that I could have time to check out the artisan fair. The bib pick up and artisan fair were taking place in the Stearns High School gym.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

Pelletier Logging Trucks Holding up the Finish Line Banner Photo by Kevin Morris

The gym was full of activity. The athletic booster were selling food in the lobby. A bake sale, toy drive, and 50/50 raffle were also taking place in the lobby.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

Ornament from Bad Kitty Crafters

After picking up our bibs, I perused the booths at the artisan fair. A vendor, Bad Kitty Crafters, had posted photos on the Millinocket Marathon Facebook page a couple months ago of some necklaces that she had created. I went around once before finding her. She had made many necklaces commemorating the Millinocket Marathon & Half. She had so many different designs! It took me awhile to select the one that I liked the most. I bought a handpainted Christmas tree ornament of a cute little gingerbread house from Bad Kitty Crafters as well.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

Necklace from Bad Kitty Crafters

At another booth, I bought an octopus necklace crafted from a fork made by Judith Bither of Spoonz in the Sand. She had lots of items crafted from silverware. She had some cool barrettes, but my hair is so fine I think they would slide right out.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

Necklace from Spoonz in the Sand

I stopped and saw my cousin, Shannon, and Aunt Brenda. They were manning a booth with Brenda’s sister, Linda. They had made lots of crafts in anticipation of the artisan fair. There were two other vendors that I knew, Rachael Rowland, a Millinocket native, who used to work with me. She was selling beach glass jewelry. Also, the mother of a boy K-Pop went to school with from first through 12th grades. She was selling signs, etched glassware, and other items.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

Ready for the Kids Fun Run Photo by Kevin Morris

Another vendor that caught my eye was the Woodworking Guy. He had some great signs. Among others, he makes signs to commemorate finishing the Appalachian Trail. I hope he’ll be back next year. Frosty should have completed the AT by then.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

Pre-Race Dancing

While in line at the bathroom, I met Paula Lunt from Tenants Harbor. She designed the course for the Blueberry Cove Half Marathon! I’ve run that course twice. It has spectacular views! It was very cool to meet her.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

Runners on the Golden Road Photo by Kevin Morris

Frosty and I headed out to the car to put on our racing gear and our pre- and post-race warmth layers. After gearing up, we headed over to the bus pick up area. We left the car at Stearns and rode the bus to Veterans Memorial Park where the start/finish line was and the race festivities were happening.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

A Race Photographer Went Up in the Bucket of the Cherry Picker Later

This year we didn’t have to wait in line for a bus. One was waiting with seats available. Last year, we waited in line. We were so far back in line that two buses filled and left before we got a seat on a bus. I’m not sure if our timing was better or if there were more busses running.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

The Half Participants as They Start Photo by Kevin Morris

When we arrived at the park, the DJ was playing and people were dancing in the street. The road through downtown, Penobscot Avenue, was closed from the light at Central Street to the tip of Veterans Memorial Park where it meets Katahdin Avenue.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

Close Up of the Runners At The Start Photo by Kevin Morris

The atmosphere downtown was very lively. There was a fire pit warming people. Someone had crafted the fire pit from metal with the Millinocket Marathon & Half logo cut out. I love these special touches!  I bought  a Millinocket Marathon patch from a nice gentleman from the North Lights Gallery. Sawmill Bar & Grill was selling marathon shirts. There was food vendor at the park. Food was also available close by at eating establishments in the downtown area. One thoughtful person had towed a “warming hut” to the park.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

Dinosaurs on the Prowl at the Millinocket Marathon and Half Photo by Kevin Morris

Some high school boys from town dressed as dinosaurs were out pumping up the racers. They were dancing and taking selfies with the runners. Santa was also out and about greeting people.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

A Pelletier Logging Truck Adorns A Building

There was a row of porta-potties at the park, and like a lot of races, a long line of runners were waiting for their turn. The line was moving pretty fast, but it never seemed to get shorter.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

Gary Allen The Race Director and Originator of the Millinocket Marathon and Half Stands Before the Crowd Getting Ready to Start the Race Photo by Kevin Morris

As race time approached, Frosty and I stuffed our pre-race warmth layers in bags and stashed them at the bandstand where the DJ was performing. This was the “official” drop bag location.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

Gary Allen The Race Director and Originator of the Millinocket Marathon and Half About to Start the Kids Fun Run

There was a staggered start for the two different distances. At 10:00, the marathoners took off first. These runners are hard core. To take on marathon distance in Millinocket in December is a commitment. One person I know ran Millinocket as her first full marathon. I can’t even imagine it given the race day temperatures and wind. It’s very impressive to have Millinocket be your first marathon! 

