Tri for a Cure hits the streets, sea in South Portland

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SOUTH PORTLAND — About 1,000 women will be swimming, biking and running at 9 a.m. Sunday in the fifth annual Tri for a Cure, held around Southern Maine Community College and on area roads.

The annual fundraiser for the Maine Cancer Foundation features a 1/3-mile swim in Casco Bay near Spring Point Ledge Light, a 3.1-mile run starting and finishing at SMCC with a course to Bug Light Park and the Greenbelt Path, and a 15-mile bicycle ride.

The bicycle course follows Sawyer Road through South Portland, Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough then along Route 77 and Shore Road back to SMCC.

The race was founded in 2008 by Abby Bliss and cancer survivor Julie Marchese. Athletes must raise at least $350 in donations, but can split portions of the triathlon by forming a team. Marchese said the fundraising goal is $1 million.

As of Wednesday, more than $690,000 had been raised through corporate support and by athletes to fund cancer research in Maine.

The event traditionally begins with cancer survivors gathering at water’s edge before the swim. Spectators are invited to view race events and ceremonies from areas overlooking Spring Point Ledge Light and near Fort Avenue and the college athletic fields.

The event is likely to create traffic congestion and street closures near the campus and along the course between 9 a.m. and noon. Included in street closures are:

• Fort Road, Benjamin Picket Street and Surfsite Road in South Portland closed 6 a.m.-noon.  During the race, northbound Preble Street traffic will be diverted up Elsmere Avenue.

• In Cape Elizabeth, Shore Road will be closed to northbound traffic from 9 a.m.-noon. Also expect delays along Route 77 and Shore Road, and along Sawyer Road and Route 77 in Scarborough.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

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The Stillings family waits to see their niece, Caitlin Littlefield of Wells, pass by during the fourth annual Tri for a Cure in South Portland on July 31, 2011. The fifth annual race begins 9 a.m. Sunday at Southern Maine Community College. Visit the race website for more information on viewing the event and sponsoring athletes to benefit the Maine Cancer Foundation.

Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.