This is part of a series of posts from my quest to run a half marathon in all 50 states. Maine was my 31st state.
If you take a poll and ask Americans what US states they would most like to visit, chances are pretty good they’ll say Maine as one of them. Everyone talks about how beautiful Maine is and I was anxious to see for myself. It did not disappoint. My family and I spent some time in Portland, where the race was, and also Rockport and Bar Harbor. All three places have something unique to offer.
We flew into Boston Logan International Airport and drove just under 2 hours to Portland where we ate at some fantastic restaurants and relaxed for a couple of days before the race. For some fun things to do in Portland, check out the Portland Museum of Art, Portland Observatory, Old Port with cobble-stone streets and restaurants and shops, Fore Street, Shipyard Brewing Company, many tours including cultural, pub, wine, city, and historical tours just to name a few.
The downside to running a half marathon in Maine is chances are pretty good it’s going to be a hilly course. The Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon certainly was hilly. Unfortunately it was also very hot that morning so combined with the hills it made for a difficult race. As you might guess from the name, the course is through the Old Port district. There are also nice views of the Casco Bay, the Presumpscot River, the Portland skyline, and the Back Cove. The start and finish are at Portland’s Ocean Gateway Terminal, which I thought was a pretty good location and provided easy access and plenty of parking.
You get quite a bit for your money at this race. Included in your registration fee are: health and fitness expo, cute medal, technical shirt in women’s and men’s sizes, free high resolution race photos, race video, live tracking, and post-race food including 2 beers from Shipyard Brewing Company. You can also buy a commemorative glass mug (which I couldn’t resist) and a race hat with the logo on it for $15.
Would I recommend this race? Probably as long as you go into it knowing it will be a tough one and alter your expectations a bit. The course is beautiful so that at least makes the hills worth it.
I highly recommend checking out some other areas if you go to Portland. After the race, we decided to stay 2 nights in Rockport, which is about an hour and a half drive from Portland, and 3 nights in Bar Harbor, which is about a 2 hour drive from Rockport. At both places, we rented cottages and they were far and away better than staying at a hotel for about the same price. There are also many Bed & Breakfasts scattered around the area. Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park are in Bar Harbor and these are two places you can’t miss if you go to Maine. These areas have some incredible hiking trails and views like nowhere else in the world.
From my post-race notes:
“Beautiful course but one of the toughest I’ve ever ran because of the near-constant hills and heat. Was low 70’s and sunny with high humidity at the start and no shade along course. Crowded start which didn’t thin out for some time. Some oceanfront parts, but mostly hill after long hill. Nice medal and technical shirt. Good food at finish. Finished in 2:08, which was good considering all of the hills and the heat. Great pre-and post-race parties with bands, beer, pizza. I skipped the pre-race party and only hung out a short time after the race because I was so tired.”