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Maine Marathon Relay - Race Report

I startled awake to a dark room at 5am, not aware of precisely why, but at the same time knowing that getting back to sleep would be impossible as I’d only be mentally counting down to my 5:30am alarm. It was Sunday, Oct 3rd: Maine Marathon day!

Team Flying Fish, from L to R: Susan Olcott, Naomi Kordak, Kalyn Bickerman-Martens, and Sarah Breul

This adventure began for me all the way back in June when I had reached out to Bob Dunfey, the event’s volunteer race director, to help me begin to organize a fundraising team for the Maine Marathon, a fall running tradition for Mainers. From there, Susan (MCFA’s Director of Operations) and I recruited five additional runners to join Team Flying Fish in an effort to fundraise for our Fishermen Wellness program. The physical toll the fishing lifestyle takes on a body is apparent to many people, but the Fishermen Wellness program has been carefully designed to also take into account the mental health of Maine’s fishermen and address the often unseen battles these communities face. We saw the Maine Marathon as the perfect event to promote this important program and it was the thought of this much needed initiative that kept me going mile after mile while training during the Dog Days of summer and into muggy September.

We are so thankful to our sponsors and supporters who have generously donated to our fundraising efforts, as well as to Britt at Spark Cycling Studio, who held a (sold out!) benefit ride for Fishermen Wellness in September. With these contributions and the support of over 90 individual donors, we were able to raise over $11,000 for this vital program - that’s over 200% over our goal!. These funds will go directly toward expanding and strengthening the Fishermen Wellness program with the ultimate goal of a creation of a “Wellness Toolbox”, an engaging website to bring fishermen into the health arena.

Our generous 2021 Maine Marathon sponsors

An added bonus is that MCFA partnered with a team of nine Maine AgrAbility employees, who will be running a virtual Maine Marathon relay on October 9th, to join our fundraising efforts. Maine FishAbility, part of Maine AgrAbility, works with fishermen who have chronic health conditions, injuries, or disabilities to help them keep working effectively and safely on and off the water.

Although the temperature refused to budge out of the low 50s and the sky vacillated between oppressive clouds and cold rain, MCFA board member Andrew Kraus impressively crushed the full marathon and our newest board member, Nikki Strout, rocked her half marathon, finishing under two hours. Flying Fish, MCFA’s marathon relay team made up of Susan, and myself, along with friends Naomi Kordak and Sarah Breul of F/V Three Girls Fishing, flew across the finish line in 7th place of the 27 teams in the division. It was a successful day for MCFA and for our Fishermen Wellness Program - thank you to everyone who supported our team!


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