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Dempsey Challenge 2021 is this weekend

Five things to know about this year’s event

From Dempsey Center

LEWISTON – The Dempsey Challenge presented by Amgen Oncology has been the flagship fundraising weekend in Lewiston for the Dempsey Center every year since 2009.

However, the pandemic forced the massively popular ride, run and walk event to become a virtual-only event for last year.

Almost 150,000 people participated in the virtual event in 2020, completing a months-long activity challenge on Strava, joining Dempsey Center founder Patrick Dempsey on an interactive Zwift ride or choosing their own fundraising challenge. Many missed the in-person camaraderie and spirit provided by the annual event, which raises money for the Dempsey Center.

The 2020 version of the Dempsey Challenge was still able to raise $1.2 million to continue their mission to make life better for people managing the impact of cancer. This includes cancer patients, survivors, care partners, and family members of all ages.

Needless to say, event organizers, Dempsey Center clients, riders, runners, walkers and volunteers alike are gearing up to be able to safely gather again for this year’s events. 

Patrick Dempsey greets runner Jennifer Anne Jordan at a previous Dempsey Challenge event. The local Dempsey Challenge walking events on Saturday will be centered at Simard-Payne Park in Lewiston. (Photo courtesy of Dempsey Center)

It was announced in June that the two-day event would return, Sept. 25 and 26 in Lewiston, as well as a Global Challenge for anyone interested in participating who can’t make it to Maine during the fall.

“There’s this pent-up excitement about being back out and doing something as a community,” Dempsey Center events manager Deneka Deletetsky said.

The event will undergo some modifications to ensure COVID prevention protocols are maintained during the weekend, but many beloved aspects will continue to happen.

Currently, over 1,000 people have registered to participate locally and over 500 are participating Globally.

While the virtual experience got a new name this year – the Global Challenge – Deletetsky said that after the success it saw in 2020, officials hope to continue to tap participants who want to join in the Dempsey Challenge festivities from afar.

Changes

“There will be more time for riders, runners and walkers to start and finish their events to help disperse crowds at start locations and rest stops,” Deletetsky said.

Dempsey Challenge will offer new routes in 2021 and will ask that all participants wear masks outside of physical activities.

The run and walk events presented by Poland Spring Brand 100% Natural Spring Water are back with a 10km run and 5km run and walk, open to all participants. The walk will take place at Simard-Payne Park in Lewiston.

Bicyclists line up at the starting line of a previous Dempsey Challenge event. (Photo courtesy of Dempsey Center)

For 2021, the shortest ride option will be 25 miles, offering beginners and veterans alike a chance to test themselves over the picturesque rural Maine countryside in the Dempsey Challenge Bike Rides presented by Specialized Bicycles.

Distances

Participants have 4 routes available. 25 miles, 50 miles, 65 miles and 100 miles.  Providing plenty of choices for cyclists of all ages.

Runners can choose a 5km or 10km option and walkers can participate in a 5km.

All in-person participants were required to meet the minimum fundraising commitment of $250 by September 15 to participate in the Local (in-person) Dempsey Challenge.

How contributions help

The Dempsey Center is committed to making life better for people managing the impact of cancer. This includes cancer patients, survivors, care partners, and family members of all ages 100% of funds raised during the Dempsey Challenge go to providing cancer support services at no cost to anyone impacted by a cancer diagnosis.

Another silver lining of 2020 was the genesis of Dempsey Connects, offering select support services online to those who cannot travel to the Centers in Lewiston or South Portland–reaching people in all corners of Maine and beyond our borders.

Registration

Challengers had until today to reach the fundraising minimum to participate Locally. However, fundraising will continue through the end of October to help us reach our goal of $1.5 million!

Learn more about this year’s event and register at DempseyChallenge.org.

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