Friday, November 22, 2019

Mount Desert Island Marathon Race Report and Video and Acadia National Park - October 2019

Holly’s Report

This was the Maine marathon I wanted to do for my 50 State Challenge, but it never worked into our travel/work schedule.   This would finally be the year.   The course pictures always looked great.   I was always scared by the hills, but figured I would give it a go.   The Mount Desert Island course is a point to point course that starts in Bar Harbor and ends in Southwest Harbor.  You wind your way along the course and through the edges of Acadia National Park.  We were staying a short walk away from the start and got there about 7:30 for the 8:00am start.   Enough time for one more bathroom break and then got in the corrals.    Pretty soon we were off on a nice downhill start.  Unfortunately that didn’t last long.   The first hill was crazy and long.   I was mildly concerned.  (Ok,  majorly concerned).   I decided to just enjoy the scenery and whatever happened, happened.  

The scenery was amazing.  Beautiful fall foliage, rocky coastlines and cute harbors.   No boring sections on this course.   Dave wasn’t sure how he would be able to get around, but he did fine and saw me several times (starting at mile 7).    I kept running up those hills (walking some of the steep sections) and was doing well.   I started to tire in the last miles, but I’m happy with how I did.   The camber of the road was tough as we were mainly running facing traffic on open roads.  That would be my only real complaint.

The finish was great and I got my name announced which is always fun.   I got a really cute lobster claw medal, a few snacks, and then we hightailed it out of there.  

Race video

I was motivated to finish quickly and get back to the hotel because we had a reservation at the Jordan Pond House for their famous popovers.   That was their last day of the season, so it would be our only chance.    Dave did a stellar job of parking the car close to the finish.   We made it back to our hotel, showered, and made it to Jordan Pond with 35 minutes to spare!   The popovers were worth every hill I climbed.   I highly recommend this race.

Dave’s Race Chasing notes

The race materials cautioned to only spectate at several locations and made it very clear you couldn’t follow the course easily.   I figured out some back roads to get to mile 7, which ended up being a very isolated section of the course.   After seeing Holly I was able to follow the course until mile 14.   I connected backup with the course at mile 17 and followed until 21.  After that, I took the long way around to get to the finish area.  

Bar Harbor and Acadia

First the positives:   The area is very pretty, especially with the foliage this time of year.   The town of Bar Harbor was really cute and everyone we encountered in shops, restaurants, and bars were very friendly.   Bar Harbor is a town of about 5,000 residents that shuts down by November.   The business district is 2 blocks x 4 blocks and it’s filled with bars, restaurants, and lots of shops.  This is a great launch point for Acadia National Park touring, whale watching and puffin sighting tours, and lobster boat rides.

Now for the negative:  This small town is a popular cruise ship port.   Some days the cruisers outnumber the population.   Driving in town is difficult when ships are in because the cruisers do things like stand in the middle of the road, don’t look before crossing streets, and block narrow sidewalks with their indecisions on what shop to go into.   The grocery store parking lot is a nightmare!  Our hotel, The Harborside, was next to one of the cruise ship tender docks which provided us some entertainment.  

Some highlights of town were Atlantic BrewingFinback’sSide Street Cafe, and our favorite was Cottage Street Pub.

Our time in the Park was fun.   We started at the Visitor Center to figure out what to do.   We ended up driving to Cadillac Mountain observation for a panoramic view of the island.  Next we took the Gotham Mountain Trail to its summit for some pretty views.   That picture by the summit marker was taken ten seconds before Dave had the rocks slip from underneath him and he fell hard.  The camera and Dave are both fine.  

1 comment:

  1. I just watched the video and read your report. I was supposed to do MDI last year and it was deferred to this year. I can't wait but I am dreading the hills! I'm doing 50 states as well. Thank you for the video and report, it really helped and got me even more excited.