Marathoners are a rugged, adventurous sort and the rugged beauty of the Mount Desert Island Marathon in Bar Harbor, ME elicits a great many smiles per mile -captured and replicated in NER via Maine native son and photog extradonnaire Kevin Morris.
The brainchild of RD Gary Allen of Crow Athletics nation, the excitement resonates from the organizers and volunteers to the marathoners and back again. There’s a lot to love about MDI, and hence a lot of returnees.
(Below is from NER’s 2019 coverage of MDI that appeared in the Jan/Feb 2020 issue).
MDI Boasts Full & Half Course Records
Last year Alex and Kaylin Russeau of Dundee, Michigan drove to Maine to see the foliage, hike up Cadillac Mountain and run the MDI Half Marathon. They managed to pull off a first ever husband and wife win. They retuned this year and Alex produced a stunning victory in the marathon to eclipse Dan Vassalo’s 2016 record of 2:21:45 with a time of 2:20:59.
“It’s great to be able to put my name in the record books here. This is super cool. I don’t get many of these so I’m super happy to get this one, especially on such a hilly course; not like the flat courses I run back in Michigan,” said Russeau, 30. Stuart Russell, 27, of Cambridge, MA, placed second in 2:34:34, with defending champion (in his debut marathon) Jake Shoemaker, 29, of Stow, MA, placing third in 2:38:11.
In the women’s division, Maine standout Sarah Mulcahy, 34, of Fort Kent (who placed third last year with a time of 2:56:02) absolutely dominated the field, winning by almost 15 minutes in 2:49:19. The BAA’s Katie Edwards, 23, of Belchertown, MA, would arrive second in 3:03:02. Laura Hergenrother, 23, of Ridgefield, CT, mounted the third step on the podium in 3:04:23.
Mulcahy’s time was a mere 13 seconds off the record set by Leah Frost in 2018. Frost is due in about two weeks and the only running around she has been doing is getting ready for her first child. “I’m thrilled to say the least, but still I am sad to miss my most favorite race. I have signed up for Boston as my first race postpartum and am hoping to feel good by then and enjoy the day. No Olympic Trials for me this time around,” said Frost.
Mulcahy’s story is one of pure determination. Back in January of 2017 she fractured her hip. “They told me I’d never run again, but six months later I was running with a plate and two screws in my right hip. I worked with running coach Rob Gomez,” said Mulcahy, who went on to win the Millinocket Marathon twice and is a four-time winner of the Bay of Fundy International Marathon.
This year she qualified for the Olympic Trials in Atlanta in February 2020 courtesy of a 2:44:28 performance at the California International Marathon in Sacramento. “This will be my once in a lifetime experience and I just want to be able to enjoy what I’m a part of,” said Mulcahy.
In the half-marathon, the BAA’s Eric Ashe, 31, of Boston, MA, was looking to cruise to victory preceding the Cape Cod Marathon, but that went by the boards when Minnesota’s Brendan Sage, 24, had a 10-second lead at 7-miles. Ashe switched gears and ran the last 10K in 32-flat to Sage’s 32:26 as both runners broke Brian Harvey’s course record of 1:07:45 set in 2015-Ashe in 1:07:10 and Sage in 1:07:27.
Top Master Judson Cake, 41, of Bar Harbor, clinched third in a fine 1:14:15. On the women’s side Karoline Skatteboe, 26, of Somerville, MA, won with a time of 1:20:13. Skatteboe is a native of Oslo, Norway and holds the Guinness Book of World Records best for a female running a half marathon in a business suit (trousers, buttoned shirt, tie) of 1:29.
Scarborough’s Erica Jesseman, 30, took second in 1:25:27, after winning the women’s division of the Maine Marathon in Portland a week earlier. Recently returned to the running scene after suffering a hamstring injury last spring, Jesseman plans to run the Houston Marathon in January in an attempt to qualify for her third Olympic Trials Michigan’s Kaylin Russeau, 28, who won the women’s division last year in 1:29:34, her time to 1:27:59 but had to settle for third place. But, she shared in the joy of her husband’s record braking win in the marathon. “We just love sports and adventure travel and train together back in Michigan and I’m just so happy for Alex.
Wow! said a joyful Kaylin after her husband’s win. In all some 1,212 runners and 48 relay teams enjoyed one of the most scenic courses in America while running the challenging hills and coast line of Maine.
