A group of dedicated athletes will celebrate the summer solstice by swimming, running, and then swimming and running some more in Maine’s Moose River Valley. The sport, which is becoming increasingly popular across the world, is called SwimRun, and Unity College Sky Lodge is hosting a qualifying race on June 22 for the 2019 SwimRun National Championship.

“The first time I visited Sky Lodge I immediately thought: this is perfect for SwimRun!” said Jennifer deHart, Unity College Chief Sustainability Officer and an avid SwimRunner. “I have been training and competing in the sport for a few years now and am always on the lookout for places to train. Maine is generally great because of the lakes and trails, so when the College received Sky Lodge and we started to understand the setting, the idea took form. Once we explained what the race is all about – cooperation, challenge, and enjoying natural places – we quickly found many enthusiastic supporters in the Moose River and Jackman area.”

SwimRun involves teams of two who have to make their way together around a point-to-point race course with alternating segments of running and open water swimming. Teams may be female, male, or co-ed, making this a unique competition that emphasizes cooperation and sportsmanship.

“When we received the gift of Sky Lodge last year, we knew it would be a transformative gift for Unity College, not only enhancing the experiential education for our students, but also enabling us to serve new populations in truly innovative ways. This SwimRun event is a perfect example of that,” said Unity College President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury. “I wish all the participants the best of luck in the race, and hope they get to truly take in all that the Moose River Valley region has to offer.”

“The inaugural Summer Solstice SwimRun invites visitors to the Moose River Valley for a new and exciting reason that compliments the adventurous spirit of the region,” said Unity College Sky Lodge Director Rachel Crater. “This event will open up Moose River to a broader segment of outdoor adventurers with a sport that draws international participation; once here we will share our culture and community through an afternoon festival that celebrates outdoor fun and healthy living.”

Participants can choose either a beginner-friendly short course race of approximately 12.2 kilometers or a more challenging long course race of a little more than 26 kilometers. Both of those start and end at Sky Lodge. The long course race is a qualifier for the 2019 SwimRun National Championship in Richmond, VA, on October 19. There will also be fitness activities for families and community members while racers are on the course.