Most Portland runners, walkers, and joggers are familiar with the soft crunch, crunch, crunch their athletic shoes make on the fine gravel of the Back Cove Trail as they take in some exercise, salty air, and the cityscape view we all love. Some of those athletes, in previous years, have competed in one of Portland’s best 10Ks, the Trail to Ale, which courses around the Back Cove, in part. A few do it for the rush of running against fellow participants, and a few more go for the post-race craft brew party. And there are those who can’t decide what they like best. But a select group of diligent, dedicated runners will want to take part in a special pre-T2A event.
It’s the Trail to Ale 10K Preview Run, a multi-paced dry run of this year’s course, which begins and ends in the East End, running through the Eastern Prom neighborhood, part of Bayside, and of course, around the Back Cove. The Preview happens this Friday, August 18, at 6:30 a.m. It meets on the Eastern Promenade at Cutter Street, where Portland Trails board and staff members will guide registered participants in groups according to projected pace through the entire race route. So if you want to know whether the Trail to Ale, which happens on Sunday, September 17, is a good match for your ability and willingness, sign up for the Preview Run at http://trails.org/calendar/trail-ale-10k-preview-run/ . If you’ve already registered for the official race, the Preview is free. It’s $5 for Portland Trails members, and $7 otherwise. Organizers ask that you bring cash on the morning of the Preview.
For runners at the northern end of our readership area, there’s the Run for Our Fallen Heroes 10K & 5K Walk/Run, which starts at the Brunswick Recreation Center (220 Neptune Dr) on Sunday, August 20 at 9:30 a.m. with same-day registration beginning at 7 a.m. Online registration at http://www.mainefallenheroes.org/run-for-our-fallen-heroes/ maxes out at $25 for non-family athletes running the whole 10K. As you may have guessed, proceeds benefit the families of fallen Maine service members, but what makes this event really interesting is the partnership with The Summit Project. In a nutshell, this organization honors the fallen by accepting stories of valor from the bereaved Maine families, along with unearthed stones that represent the spirits of their warriors, which are then engraved and carried by volunteers to places like the summits of Katahdin, Cadillac, Kilimanjaro, Everest, and Denali. The stones of the families attending the Run for Our Fallen Heroes will be carried during the race. For regular runners, awards will be given to the top 3 finishers in each age group.
As always, don’t forget to stretch, and we wish you tailwinds.