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Caribou gearing up to host fourth annual Boston Marathon qualifying race

CARIBOU, Maine — Hundreds of racers will participate in the fourth annual Caribou Marathon, a Boston Marathon qualifying event, on Sunday, Sept. 15.

The race will start at 8 a.m. at the Caribou Wellness and Recreation Center on Bennett Drive, and all registered participants will receive a goodie bag, long sleeve shirt (the official marathon website warns that “shirt availability and sizes are limited”), and finishers will receive a finisher’s medal. Those who qualify for the Boston Marathon will also be awarded a medal.

The Caribou Kids Run will start at 4 p.m. on Sept. 14, and is a total of 1.2 miles. On Sunday, the marathon, half marathon, and relay will start at 8 a.m. Caribou Marketing and Events Coordinator Christina Kane-Gibson said that by late August the event had already matched last year’s number of signed up racers, which was 404. She added that the city typically sees a spike in registrations just before the deadline and estimated that another 100 may sign up.

Third place Caribou Marathon finisher Christopher Bustard of Cambridge, Massachusetts, approaches the end line with a time of 3:02:39 on Sept. 17, 2017.
(Christopher Bouchard)

The route has undergone slight changes over the years, but this year’s route will be identical to the 2018 race. The course itself has been measured and certified by USA Track & Field Standards and is measured and marked at exactly 42.195 kilometers.

In keeping with these standards, the course will include bathrooms, first aid stations, two medical teams, as well as water offered every two miles along with gels and electrolyte drinks.

With Caribou being the most northeastern city in the United States, runners from across America and even beyond have signed up. Kane-Gibson said that there are runners from Texas, Canada, and even one runner from South Africa. 

Community organizations have stepped up to donate money toward the event and also to volunteer during the race. Top sponsors this year include Cary Medical Center, Pines Health Services, MMG Insurance, WAGM, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and Katahdin Trust Company.

Kane-Gibson said Katahdin Trust Company also has about 15 volunteers ready to help at aid stations, and that Cary Medical Center has five relay teams along with a total of 80 volunteers.

“It’s a true community event,” she said, “and you really feel it when you’re there. The marathon has always been amazing. The running brings everyone together and you really get this sense of camaraderie. It’s definitely a cool event to be a part of, even as an organizer.”

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