This year the Dempsey Challenge was held again in Lewison at Simard-Payne Memorial Park. On both Saturday and Sunday thousands of people gathered together to run, bike, and volunteer all in the name of The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hop and Healing. $1.3 million dollars and counting were raised this weekend from the participants. It was a magnificent event like it always is. The level of organization is only matched by the amount of tangible positively.

The shirts that everyone wore said ‘Who are you there for?’ Truly, everyone had a reason to be at the Dempsey Challenge. Cancer has effected everyone in some way or another. The team I was apart of certainly reflects this with the name ‘It’s All Relative’. I had my own reasons for biking 100 miles yesterday and so did everyone else.

6 months ago Patrick Dempsey’s mother Amanda Dempsey passed way from ovarian cancer. This is the first Dempsey Challenge since her passing. You can feel the impact of how important this year’s event is. Patrick’s daughter created a special necklace with all proceeds going to The Patrick Dempsey Center for Hope and Healing. The necklace was created to look like two hands making a hug.

While biking, I saw Patrick Dempsey himself biking next to his little son until the first rest stop. The son had a small bike on training wheels and Patrick was helping him the whole time. This gave participants the opportunity to say hi during that first leg as well as pictures at the first rest stop. Patrick then went on to complete the full century and still made his speech at 3:30PM.

Traditionally, Gritty’s brews a special beer called Dempsey Courage Ale specifically for The Dempsey Challenge. This year Gritty’s welcomed Baxter Brewing Company as the second contributing brewery to the event. Baxter’s addition to the event was more than welcomed and gave a variety in styles to the beers that people can enjoy after their run and bike ride. I’m glad the local Lewiston based brewery Baxter was included this year. It’s a nice reflection of beer that the area can produce and builds community.

Don Littlefield of The Maine Brew Bus has started our team a few years ago and I joined last year with the 10K run and 50 mile bike. This year I one-up’d myself and decided to bike the full 100 mile century ride. It was an incredible challenge and I was totally under prepared. Don and the rest of the team separated from me at the 50 mile turn on the course. As soon as that happened there were a few hills that were killer. I’m in the belief that they were to test your grit for the next 70+ miles to the end.

As mentioned above, the course had many hills but the scenery and the down hills/flat parts made up for them.