About 1,500 runners compete in the Trail to Ale 10K, and 1,000 take part in Hands Around the Cove.

The Back Cove trail in Portland hosted two major charity events Sunday that attracted thousands despite a rainy morning.

At 9 a.m., 1,500 runners raced around Back Cove in the Trail to Ale 10K, which benefited the nonprofit Portland Trails.

Three hours later, about 1,000 people gathered on the trail to hold hands for Hands Around the Cove, which benefited the United Way of Greater Portland.

The Trail to Ale 10K is in its 17th year and raises about $20,000 for Portland Trails, which maintains 70 miles of trails in Greater Portland.

In the event co-sponsored by the Portland Press Herald and Cigna, runners start and finish at the Eastern Promenade, where beer and pizza await them at the end of the race.

Chris Harmon, 28, was the overall men’s winner, and he didn’t have to travel far to enter the race, as he lives on Munjoy Hill.

Harmon said he’s training for the Maine Marathon, which is on Oct. 2, and he enjoys the speedy Trail to Ale race, which features many downhill and flat sections. Harmon said he broke away from the pack at about the 1-mile mark, and stayed ahead to finish in 33:10.

“It’s a wonderful route, this is for a great cause and any race that has beer and pizza at the end is a great race,” said Harmon, who was the first Maine man to cross the finish line at this year’s Boston Marathon.

The women’s overall winner, Christina Argueta, 27, of New York City, graduated in 2011 from Bowdoin College, where she ran track and cross country. She said she’s getting married in Maine in two weeks, so she decided to run in the race while she’s here preparing for the wedding. Argueta also broke away from the pack at the 1-mile mark and finished in 38:35.

Kara Wooldrik, executive director of Portland Trails and the race coordinator, said most of the runners come from Greater Portland, and it’s a nice way to ease into the fall season after the tourists have left.

“It’s a great big community party after a fun and exciting race,” Wooldrik said.

Read full article here.

Trail to Ale 2016 Photos by Maine Magazine

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