The second annual Bay of Fundy International Marathon (BOFIM) will be run Sunday, June 15. According to Race Director John Hough, 268 runners signed up for the full 26.2-mile event, termed challenging by last year's participants because of the 2,400 feet of elevation gain through the course. The magazine New England Runner, in the September/October 2013 edition, called the event "epic."
As of June 9, said Hough, 287 additional runners had registered for the 10-kilometer race, which runs separately but shares the finish line. Registration for the 10K will remain open until just before race time. Since the full marathon transits the international border twice, registration was closed on June 1 to permit authorities time to preregister contestants, sidestepping the normal border-crossing procedures.
Lower participation levels this year are blamed on the harsh winter, which left many schools scrambling to make up for snow days. The attack on the 2013 Boston Marathon is also credited with boosting last year's numbers, as runners sought to take advantage of the BOFIM "Boston Qualifier" status.
As is customary, a pasta dinner will be served at the Lubec school, from 5 to 7 p.m. the evening before the marathon, with musical entertainment by the University of Maine Machias Ukulele Band. The expo is steps away, in the school gym.
The main event starts Sunday morning at 7 a.m. at the West Quoddy Head Lighthouse, crosses the bridge onto Campobello and continues to the Head Harbour Lighthouse at the north end of the island, where it reverses course, again crosses the bridge and finishes on Lubec's Water Street. Some traffic restrictions will be set in place; according to Hough, residents were notified by mail about timing and locations. The 10K starts at 10:30 a.m. from the West Quoddy Light. Starting at 5:30 a.m., runners for both events will be transported to the starting line by a fleet of school buses with volunteer drivers from the staging area at the Lubec school. Training sessions for course helpers have been under way for some time, and the lessons learned last year have been put into practice.
The Maine Department of Transportation and the Lubec Public Works crew will block off one lane of the bridge, allowing only light‑controlled one‑way vehicular traffic during the race itself.
One should expect the male winners to cross the line sometime around 9:30 a.m., with the first women anticipated a half‑hour later. Entries have come from the Czech Republic, Germany, Iceland, Spain, Switzerland and many Canadian provinces and American states. Sarah Mulcahy of Baring, last year's female winner, is expected to be present but has elected not to compete. "She's eight months pregnant," says Hough. Mulcahy was still able to complete this year's Boston Marathon in four hours, eight minutes and 19 seconds.
This year the local schools will be competing in a cross‑border rivalry. Answering a challenge issued by students from the Campobello Island Consolidated School, students from the Lubec school will run the marathon course in a team relay. According to Hough, eight students from each school will participate. Shuttle arrangements have been made so that each team can complete the course together.
Local artists Shanna Wheelock from Lubec and Richard Klyver from Eastport have been working to prepare the awards and the finisher medals, respectively. Many local establishments have reported being booked solid for the weekend, while others are making special accommodations. For instance, Lubec's Atlantic House restaurant, located very near the finish line, is planning to open at 4 a.m. on race day.
Organizers are looking ahead to expand the event next year. A planned half‑marathon is in the works, starting and running primarily on Campobello Island, but crossing the bridge to use the same finish line as the full marathon and the 10K.