Fifty-Six runners from around New England took to the trails on Pleasant Mountain on Saturday, October 7th to participate in the inaugural Pleasant Mountain Race. The 20k trail running race featured technical trails that were wet and slippery from recent rain, and over 3,600 feet of elevation gain.
Runners began at Pleasant Mountain Ski Area’s East Lodge, up the Bald Peak Trail, and descended the mountain on the Firewarden’s Trail. They then ran on the road from the Firewarden’s Trailhead to the Southwest Ridge Trailhead to head back up the mountain to the summit, across the ridge to Sue’s Way Trail, and down the Bald Peak Trail back to the East Lodge.
First place finisher was Michael Conley, of Gorham, ME finishing in an impressive 2:15.43. Second place in the men’s division went to Grant Haynes of Portland, ME, with a time of 2:31.49, and coming in third was Ansel Mallonee of Portland, ME at 2:32.06. First place in the women’s division went to Cait Bourgault of Norway, ME with a time of 3:02.16. Carrie McCusker of Cape Elizabeth, ME came in second at 3:03.45, and Sam Clapp of Scarborough, ME came in third with a time of 3:23:52. The youngest finisher was twelve year old Gannon Pace. Full results can be found here.
Runners completed the 13-mile mountain course in support of Loon Echo Land Trust’s (LELT) conservation work and the trails on Pleasant Mountain. Race directors Addie Casali and Scott Eugley came to LELT with the idea for a race on Pleasant Mountain back in June.
“We had never organized a race before and had no idea what we were in for,” said Addie.
“All we had was a passion for the sport, a love of the trails on Pleasant Mountain, and a desire to give back to the community that had given us so much,” added Scott.
Funds raised from the event will be invested directly back into the trails at Pleasant Mountain, which have undergone significant maintenance work this summer with more planned for next year.
“We’re proud to steward such an incredible and beloved trail network, and support from our community is what makes it all possible,” said LELT Executive Director Matt Markot. “We’d like to thank race directors Addie and Scott, the many volunteers, and all the runners for a fun and successful day,” said Markot. “Spirits were high despite the weather.”
The event was a true community effort. Over 30 volunteers supported the race: first-aid and rescue services provided by the Wilderness Rescue Team and Pleasant Mountain Ski Patrol members, check-in support, finish line assistance, and volunteers stationed all over the mountain and on the roadways directing runners at course intersections.
Various local businesses also contributed. Pleasant Mountain Ski Area provided the start/finish point of the race and donated the use of their East Lodge facility and ski lifts to get personnel up on the mountain, Maine Morning Micro Roasters donated bags of coffee for the top 3 men and women finishers, Fluvial Brewing donated all the beer at the event for racers and volunteers to enjoy, and R. Perry Flowers volunteered his time and talent taking photos of the race. Thanks also to the Towns of Bridgton and Denmark for their permission to use public roadways and for safety support.
Race organizers are already looking forward to next year. “We learned a lot and couldn’t be happier with how the race turned out,” said Addie. “We’re excited to make next year’s race even bigger and better!”