At most charity events, organizations invite supporters to spend a relaxing evening with good food, drinks and music, socializing in a climate-controlled setting. From September 19-22, the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI), North America’s largest mariners’ service agency, asks partygoers to toss aside these luxuries for another kind of experience. SCI hopes inspired people will step outside their comfort zone to compete in the SCI Mountain Challenge, a test of strength and fortitude tackling some of the biggest mountains in western Maine.
Each working day, mariners push themselves in a race against time and nature to deliver the world’s commerce. In SCI’s charity event this fall, the Institute asks participants to join them in solidarity. Teams of competitors take to harsh environments to push physical limits, racing up steep summits in a fight to the finish line. Funds raised by team sponsors strengthen SCI’s valuable support services to mariners.
The course outlined in the SCI Mountain Challenge spans 25 miles of rugged terrain in scenic western Maine and 10,000+ feet of ascent. Hikers confront five iconic summits: Burnt Mountain (3,608 ft. / 1,100 m), Sugarloaf Mountain (4,250 ft. / 1,295 m), Spaulding Mountain (4,010 ft. / 1,222 m), Barker Mountain (2,594 ft. / 791 m) and Jordan Mountain (2,653 ft. / 809 m).
Although taking place on land, the tests in the SCI Mountain Challenge parallel many of the hardships mariners confront at sea: the elements (facing northern New England’s notoriously unpredictable weather), isolation (teams work self-sufficiently on the mountain race courses) and physically demanding work (participants ascend 5,000+ feet each day).
In this test of endurance, SCI awards prizes based on cumulative times and philanthropic dollars raised in support of mariners. The Institute also recognizes award winners by category from various sectors of the maritime industry, although SCI opens race participation to all kinds of corporations and individuals. Participants may choose one of two levels of involvement, which vary in physical demands, but both levels represent a serious challenge of strength and ability.
Cargill underwrites the SCI Mountain Challenge as an EXPEDITION sponsor for the event. For other corporate sponsorship opportunities, more information about the event and to register, visit scimountainchallenge.com.