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Cape Elizabeth woman organizes 'green' 5K race

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Cape Elizabeth woman organizes 'green' 5K race

CAPE ELIZABETH — Rachel Piper has single-handedly organized an environmentally friendly five-kilometer road race to support local business, help raise non-profit awareness, and benefit the Endangered Species Coalition.

An avid runner, mother and business owner, 41-year-old Piper has carved out time to create a green road race. When she was laid off after 17 years as an employee of L.L. Bean, she said she was open to many opportunities. It was time to focus on another path, and she now had the time to do that.

She said although she has participated in numerous races, she has not encountered one specifically geared to benefit an environmental cause.

"As a first-time race director, I wanted to approach this event from a mindful, responsible place," she said. "I think the green event movement is coming, and hope this race can encourage others to do the same."

Her Race to Stop Extinction is sanctioned by Athletes for a Fit Planet and is the only 5K race with this distinction in Maine. It will take place Sunday, May 23 at 9 a.m. around Portland's Back Cove.

Piper said the event has a no-paper, online registration feature and a ride-share program for participants. There will be recycling bins at the event, all t-shirts are made from organic cotton, and there are water fountains along the course instead of single-use plastic bottles. 

Piper's business, Wildfut – an organic, sustainable apparel company – joined One Percent for the Planet, an organization that promotes environmental change by inspiring and encouraging business to support non-profit's. Through the program, Wildfut donates 1 percent of it's annual gross sales to the Endangered Species Coalition, and is one of seven Maine businesses that participate. 

In addition to helping support an environmental cause and promoting health and fitness, Piper said the event will be fun for families and children, too.

There will be a Kid's Fun Run and an after-race party at Payson Park in Portland. Local and regional artists will perform music, there will be massages, organic refreshments and face painting. Piper has invited non-profit organizations to set up booths to share their information with the public. She said Portland Trails, Cape Elizabeth Land Trust and the Endangered Species Coalition are a few of the organizations that will participate.

Everyone who enters will receive a t-shirt and a reclaimed medal, and race winners in the various age groups will be awarded prizes from local restaurants, clothing stores and outdoor companies. She said people can walk or run, but the goal is to have fun and be active.

"This race an opportunity to raise awareness about supporting endangered species, green events, and local businesses," she said. "We are helping each other by promoting each other."

To register for the event, visit race2stopextinction.com.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net