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

Millinocket, Maine – Millinocket Marathon and Half

Runners were given the option to switch distances at bib pick up, half to full or full to half. I would be shocked beyond belief if any runners upgraded from the half to the marathon distance. I wouldn’t be shocked if there were runners that downgraded because of the cold weather. 

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

Racers Running on the Golden Road Toward a View of Mount Katahdin Photo by Kevin Morris

Frosty was still adjusting his layers and pack as the starting time for the half was approaching, so I left him to get into place for the start. I situated myself at the back. One runner checked the temperature right before the race started. It was 1 degree, not including the wind chill!

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

Runners on the Golden Road

There were so many racers running in the half marathon! Holy cow! It was such a sight to see all those bodies crowded together leading up to the start line. I love how the Millinocket start/finish line banner is stretched across the road supported by two full logging trucks. I love special touches that tie in with the local area.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

View of the Golden Road and Mount Katahdin Photo by Capstone Photography Sponsored by Bangor Savings Bank

The race started with a cannon. It was a loud boom and took many of the racers by surprise, including me. I think many people, at least in the back with me, were waiting for some announcements prior to the start. Maybe there were announcements and we were just too far back to hear them. We definitely heard that cannon though. Great idea!

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

The Golden Road and Mount Katahdin Photo by Kevin Morris

Now from running Millinocket last year, I knew that from the back you could run toward the starting line, but you needn’t bother. As the crowd approached the start line, the space narrows considerably as it funnels between the two logging trucks. Last year I started running, then had to stop completely and wait. This year I just walked the whole time with the group until I passed the start line. I think it took two minutes just to get to the official beginning point.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

I Love the Costumes at the Millinocket Marathon and Half Photo by Kevin Morris

Frosty wasn’t even ready when the cannon went off. He was still adjusting his layers near the fire pit. He joined the last of the racers crossing the start line.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

Where’s Waldo? At the Millinocket Marathon and Half, of Course! Photo by Kevin Morris

After leaving the downtown area, the course heads immediately uphill. Soon the course leaves route 11 and heads onto the famed Golden Road. At one time, the Golden Road was an incredible road, like an interstate highway through the woods. But now with the decline and fall of the local paper mill, the road is a pot hole ridden mess.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

There Were Lots of Elves Running in Millinocket Photo by Kevin Morris

The Golden Road was ice covered this weekend. Crews did go out and sand it for the safety of the runners. Thank goodness. I still felt my feet slide a few times. But not enough to lose my balance. I didn’t see anyone fall. I think the biggest issue was the uneven footing

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

Buddy the Elf Found Santa! Photo by Kevin Morris

Running Millinocket is a fun, social experience. There are some serious runners competing at Millinocket, but there are LOTS of walkers. Many people run Millinocket with friends. You see groups of 2 to 6 people clumped up along the course.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

The Icy Winner of the Marathon, Derrick Hamel, Finished 26.2 Miles Before Frosty and I Finished 13.1 Miles Photo by Kevin Morris

The fun vibe of Millinocket is also on display with the costumes and fun outfits many of the participants wear. There were lots of snowman and elf costumes. Santa hats and reindeer antlers adorned a number of racers, as well as other fun clothes and costumes. The winner of the marathon wore a rubber ducky printed shirt, and at least 3 participants completed the course carrying chainsaws.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

Marathoners Do The Course Twice

I was going back and forth with what to wear. Last year I ran in the Epic Finale and was too warm despite the brutal temperatures. That wouldn’t be good given the distance of this race, but I didn’t want to be cold either. The wind was a factor while on the Golden Road section of the course. It was unrelenting and hitting you head on. My arms, face, and thighs were chilly after facing into the wind for awhile. But, overall, I think my layers were just about perfect. My head and hands were warm the whole time.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

Some Participants Carried Chainsaws the for the Whole Race Photo By Kevin Morris

The views of Mount Katahdin from the Golden Road were spectacular though, and more than made up for the wind. The sight of the Golden Road stretching ahead of me filled with the colorful runners, the snowy roadside landscape, leading your eye to the looming Mt. Katahdin was spectacular. The mountain was covered with a blanket of snow which accentuated the topographic details.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

Santa Greeted Runners Photo by Kevin Morris

Frosty and I were together for a little while on the Golden Road, then he went ahead of me. I caught back up to him a little while after the mile 10 aid station. My leg was threatening to cramp up. Frosty walked with me for awhile, then ran ahead.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

Warming up at an Aid Station Photo by Kevin Morris

In running the Millinocket Marathon and Half, the original aim was to be self-supported, so as not to be a burden on the town. When I ran in 2017, runners  were told not to rely on there being aid stations. It turned out that there were aid stations about every two miles and they were well stocked.

