RaceOrganizers-PeterKeeney and Ryan KingBlazing oaks, blaze-orange vests and a well-blazed race course met blazing speed as Erik McCarthy, 32, of Old Town led a field of 71 runners across the finish line in the Wildlands Trail Race October 27. The race benefitted Great Pond Mountain Conservation Trust and local land conservation.

IMG_4902In this, the first of the Downeast Double Trouble Trail Race Challenge series, contestants ran a 6.3-mile course on dirt roads and single track, up and over Oak and Flag Hills and Flying Moose Mountain, and the occasional porcupine. The race drew runners from Portland to Columbia Falls; the youngest was 10-year-old Hayden O’Connell of Bucksport, who finished with dad Stephen in the center of the pack.

McCarthy completed the course in 41:58. He was followed by Aaron Long, 34, of Bar Harbor in a time of FirstWomanFinisher and third overall - Jennifer VanDongen46:01. In third place, Jennifer VanDongen of Bar Harbor with a time of 48:04. Runners received prizes in a number of categories, and all runners got Wildlands Trail Run tees. Click Wildlands Race Results for complete list of runners and times.

OverallWinner-ErikMcCarthySpecial thanks to the 28 volunteers including Orland Girl Scouts, who planned, organized, set up tables and tents, brought food, staffed checkpoints along the course, timed and recorded runners as they crossed the finish line. Sponsors provided chili and chowder, prizes and more: Camden National Bank, Coastal Eye Care, Stanley Subaru, MacLeod’s Restaurant, Penobscot Bay Yacht Exchange, Dave’s Tractor Services, Cadillac Mountain Sports, Woodland Studios and Curtis Family Shoe.

The next race in the series is Frenchman Bay Conservancy’s Autumn Trail Race Nov. 3, which starts and finishes at Sumner Memorial High School in Sullivan. This race is a 4-mile course on the single-track hiking trails of FBC’s Baker Hill and Long Ledges Preserves. Those completing both races in the series will win a special technical t-shirt. For more info,