From September 24-27, 2015, the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) sponsors a race that mirrors the one mariners run every day as they make deliveries of precious cargo safely and on time. The SCI Mountain Challenge puts teams of three persons on the mountains of Maine to navigate unfamiliar paths, changeable weather and difficult routes. Their efforts do not just pay “lip service” to the struggles mariners face, but competitors’ sweat actually benefits mariners, raising funds to support North America’s largest mariners’ service agency, SCI.
The 2015 event follows on the success of the inaugural SCI Mountain Challenge in 2013, in which over 120 competitors hiked and climbed their way over miles of rugged and steep terrain. After the event two years ago, an enthusiastic participant remarked, “The toughness and drive it took to get through … it really pushed a person physically and mentally.” The drive and determination of those competitors paid off, however. The event raised over $375,000 for SCI’s mariner support services.
All proceeds from the SCI Mountain Challenge directly benefit the mariners SCI serves through programs like ship visiting and hospitality, legal advocacy, and maritime education. Each team pays a registration fee and takes responsibility for a combined philanthropic fundraising goal, an important element of the competition and part of the basis by which SCI awards prizes. Last year’s top fundraiser, the team from Bernhard Schulte Ship Management, raised an impressive $16,710.
This year’s SCI Mountain Challenge offers an opportunity for two levels of course completion: Varsity and Junior Varsity. The entire two-day Varsity Course covers 24 miles with 9,208 feet of vertical climb, while the Junior Varsity Course measures in at a total of 12 miles with 5,108 feet of vertical climb. Racers climb seven mountain summits on the route for the Varsity Course, and JV Course competitors tackle four. Both levels present a serious challenge to participants.
Registration for the 2015 SCI Mountain Challenge is now open. The website scimountainchallenge.com contains information about participation, sponsorships, and rules and regulations for the 2015 Mountain Challenge. Look for live race coverage during the event.