Millinocket, Maine Millinocket Marathon and Half

The First Aid Station – Check out That Goodness!

The aid stations were incredible! I spent longer at the aid stations during this race by far than I ever have before. The first one runners came to set the tone. There was a big bowl of Hershey Miniatures, homemade energy balls, Vaseline and Q-Tips for chapped skin, bananas, orange slices, mylar emergency blankets, Gu for the marathoners, water, maple syrup for energy, granola bars and two different flavors of shots. One aid station had frozen banana chunks covered with chocolates. Another one also had Hershey Miniatures. One had chicken broth. Four of the aid stations had shots. Three of these had Fireball.

Millinocket Marathon and Half, Millinocket, Maine

The Aid Stations Were Spectacular Photo By Kevin Morris

Some runners set up Go Fund Me accounts to fund the aid stations and donors could drop off goods for the aid station at the Millinocket Fire Station as well.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

Sign Love Photo by Kevin Morris

It was a good thing that the aid stations were there. When I run a half marathon, I always carry two bottles of Power Ade in my running belt. Well, last year with the warmer temperatures that worked fine for Millinocket, but this year my bottle tops froze. I couldn’t open the bottles!

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

Millinocket Marathon and Half Aid Station Photo by Kevin Morris

During mile 11, at the top of the Bowdoin Street hill, was the cookie lady. Last year I got one of the last cookies. This year I was much slower, but there were lots of cookies still left. I had a chocolate chip one, and it wasn’t frozen! Frosty had a peanut butter cookie. He was ahead of me at this point.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

The Female Winner of the Millinocket Marathon Sarah Mulcahy Crowned with a wreath from Millinocket Floral Shop The Buffalo Plaid Knit Hats Were for Sale from Bad Kitty Crafters Photo by Kevin Morris

I started running again a bit before I reached the downtown. Then I saw Frosty as I got closer to the finish line. I ran up to him. We continued running side by side. As we approached the finish, Frosty grabbed my hand and we crossed the mat together. Shortly after finishing, a lady put a Sea to Summit medal around my neck. Participants who run both MDI and Millinocket can sign up for the Sea to Summit series.

Millinocket, Maine Millinocket Marathon and Half

This Photo Was Captured Just After Crossing the Finish Line Photo By Capstone Photography

This year the race bibs had the runners names on them. Usually some of the spectators cheer you on by name when you are running in a name bib. This didn’t happen at Millinocket. I think mostly because there were very few spectators on the course.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

Sea to Summit Medal

Last year, spectators lined Penobscot Avenue from Central Street to the finish cheering on racers. This year  the downtown area was deserted when I finished. There were a few people at the right next to the finish line. In 2017, I crossed the finish  over a half hour faster than this year, so time could be a factor. But I think the real factor was the weather. Last year, the temperature was in the twenties. This year there were single digit air temperatures.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

Magoo with her Sea to Summit Medal

I used my phone camera during the race. I had planned on taking lots of photos during the race. I wanted to capture all the aid stations, many of the mile markers, and the views of Katahdin. But…. the cold zapped my phone battery which had been fully charged before the race. It was touchy for a little while, then completely died.

Millinocket, Maine Millinocket Marathon and Half

The 4 Mile Marker Was a Painting by Joy Allen McEwan

The mile markers were all unique provided by different groups or individuals. Some were the same as last year; others were new this year. They were great, but last year they were slightly better. One was a giant gear. One had a cut out that you could put your face in for a photo op. One was stacked tires that were in the design of a Minion. Another was an ambulance.

