first_img Latest Posts Mike MandellMike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at Bio Hospice volunteers help families navigate grief and find hope – September 12, 2020 Latest posts by Mike Mandell (see all)center_img Ellsworth runners compete in virtual Boston Marathon – September 16, 2020 MPA approves golf, XC, field hockey, soccer; football, volleyball moved to spring – September 10, 2020 ELLSWORTH — What began as an April Fool’s joke is now one of the Down East Family YMCA’s newest traditions.Two years, ago, DEFY Fitness Director Robin Clarke came across a newspaper cartoon that depicted characters about to race one another. One aspect of the cartoon in particular that made her laugh.“It was supposed to be this big race, but you could see the finish line in sight of where they were standing,” Clarke said. “Their bodies were bigger than the distance they had to run. It was really amusing.”Immediately, Clarke had the idea of creating her own version of the race. It would be short and sweet and would be held prior to a traditional 5K race on the weekend of April Fool’s Day.This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textThe distance of choice for the race was incredible short: not even four inches from start to finish. The typical race involves a runner sprinting to the finish line, but this one could be completed with a simple kick of the shoe.Down East Family YMCA Fitness Director Robin Clarke holds up a Couch Potato 0.0003K T-shirt to be distributed at this year’s event. The race distance increases by one ten-thousandth of a kilometer ever year. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY MIKE MANDELLThe race, known as the Couch Potato Road Race, has drawn about 100 participants over the past two years. With the help of Machias Savings Bank and an additional sponsor, St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church, this year’s event has a chance to be the biggest yet.“If there’s one thing we need in this world today, it’s to enjoy life and stop taking ourselves so seriously,” Rev. Johanna-Karen Johannson of St. Dunstan’s said. “This is going to be a silly event, and that’s good for everyone.”“Silly” is the perfect word to describe the race, which grows by an additional one ten-thousandth of a kilometer every year. Whereas any other race would require sneakers and loose-fitting clothes, this one can be done in, well, just about anything.“Last year, [Ellsworth City Planner] Michele Gagnon did it in her work clothes: high heels and everything,” Clarke said. “It’s about as all-inclusive as any race could possibly be.”Because this year’s April Fool’s Day falls on Easter Sunday, the Couch Potato 0.0003K and 5K will be held the following day at DEFY’s James Russell Wiggins Center. The 0.0003K will be held in three individual sessions at 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and noon, and a two-race challenge with both races will be held at 5:30 p.m. Proceeds from all races will benefit DEFY’s fitness department.This year’s 5K will also feature multiple weight classes on both the men’s and women’s sides. Clarke said the incentive for that decision was to help new runners come away with first-place prizes.“At a lot of these races, it’s the same people who win,” Clarke said. “If we can get more people the chance to say, ‘Hey, I won a race,’ that’s always a good thing.”Free T-shirts with check boxes for both the 0.0003K and 5K will be given to the first 100 registrants. Earning the first of those marks will be much easier than checking off the second.“It’s already one of my favorite little traditions at the Y,” Clarke said. “It’s April Fool’s Day, and it’s meant to be a joke. That’s the type of fun we want people to have.”last_img

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