The race will begin with a dash through the forest, an off-trail run navigated by compass. It will end with a long paddle down Baskahegan Stream. And along the way, participants will bike, scale a wall, crawl through a mud pit and identify trees. The East Grand Adventure Race, slated for May 13, is a challenging combination of outdoor skills, physical endurance and teamwork. And for more than a decade, this outdoorsy triathlon has become a spring highlight for the small rural town of Danforth, Maine.
“It started out fairly small,” said Amy Scott of Merrill, who has volunteered and participated in the race with her family for several years. “And now it has grown enough where they have really reached out and drawn in the community to help organize and run the race at various points, from being at checkpoints, to getting people signed in, to cooking really good hamburgers at the end …. It does take the whole town it seems like.”
In recent years, the race has drawn between 60 and 70 racers. About 40 local volunteers from Danforth and nearby towns, including the Danforth Fire Department and Dirigo Search and Rescue, help run the event.
In many places, the race would be considered a small event, but in Danforth, located on the northeast border of the state, it makes an impact. The town’s 2010 census recorded less than 600 residents, and the town’s East Grand High School currently has about 50 students.
“I see it as important for bringing the community together,” said race organizer Dave Conley, pointing out that that it’s also an economic boost for the community. Racers from out of town often stay at the First Settlers Lodge in Weston and spend money at local gas stations and eateries.
“We’d like to get it up to 100 people [participating in the race],” he added. “We’re prepared for that many.”
The East Grand Adventure Race, kicking off at 8:45 a.m. on Saturday, May 13, will comprise of a 1-mile compass run, a 10-mile mountain…