In a sure sign of spring, the annual Aroostook River Fun Run is being planned for Saturday, May 19.

The event has grown over the years so that it not only includes the traditional fun paddling down the river, but has options for runners, walkers and bikers as well.

The Aroostook River Fun Run began as a partnership between the Presque Isle and Washburn Rotary Clubs to celebrate the tremendous resource that connects the two communities, the Aroostook River.  That sponsorship grew over the years to also include the Caribou Rotary Club, the Kiwanis Club of Presque Isle and The Aroostook Medical Center.

“Last year, we felt it was time to breathe new life into the event and open it up to a whole new group of people: those who might not enjoy the water but rather might prefer to bike, run or walk,” said Floyd Rockholt, Presque Isle Rotarian and one of the organizers of the event.  “We are hoping for even more growth for the event this year.  It is an incredible way to enjoy the region, have fun and get active.”

While each course option starts at a separate location, they all end at the Presque Isle Fish & Game Club.  A free barbecue lunch will be provided at 12:30 p.m. to participants, followed by the presentation of awards and door prizes.  Rides will be provided to participants back to their vehicles, including the transportation of canoes and kayaks.

For those who want to paddle the river, they can canoe or kayak from Thomas Brewer Park in Washburn to the Presque Isle location.  Participants can take part by themselves, with a partner or with their kids.  Awards are provided in several categories.  Please note that life jackets are required for all who are in watercrafts on the river.  Children under 10 must have an adult in the watercraft with them; children 10-13 must have an adult in a nearby watercraft.  Check in or event day registration for paddlers takes place from 8:30-9:30 a.m. at Thomas Brewer Park.

Bikers will depart from the Presque Isle Bus Garage on Parsons Road and travel to Washburn and back, a route of about 20 miles, ending at the PI Fish & Game Club.  While this is a good option for anyone who likes to bike, it is particularly ideal as a training opportunity for anyone taking place in Trek Across Maine or Bike Maine.  Check in or event day registration for bikers takes place from 8:30-9:30 a.m. at the bus garage.

For those who prefer to run or walk, a 5K option is also part of the event.  Check in and event day registration is at the Sargent Family Community Center in Presque Isle from 8:30-9:30 a.m.  Participants will then drive to Machias Savings Bank and park there.  The 5K will start from the bank’s parking lot, following Dyer Street and Parsons Road to the Fish & Game Club.

All events start at 10:00 a.m. with the exception of the walkers, who will get underway at 9:30 a.m.  The cost of registration is $10 for adults and $5 for children under the age of 13.  All children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult.  Free t-shirts will be available while supplies last.  Preregistration is encouraged.  To do so, simply print out the brochure, which includes a registration form, at  Mail the form and your registration fee to the address indicated.

In addition to the benefits of getting outdoor and active, this event supports worthy community causes each year.  This year, all proceeds will be divided evenly between two causes:  local Disabled American Veterans group to help local veterans and the American Lung Association in support of Mel’s Trekkers, a group biking in Trek Across Maine in honor of Melanie Stewart-Ring.

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