The Island Hopping Adventure through Maine’s Casco Bay Islands

A field of 400 athletes tackled the 5th annual Odyssey SwimRun Casco Bay Islands outside of Portland, Maine on Sunday, August 8th.

All photos by Mark Simmons.

Athletes had to wear masks on the Casco Bay Lines ferry ride from Portland out to the starting islands due to federal transportation guidelines but otherwise it was racing as usual.

60 two-person teams competed in the Long Course event which started on Peaks Island.

Three of the most experienced and fastest swimrun women in the US were in the Long Course field at Casco Bay. Bronwen Price-Dierksen of the mixed team Boston Wet Sox flanked by Team First Date’s Aryn Marsh and Caroline Wolek before getting down to business.

The opening two-mile run on Peaks Island started straight up a steep hill from the ferry dock and included portions of the Peaks Island Land Preserve.

Keith Lundquist and Kanoa King of Team Keith and the Unicorn showed off their running prowess and opened up a sizable lead out of the gates on Peaks. The New Hampshire-based team that won at SwimRun Lake James back in April eventually crossed the line on Chebeague Island as the top Men’s Team on the day.

Long Course athletes completed 22 total miles covering 10 islands. 17 total miles of running and 5 total miles of open water swimming. Marcus Barton fully concentrated putting on his swim cap while negotiating a trail section taking athletes down to the water with his Swaggy Zaddys teammate Lee Greene sitting just off his shoulder.

Marsh follows Wolek’s lead through a narrow singletrack trail as the eventual winning women’s team makes their way down to the first swim leg of the day between Peaks and Cushings islands.

The race start coincided with low tide which meant a longer run across pebbles and through seaweed before starting to swim.

Drew Sapp and Michael Schultz of Crew Racing jockeyed near the front of the field throughout the day, ultimately finishing sixth.

Greg Dierksen of the Boston Wet Sox powers up a pile of slippery seaweed onto House Island while Bronwen tries to keep her footing. The husband and wife duo went on to cross the finish line as the first placed Mixed Team but were also the overall fastest team on the day.

Vincent Ray leads Beer Tent Cowabunga teammate Adrian Cameron over a stretch of seaweed onto House Island. The Austin, Texas based team took fifth on the day in the hotly contested men’s field.

Once onto House Island teams ran across the Fortland property past some newly constructed yurts, camping tents and through the fortress grounds of Fort Scammel with downtown Portland on the skyline in front of them.

Chris Douglas and Chipper Nicodemus swim under the ferry dock at Little Diamond Island, a legal shortcut recommended by Race Director John Stevens, who spends much of his summer on the island. Chris and Chipper are the hosts of the swimrun podcast The Low Tide Boyz.

An athlete navigates the best line to the exit of the longest swim of the day between House and Little Diamond.

Pro triathlete Liz Baugher and fiance Jacob Gilden arrive on Little Diamond Island. The team named Batmans Parents ultimately finished second in the Mixed Team division.

Short Course and Solo races started on Long Island and from this point they shared the course with athletes from the Long Course event.

After completing a half-mile trail run on Little Chebeague, Elizabeth Dewitt and Jason Korsmeyer from the Short Course Mixed Team Otterhound, complete the swim over to Indian Point on Big Chebeague.

Steve Croucher and Caleb Baity from Team Synergy / GU Energy soldier through the longest run of the day, a four-mile section on Chebeague Island.

Solo racer Maria Tupayachi closes in on the finish line at the Chebeague Island Boatyard.

Matthew Kaiser and Adam McNally from Team Jersey Buoys reach the finish line of their Short Course effort, 12 total miles covering four islands in the Casco Bay chain. 10 total miles of running and 2 total miles of open water swimming.

Click here to see full results from Casco Bay’s Long Course, Short Course and Solo events.

Casco Bay along with Odyssey SwimRun’s Orcas Island, SwimRun NC and SwimRun Lake James events are designated as OTILLO Merit Races which earn athletes valuable points to qualify for the OTILLO SwimRun World Championships in 2022.