Gary Allen (runner)

Gary Allen (born 1957)[1] is an American long-distance runner, race director and entrepreneur. He is the founder and director of the Mount Desert Island Marathon, and was the co-founder and director of the Great Cranberry Island 50K Ultra Marathon. He is the founder and race director of the Millinocket Marathon & Half.

Gary Allen
Gary Allen Runner 2012.jpg
Born1957 (age 63–64)
OccupationFounder & director,
Mount Desert Island Marathon
Co-founder & director,
Great Cranberry Island 50K Ultra Marathon
Founder & director,
Millinocket Marathon
Years active1972–present
Spouse(s)Lisa Hall
WebsiteOfficial website

Early life and educationEdit

Allen was born in Atwater, California, and raised on Great Cranberry Island, a small, two-mile long island off the coast of Maine with a year-round population of under 40.[1][2][3] A twelfth generation native of the island, his ancestors first settled there in the 1650s.[4] He started running when he was 13,[5] and was inspired to seriously pursue the sport after watching Frank Shorter win the marathon gold medal at the 1972 Munich Olympics.[6]


As runnerEdit

Allen's first sub-3-hour marathon was at the Paul Bunyan Marathon in Bangor, Maine, on July 15, 1978, with a time of 2:52:41.[6] He achieved his personal best time of 2:39:30 in 1984.[3] In 2003, Allen broke the US Track and Field American masters long distance track running record for men ages 45–49, completing 20 miles in 2:08:41, besting the previous record of 2:09:14, set by Ted Corbitt in 1966.[7]

In 2004, Allen began an annual tradition of running the route of the Boston Marathon on New Year's Day.[3] In 2012, in honor of the Bangor Labor Day Road Race's 50th anniversary, Allen arrived prior to the race and ran the five-mile loop nine times before running the actual race, for a total of 50 miles, one for each year of the event's history.[8] When the 2012 New York City Marathon was canceled due to Superstorm Sandy, Allen went to the site and ran the course anyway.[8]

Allen has completed several "journey runs". In the winter of 2013, he ran from atop Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park in Maine to Washington, DC, for President Barack Obama's second inauguration. He left on January 7, 2013, and completed the 705-mile run on January 21, reaching the Capitol that evening after averaging 50 miles per day.[9][10][11] The run raised $20,000 for the American Cancer Society, Wounded Warrior Project and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.[12][13] In 2014, Allen completed a 500-mile run from Maine to Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, raising $20,000. The run started on January 24, 2014, and concluded on February 2, for an average of 50 miles per day.[1][13][14]

According to the Association of Road Racing Statisticians, in 2010 Allen became one of 20 runners to have run a sub-3-hour marathon in each of the past five decades. He ran a 2:52 at the 1978 Paul Bunyan Marathon and a 2:51 at the Snickers Marathon in Albany, Georgia, in 2010.[3] When he ran a sub-3 hour marathon at the Tacoma City Marathon in Washington in May 2012, it increased the span between his first and most recent sub 3-hour marathon to 33 years and 289 days, the eighth-longest split of its kind in the US, according to the Association of Road Racing Statisticians.[6] As of March 2016, Allen is one of 34 people in the world to have run a marathon in under 3 hours in each of the past five decades.[13] When Allen ran the Boston Marathon in April 2016, it was the 100th marathon of his life,[13] and the 24th time he has completed the Boston Marathon.[2] He has completed the New York City Marathon 17 times.[8] Through 2015, he has run more than 110,000 miles lifetime,[15] and finished 68 sub-3 hour marathons in five decades.[12]

As race directorEdit

From 1978 to 2004, Allen and his older brother Larry organized a 5K run, which had 350 participants at its peak. Winner prizes included paintings donated by local artists, and autographed shoes of world-class runners like Joan Benoit Samuelson and Marty Liquori.[12] Allen founded the annual Mount Desert Island Marathon in 2002.[6] It was named race of the year by New England Runner magazine in 2015.[13] In 2007, he co-founded the Great Cranberry Island 50K Ultra Marathon, a 50-kilometer race that involves running back and forth on Great Cranberry Island's two-mile-long main road, the lone road on the island. The race took place annually until 2013, growing from 13 runners its first year to 192 runners by 2013.[12] In 2013, the race was the official Road Runners Club of America national championship for 50 kilometers.[10] It was named the 2013 Road Runners Club of America Road Race of the Year.[16]

Allen is the co-founder of Crow Athletics running club.[15] He also organizes the annual Millinocket Marathon, a free race in Millinocket, Maine, that debuted in December 2015 to support local businesses and help the community's economy after the closing of the Great Northern Paper Company mill, which was once the largest paper mill in the world.[17]

Runner's World magazine has called Allen "one of running's most creative minds and race directors."[12]

Personal lifeEdit

Allen and his second wife, Lisa Hall, live on Mount Desert Island in Maine. They have two children.[10]


  1. ^ a b c Ray Charbonneau, "Man running from Maine to Super Bowl to benefit Wounded Warriors,", January 28, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Doug Williams, "Parkinson's seems to disappear when Michael Westphal runs," ESPN, April 15, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d Joe Wotjas, "Gary Allen Loves Boston So He Runs it Twice Each Year," Runner's World, March 31, 2011.
  4. ^ "Gary Allen: Q+A," Maine., July 2012.
  5. ^ Peter Schworm, "A running start to 2009," Boston Globe, January 1, 2009.
  6. ^ a b c d Ernie Clark, "Gary Allen's marathon motivation marked by decades of endurance," Bangor Daily News, May 25, 2012.
  7. ^ Craig Crosby, "Gary Allen Breaks 47-Year-Old Record at 24-Hour MDI Relay," The Ellsworth American, July 17, 2003.
  8. ^ a b c Ernie Clark, "Charity, competition fuel MDI Marathon founder's love of long distances," Bangor Daily News, December 16, 2013.
  9. ^ Martin Weil and Maggie Fazeli Fard, [1] Washington Post, January 21, 2013.
  10. ^ a b c Jason Mann, "The Art of Perpetual Motion," Island Journal, June 2, 2014.
  11. ^ Kevin Miller, "Maine runner on 700-mile charity trek: 'This is nuts'," Portland Press Herald, January 22, 2013.
  12. ^ a b c d e Jennifer Van Allen, "Great Cranberry Island 50K," Runner's World, November 22, 2013.
  13. ^ a b c d e Lance Bergeson, "Mile posts: Marathon master Gary Allen a determined soul," Des Moines Register, March 5, 2016.
  14. ^ Ariel Black, "Man Running from Maine to Super Bowl, Supporting Wounded Warriors," Action Hub, January 29, 2014.
  15. ^ a b Mae Steele, "No Words to Suffice: Gary Allen,", January 29, 2016.
  16. ^ "RRCA Announces Annual National Running Award Recipients,", March 10, 2014.
  17. ^ Jon Marcus, "In a Struggling Community, Runners Come to Help," Runner's World, December 24, 2015.

External linksEdit