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Aroostook River Fun Run brings in race enthusiasts despite cold spring weather

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — With early morning temperatures in the 40s, the Aroostook River Fun Run got off to a cold start on Saturday. But the much cooler spring weather did not stop enthusiastic paddlers, cyclists, walkers and runners from having fun during the annual races.

The 12th annual Aroostook River Fun Run is a collaboration between the Presque Isle and Washburn Rotary Clubs and the Presque Isle Kiwanis Club. All three races — a canoe/kayak race along the Aroostook River, a 5k walk/run and a bike race — took place simultaneously. The bike race was a non-timed event.

Proceeds from the event go toward the local chapter of Disabled American Veterans and Mel’s Trekkers, a group of cyclists who will ride in the American Lung Association’s Trek Across Maine in honor of Presque Isle native Melanie Stewart-Ring.

Despite the colder-than-normal spring winds that blew through Thomas Brewer Park in Washburn, paddlers were eager to begin the river race. Sean Donovan of Presque Isle participated in his second River Fun Run this year and said he has also raced in other local canoe/kayak events.

“I like the atmosphere for this race because most of us are just here to have fun,” Donovan said. “It’s great to talk with the other racers.”

Donovan’s race partner Kristin Tlili of Bangor noted that the River Fun Run is her first canoe/kayak race.

“Seeing the river in spring is probably what I’m most looking forward to,” Tlili said.

Julie Plummer of Presque Isle and Ben Lothrop of Ashland were both first-time participants in the River Fun Run, with Plummer being the first-time canoeist of the duo.

“This is a good way to spend a Saturday in May,” Lothrop said. “We’re not here to win, just to have fun.”

Those who took part in the 5K walk/run started at the SAD 1 bus garage on Parson Street in Presque Isle and finished at the Presque Isle Fish and Game Club. Officials from Northern Light A.R. Gould Hospital provided folks with a free barbecue lunch at the club later that morning and helped present paddlers, walkers and runners with awards.
Coming in at first place for the 5K walk/run race was Jenna Norton at 26 minutes and 10 seconds while Trai Parent placed second with a time of 26 minutes and 54 seconds. Other finishers included Travis Parent, 26:56, Joy Cropley, 27:31, Adelaide Baeser, 27:35, Reagen Deshene, 27:38, Nadine Deschaine, 28:41, Janelle Brooks, 29:09, Kassandra Jordan, 30:34, Janet Giberson, 34:06, Lucy Cheney, 35:32, Scott Cheney, 35:42, Allison Dean, 35:50, Taylor Williams, 38:57, Beth Williams, 38:58, Jill Boyd, 46:00, Teddy Parent, 47:13, Alyson Reynolds, 47:15, Laurie LeFleaur, 48:16, Scott LeFleaur, 48:17, Rejean Savoie, 49:47, Jocelyn Marquis, 51:34, Nicole Dyer, 51:35, Gina Leblanc-Edgert 55:07, Deborah Roark, 55:10, and Ginny Joles, 55:11.

The top winners of the river race included Leo Rossignol in the Kayak Recreational division, with a time of one hour and 17 minutes, and Chris and Raegan McCormick in the Kayak Double Recreational division with a time of one hour, 19 minutes and 13 seconds. George Webster was the winner of the Senior Kayak division with a time of one hour, 36 minutes and 17 seconds.

Winners of the canoe divisions included Justin LaPlante, Canoe Single Recreational, with a time of one hours, 15 minutes and 15 seconds; Dave Conley and Everett Flannery, Canoe Doubles Recreational, with a time of one hour, 10 minutes and 20 seconds; and Charles Namer III, Charles Namer IV and Charles Namer V, Canoe Triples Recreational, with a time of one hour, 39 minutes and 20 seconds. Dave McCrossin won the Canoe Experienced division at one hour, one minute and 33 seconds, while Luke Greenier and Noah Sixberry won the High School Canoe division at one hour, two minutes and 28 seconds.

Aroostook River Fun Run organizer Theresa Fowler said that the races allow for great community collaboration and have become popular events for people of all ages.

“It brings our two communities together and gives people a chance to socialize,” Fowler said. “We’ve been lucky to attract new folks every year.”

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