The Great Run
Great Cranberry Island (GCI) has a long and storied history of producing runners and of supporting and creating great running events. In the 70s and 80s. The GCI 5K was named one of the top 25 races in the US by Runner's World Magazine. Per capita, GCI has arguably had more runners qualify and compete in the Boston Marathon than from any town or city on earth. Many who run here speak of an almost palatable energy in the air, similar to what they describe at Eugene Oregon's famed Hayward Field, but we like to say it's in the water!
The Great Run is co-directed by Gary Allen and Mary Ropp, who are the dreamers behind the award-winning races like the Mount Desert Island Marathon and legendary Great Cranberry Island 50K Ultra Marathon, as well as the founders of Maine's first all night team relay, the Down East Sunrise Trail Relay. All of these events are hosted by Crow Athletics.
Gary's family roots on Great Cranberry Island go back to the first settlers:
"I have run most of my life on a small offshore island where the main road is only two miles long. I estimate I have covered around 75,000 miles on that single piece of broken road. When you have absolutely no option of running a different or varied loop the only decision is whether you will run or not, and how far you will go. Running out on Great Cranberry made me at times feel like a caged lion and when I got out into the world to run a race it felt easy simply because I felt free."
Mary has been running for joy since childhood. She has finished three NYC Marathons, and many shorter distance events. Her passion for the for the sport extends far beyond the roads where her Type-A Personality thrives creating informative and thoughtful websites, inspiring graphic designs, and covering all the many small details that add up on race day to create and execute a successful event. Mary's roots in this line of work go all the way back to the 1956 Melbourne Olympics where her grandfather, H.T. Mill, was a principal member of the host organizing committee.