3,500 runners expected for 25th Maine Marathon

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FALMOUTH — This year is the 25th anniversary of the Maine Marathon, but  it will be mostly business as usual for the annual event.

Howard Spear, co-director of the marathon, said other than a new logo, medals and shirts, and little more entertainment along the course, the race remains pretty much unchanged.

“We don’t change much,” Spear said. “… We get a good crowd, have a good race and donate a lot of money.”

Proceeds from this year’s race will benefit Dream Factory of Maine, a branch of a national organization that grants the dreams of critically and chronically ill children between the ages of 3 and 18.

Spear said the Maine Marathon guarantees a donation of at least $50,000 to the charity selected each year, although over the course of the year the organization donates close to $100,000 to various charities. This is the first time the Dream Factory has been the recipient; Spear said Cromwell Center for Disabilities Awareness is next year’s charity.

The Oct. 2 marathon, half marathon and marathon relay are expected to draw 3,500 runners.

As it has every year, the race will begin and end on Baxter Boulevard, between Forest Avenue and Preble Street. All races start at 7:45 a.m.

For marathon walkers who expect to maintain a pace of 13 minutes per mile or slower, a 6 a.m. start time is available, but those starting early are not eligible for awards. Anyone who starts earlier than 5:30 a.m. will be disqualified.

The Maine Marathon is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon, held every year on Patriot’s Day in April. The three out-and-back races stay together for the first 6 1/2 miles, before the half marathon runners turn back to Portland. All courses feature rolling hills and flat sections, but start and finish with 2 flat miles along Baxter Boulevard.

Traffic on several streets will be affected because of the race. With the exception of race vehicles, the following roads will be closed to non-local traffic:

• Baxter Boulevard between Forest Avenue and Preble Street from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Depot Road in Falmouth from Route 1 to Route 88, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.

• Route 88 in Falmouth, 8-10:30 a.m.

• Johnson Road in Falmouth from Route 1 to Route 88 (local traffic only), 8 a.m. -1 p.m.

• Gilman Road in Yarmouth from Route 88 to Prince’s Point Road, 9-11 a.m.

Spectators are asked not to park anywhere on Route 88, but can park in the Wal-Mart parking lot on U.S. Route 1 in Falmouth or other shopping plazas.

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

Signs on Veranda Street in Portland warn drivers about the 25th annual Maine Marathon, which goes from Portland to Yarmouth and back on Sunday, Oct. 2.

Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net.