Millinocket, Maine Millinocket Marathon and Half

Mile Marker 14 by Timber Chic

Last year, there was a decorated Christmas tree mile marker, a faux fireplace with stockings, and a cute cow from Stoneyfield Yogurt. Stoneyfield Yogurt was giving out samples last year at the start/finish area, too.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

Haymaker Sports Drink Is Produced by a Small Company in New Hampshire

At the finish, there were bottles of water, Kirkland granola bars, and bottles of Haymaker Sports Drink. I grabbed one of each. Then Frosty and I headed over to the bandstand to change into our warmth layers before we had a chance to get chilled. The DJ was still playing and a few people were hanging out by the fire pit. The cold temperatures put a damper on the fun party atmosphere at the finish this year. But the cold and wind added to my satisfaction and sense of accomplishment at finishing.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

Race Medal From Moose Drop In

Frosty and I decided to walk to the high school and pick up the medal I ordered from Moose Drop In (not a typo) along the way. Being a free race, there aren’t any finishers medals unless you buy one. Moose Drop In sells wooden Millinocket medals with a design burned into the wood. Moose Drop In also sells race shirts, decals, and ornaments. They sell non-race items as well.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

Race Patch From North Lights Gallery

The race logo for the Millinocket Marathon and Half is shared with local stores and crafts people for free. They want locals to be able to use it to make items, so that they can profit from them. I saw the logo on stickers, shirts, magnets, and patches.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

Winner, Sarah Mulcahy, Holding Her Prize a Brick From the Old Great Northern Paper Mill That Was Demolished Photo by Kevin Morris

As we walked through the downtown, I noticed that all of the eateries were full. After picking up the car, we headed to the House of Pizza. It was full too. Frosty and I got in just before another rush of people came. We were starving and this filling lunch hit the spot. The hotels and restaurants certainly had a good weekend.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

Santa Congratulates A Finisher Photo by Kevin Morris

There were other events scheduled throughout the weekend in addition to the artisan fair and race. Friday there was a race supper and a short warm-up race. Saturday morning started with a breakfast and ended with a dance. There was a fun run for kids after the start of the half marathon. On Saturday, four local artists were painting live at the North Lights Gallery. On Sunday, there was an organized short recovery run.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

Warming Up Post Race by the Fire Pit Photo by Kevin Morris

Runners were encouraged to spend money in town at stores, hotels, restaurants, etc. Runners were also encouraged to donate to two different causes, Our Katahdin and the Millinocket Memorial Library. The timing services for the race were paid for by a Go Fund Me account. Groups were collecting donations of toys, money for heating oil assistance, and more.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

Pelletier Logging Truck Photo by Kevin Morris

The Millinocket Marathon and Half is about helping a struggling economy. The atmosphere of giving, not getting, seems to put everyone in a good mood. You feel like you have done something when you finish Millinocket. Millinocket is a very social and fun race with a purpose. The spirit of the Millinocket Marathon and Half connect with the true meaning of the holiday season.

This year there were 1305 finishers. The half had 1121, and the marathon had 184 finishers. 

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

With All the Layers I Look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man Photo by Capstone Photography Sponsored by Bangor Savings Bank

What I Wore:

I started the race with thick merino wool crew socks, liner socks, and my Asics on my feet. For my legs, I had spandex leggings, merino wool leggings, and skort. For my upper body, I had on a long sleeve high neck shirt, a long sleeve merino wool 1/4 zip neck shirt, and nylon wind vest. I had liner mittens and Prima-loft mittens on my hands. I had an ear band and a hat and a merino wool neck gaiter. I had pouches hanging off me in every direction. I looked like a Christmas tree. I thought I might need to stash the outer mittens after running awhile, but I needed them the whole race. I had an extra wool Buff in one of the pouches. I did need to pull that out about half way down the Golden Road.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

Frosty at the Finish

What Frosty Wore:

Merino wool knee socks, polypro leggings, shorts, a merino wool long sleeve 1/4 zip neck shirt, a short sleeve tech. shirt, Brooks sneakers, an Enlightened Equipment wind shirt, a merino wool Buff, an Enlightened Equipment hooded vest, mittens, a hat, and a Cabella’s day pack. He stashed the hooded vest partway through the race.

Millinocket, Maine - Millinocket Marathon and Half

Marathon Winner, Derrick Hamel, All Thawed Out and Receiving His Custom Built Fire Pit Made For the Champion Photo by Kevin Morris

About the Photos:

Bangor Savings Bank sponsored race photos from Capstone Photography that participants could download. They caught Frosty and I at the finish! Kevin Morris also provided free downloadable photos. Kevin Morris had some spectacular photos. His vibrant colors and photo composition was impressive.


Magoo

I like to get outdoors and enjoy life. I hike, snowshoe, run races, travel, camp, and sometimes just sit.

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