How do the remote mountains of Western Maine relate to the world of maritime commerce? Over two days last weekend, 41 teams of three put their own comforts and conveniences aside to race to the tops of five mountains. Competitors raised $368,319 (as of 3:00 pm on Saturday, September 21) to support North America’s largest mariners’ service agency in the SCI Mountain Challenge, an adventure race organized by the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI).
Just as mariners struggle every day against the unpredictable forces of nature to deliver the world’s commerce, so competitors in the SCI Mountain Challenge ventured into the remote inland wilderness to test their limits in a challenging race across miles of mountainous terrain. The refrain among several of the racers echoed: “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” and many found a renewed respect for the hard work of the world’s mariners, who travel through dangerous areas far from home for long periods of time.
The race extended over two days and two separate locations. On September 20 (Day One) competitors traveled to the Sugarloaf Massif—home to some of the biggest mountains in the eastern United States—to summit Burnt Mountain and Sugarloaf Mountain. Day 2 revolved around the range of mountains at Sunday River in far western Maine. Race organizers set out two course options, Varsity (taking the toughest route each day) and Junior Varsity (traveling a shorter path with less elevation gain). In total, those completing the full course ascended over 10,000 feet during the two days.
Course completion time comprised 50% of a team’s score, with the other 50% assessed by a team’s philanthropy. Teams sought donations supporting their journeys up until 3:00 pm on Saturday, when race organizers tabulated results.
A friendly competition between real-life business rivals fueled the race between maritime transportation companies (both deep sea and inland river transportation) and other industry-related corporations. The event also strengthened camaraderie—both within the industry and among company teams. One participant from Marine Money said, “It’s all anyone has talked about this morning in my office.”
SCI Mountain Challenge Sponsors
- 2013 Expedition Sponsor: Cargill
- Giveaway Sponsor: Tidewater
- Welcome Dinner Sponsor: ABS
- Peak Sponsors: Intercontinent Chartering Corporation, John F. Dillon & Co., Navios Maritime Holdings and Tidewater
Varsity Course Winners (Combination of Speed & Philanthropy)
- Teekay Corporation with a course time of 9 hours and 36 minutes and total fundraising of $1,657
- DNB Americas Team V with a course time of 10 hours and 11 minutes and total fundraising of $2,765
- Ingram Barge Company Team I with a course time of 10 hours and 7 minutes and total fundraising of $2,400
JV Course Winners (Combination of Speed & Philanthropy)
- Ingram Barge Company Team II with a course time of 9 hours and 40 minutes and total fundraising of $7,834.10
- American Waterways Operators II with a course time of 10 hours and 43 minutes and total fundraising of $8,527.50
- Holland & Knight with a course time 8 hours and 39 minutes and total fundraising of $5,575
Fastest Time on Varsity Course
- DNB Americas II with 9 hours and 10 minutes
- Teekay Corporation with 9 hours and 36 minutes
- DVB with 9 hours and 47 minutes
- Bernhard Schulte Ship Management with $16,710
- American Commercial Lines with $11,140
- Tie between American Waterways Operators Teams 1 & 2 with $8,527.50 each for a total of $17,055
- Arthur McWhinnie (Bernhard Schulte Ship Management) with $9,760
- James Masters (American Commercial Lines) with $7,340
- Louis Claverie (Cooper T. Smith Mooring) with $7,300
SCI also awarded Fastest Time Up Each Sponsored Peak, and one team, Fednav, swept these awards.