Erik Bouchard was busy this afternoon on the Maine State Pier preparing for his 2nd annual Old Port Half Marathon & 5K races which start early in the morning. Both races start at Cutter Street on the East End and finish with award ceremonies on the Maine State Pier.
Last July 24th, Bouchard, owner of Gidy-Up, signed-up almost 800 people to participate in his first race on the east end of Portland; much of it on Munjoy Hill. This year 1,600 registered for the race as of two months ago. Registration for the race ended at that time. Most of the participants are from out of state; 47.5 are Maine residents. Sixty-two % are women and 48% men. There is a waiting list of 640 to participate should spaces open up. Next year Bouchard hopes to gear up to accommodate all of those who want to be included.
The Races are being billed on-line as the “all-new Shipyard Brewing Co. Old Port Half Marathon & 5K Run/Walk Race.” For the first time, Shipyard Brewing will have a beer garden at the Maine State Pier offering beer to age eligible race participants and the public for a charge. Bouchard said that he really doesn’t know why the large increase in entries this year. “Don’t misunderstand the value of the internet and facebook,” he said.
Parker Swenson, operations manager for the First Urban Raid, said that Portland in particular is just beginning to catch up with a trend that has been national for about 10 years. He expects the entire field of outdoor organized sports to continue to grow dramatically in the near future.
Please see Post # 837, last July, for more background on the race.