By Matt DiFilippo
While the road race season is winding down, there are still plenty of opportunities for runners to get in on an organized race in central Maine. Here's a look at the area races over the rest of September:
There are two local races on Sept. 14. One is the 5K Run/Walk/Hike for Blessings in a Backpack, held at the Hidden Valley Nature Center on Egypt Road in Jefferson. Blessings in a Backpack is an organization that helps feed needy children on weekends during the school year.
Sept. 14 is also the day of the Run for the Trees 5K at Viles Arboretum on Hospital Street in Augusta. You can also buy Viles Arboretum T-shirts and tickets for either a hearty vegetarian meal or barbecued chicken dinner to eat after the race. The race is in memory of Nate MacConnell, who died in an auto accident during his senior year at Deering High School.
This is the second year of the Run for the Trees race. Deering still presents the Nathan MacConnell Memorial Award scholarship to a senior each year.
One day later, on Sunday, Sept. 15, there will be a sprint triathlon hosted by Lake George Regional Park and Somerset Sports and Fitness. The race begins with a swim from the Lake George boat launch in Canaan, then bike 15 miles to Somerset Sports and Fitness, followed by a 4-mile out-and-back run.
The interest is high in this event, as three weeks before the race date there were already 130 people signed up. This year's number of entrants will be capped at 200, but organizers said in a press release that they are hoping to expand the field in coming years.
The Colby triathlon, which will be held Sept. 21, also caps its number of entrants. In this case, registration stop after 150 people. The race begins at the Colby-Hume Center on Messalonskee Lake in Sidney, about 7 miles from the Colby campus. Tom Esponette of Woburn, Mass. has won the event on the men's side two years running.
On Sept. 22, the Common Ground Fairgrounds in Unity hosts the Common Ground Country Fair 5K Foot Race. One feature, according to the race website, is that the course will feature "organically maintained racing grounds."
On Friday, Sept. 27, the 20th annual Rise 'N Shine 5K Road Race will begin at 6:32 a.m. at Kennebec Savings Bank in Augusta. You can register online, at the Kennebec Valley YMCA, or any Kennebec Savings Bank branch. If you register by Sept. 13, you also receive a free long-sleeved Rise 'N Shine T-shirt.
Sept. 28 is a big day for both runners and apple lovers. Manchester has the 10th annual Manchester Apple Festival 5K. Both the race and the festival will be at Lakeside Farm.
That same day, Monmouth has the 2013 Friends of Cumston Hall -- Apple Fest 5K, which begins at Cumston Hall on Maine Street. There were 130 runners in last year's race, with Devon Plourde winning on the men's side and Barbie Clement taking first place among the women.
Also on Sept. 28 is the Our Hearts 5K at the Inland Hospital KMD Road Course off of Kennedy Memorial Drive in Waterville. The Our Hearts Foundation helps bring together people who have suffered from the loss of a child through miscarriage, stillbirth, or the death of an infant. The foundation's funds go toward memorial services and funeral expenses for the families who lost a child before his or her first birthday.
Matt DiFilippo -- 861-9243
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