Race director and founder Gary Allen summed it up best. “I think being a Mainer you have to be a strong willed person and as an islander, even stronger. I think this marathon and our Millinocket Marathon plays well to that spirit,” said Allen. -John Stevens
18th Annual Mount Desert Island Marathon, Bar Harbor, October 20
612 Marathon Finishers, 601 Half Marathon Finishers, 48 Relay Teams – Timing by: ARE Event Productions – Marathon USATF Certified: ME12018JK. Marathon Course Records: Alex Russeau, 2:20:59, 2019; Leah Frost, 2:49:06, 2018. Masters: David Herr, 2:34:52, 2005; Judy Chiavetta, 3:04:42, 2007. Seniors: David Herr, 2:42:28, 2015; Linda Desmeules, 3:10:11, 2015. Veterans: Mike Beeson, 3:12:40, 2018; Carol Manley, 3:47:24, 2014. 70-79: Gene Dykes, 3:57:44, 2019; Patricia Ewell, 5:39:39, 2015. Half Marathon Course Records: Eric Ashe, 1:07:10, 2019; Michelle Lilienthal, 1:18:34, 2016
Men’s Marathon (Overall): 1. Alex Russeau, MI, 2:20:59 (CR: old record 2:21:45, Dan Vassallo, 2016); 2. Stuart Russell, MA, 2:34:34; 3. Jake Shoemaker, MA, 2:38:11; 4. Shawn Powers, MA, 2:51:06; 5. David Herr, VT, 2:51:37; 6. Rich Wolferz, NJ, 2:52:06; 7. Jon Western, MA, 2:52:46; 8. Jack Schrupp, NH, 2:53:48; 9. Mike Narcisi, MA, 2:54:24; 10. Dylan Brann, 2:58:55; 11. Tucker Grose, MA, 2:59:47; 12. Jon Frentzel, DE, 3:00:49; 13. Jeremy Lisee, 3:03:52; 14. Ben Fowler, FL, 3:04:14; 15. Rob McWaters, MA, 3:04:30. (19-under): 1. Ezra Leary, RI, 3:18:03; 2. Tanner Thomas, CO, 4:18:11. Masters: 1. Shawn Powers, MA, 2:51:06; 2. Jeremy Lisee, 3:03:52; 3. Rob McWaters, MA, 3:04:30. Seniors: 1. David Herr, VT, 2:51:37; 2. Javier Frega, ARG, 3:09:55; 3. Curtis Russet, 3:19:42. Veterans: 1. Corvid Tiemann, 3:37:15; 2. Andy Baida, MD, 3:38:37; 3. Al Tillotson, CT, 3:39:41. (70+): 1. Gene Dykes, PA, 3:57:44 (CR: old record 4:05:28, Luigi Zanini, 2015); 2. Ken Stafford, MA, 4:42:06; 3. Gary Ruff, FL, 5:25:11.
Men’s Half Marathon Top-5: 1. Eric Ashe, MA, 1:07:10 (CR: old record 1:07:45, Brian Harvey, 2015); 2. Brendan Sage, MN, 1:07:27; 3. Judson Cake, 1:14:15; 4. Rico Portalatan, 1:18:01; 5. Gihan Amarasiriwarde, MA, 1:22:02.
Women’s Marathon (Overall): 1. Sarah Mulcahy, 2:49:19; 2. Kate Edwards, MA, 3:03:00; 3. Laura Hergenrother, CT, 3:04:14; 4. Naomi Barnett, NY, 3:12:06; 5. Grace Carr, 3:13:05; 6. Claire Saxton, CA, 3:13:46; 7. Tatyana Steis, VA, 3:14:23; 8. Jen Meyer, NY, 3:18:29; 9. Melissa Goble, MN, 3:19:38; 10. Debra Morin, 3:26:14; 11. Sarah Rebick, 3:29:22; 12. Lucy Amory, 3:31:38; 13. Katie Malone, 3:32:01; 14. Sarah Verbyla, MA, 3:32:26; 15. Rebeccah Geib, 3:32:28. (19-under): 1. Sonia Griffen, DC, 3:34:10; 2. Izzy Hurley, CO, 3:35:53. Masters: 1. Claire Saxton, CA, 3:13:46; 2. Tatyana Steis, VA, 3:14:23; 3. Sarah Rebick, 3:29:22. Seniors: 1. Debra Morin, 3:26:14; 2. Liz Secor, 3:33:31; 3. Kathy Holum, MN, 3:55:46. Veterans: 1. Sherry Pipkin, TX, 4:34:09; 2. Joyce Goodrich, NY, 4:43:16; 3. Tracy Wilson, MI, 4:58:20. (70+): 1. Corine Knudsen, WA, 5:57:52.
Women’s Half Marathon Top-5: 1. Karoline Skatteboe, MA, 1:20:13; 2. Erica Jesseman, 1:25:27; 3. Kaylin Russeau, MI, 1:27:59; 4. Heather Cable, 1:33:32; 5. Dara Knapp, 1:34:18.