On a gorgeous early fall Sunday morning, 69 runners and walkers took part in the first-ever Bad Little Trail Run with a choice of 2.5 mile and 6 mile course options through DCC’s Machias River Preserve (more on those distances later). The route began in the village of Whitneyville and took participants over the Machias River on a historic railroad bridge, around a 65-acre marsh, through a long-abandoned tree plantation and homestead farm, on portions of the Down East Sunrise Trail, along the shores of the Machias River for nearly 4 miles (on the 6 mile course), and ended back in Whitneyville. These hearty adventurers braved a hornet nest along the trail, skipped across the top of a beaver dam, and navigated countless rocks, roots, and squishy sections to make it across the finish.

Smiles and high-fives were everywhere as the finishers gathered to compare notes and congratulate one another. Right away, I heard a couple of people talking about how far off we were in our estimates of the trail length, so I started asking people with GPS watches how long it was. Unbelievably, the “6 mile” course was somewhere between 6.9 and 7.1 miles, while the “2.5 mile” course was closer to 2.7 miles. I braced myself for some backlash from the runners, but instead, participants were amazed that they pulled off a much longer run than they expected! I chalk that up to the brilliantly sunny but cool weather and the high spirits of everyone involved with the run.

The Bad Little Trail Run was a true community effort. DCC worked very closely with the Sunrise Athletic Club to plan the logistics of the event. Financial sponsorship came from Down East Community Hospital (our lead sponsor, which also provided a First Aid tent) as well as Camden National Bank, Whitney Wreath, and EBS Building Supplies. The Machias River Brewing Company set up a beer tent near the finish line to show off their new seasonal brew, “Fall Run.” Warren Gay, a Machias selectman and neighbor of the Preserve, provided ATV transportation for logistics and emergencies. After the run, participants and spectators walked across town to the Hillgrove Community Hall where the Whitneyville Library Committee served a delicious lunch while the awards were presented. In all, over 30 volunteers helped pull this event off, to the accolades of everyone involved.

If you missed this year’s Bad Little Trail Run, don’t worry. We have every intention of making this an annual event. While we can’t guarantee the crystal clear blue sky and hint of fall colors we enjoyed this year, we promise to have a better idea of just how long the trail is and will do our best to wrangle the hornets under control before the starting gun. Hope to see you next year!