The 2017 SCI Mountain Challenge

Oct 4, 2017

The 2017 SCI Mountain Challenge: a test of endurance, inspired by mariners

September 2017 saw 150 participants representing over 44 companies from the maritime industry competing against each other in the mountains of western Maine to raise funds for the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI). The biennial SCI Mountain Challenge, now in its third season, provides participants with the opportunity to push their physical limits in support of mariners who face extreme conditions every day to keep our modern way of life afloat. Course times, plus philanthropy dollars raised, contribute to each team’s overall final ranking and awards.

But why a mountain race? SCI believes it’s symbolic. Each working day, mariners push themselves in a race against time and nature to deliver the world’s commerce. Taking place on land and water, the SCI Mountain Challenge acknowledges many of the hardships mariners confront on a daily basis: the elements (facing northern New England’s notoriously unpredictable weather), isolation (teams work self-sufficiently on the mountain and water race courses) and physically demanding work (participants ascend over 3,000 feet each day.)

It’s still possible to donate by visiting

Cargill was the Lead Event Sponsor for the 2017 SCI Mountain Challenge. Other opportunities for supporting the event included sponsorship of one of the Peak Challenges, which this year comprised a Geo-Cache Challenge (sponsored by TOTE), an award for fastest team hiking between two peaks (sponsored by Cargill), and a Cairn-Building Challenge (sponsored by McAllister Towing). Sponsors also underwrote the Event Bags (Liberian Registry), the Fueling Station (Teekay Shipping), and the Finish Line Celebration (Scorpio Bulkers and Scorpio Tankers.)

Jennifer Koenig, SCI’s Director of Development, said, “The event is hugely popular and we are delighted with the support we received: the competitors had a blast and the SCI team is thrilled that it all went so well.”

Congratulations go to team Baere Force 1 from Core Petroleum and Baere Maritime, this year’s overall winners, whose combined Varsity course time plus fundraising total put them in first place. For Junior Varsity, overall first place went to The Schulte Summiteers from Bernhard Schulte. Fastest course completion for Varsity went to Challenge newcomers Green Peak Partners. On the Junior Varsity course, team Screaming Eagles from American Bureau of Shipping came in fastest. To view the complete results listings, visit:

Founded in 1834, SCI is a nonprofit providing valuable services to US mariners and international seafarers, including legal advocacy, training, and pastoral care.

Some examples of these programs include training SCI chaplains in crisis management to deal with the immediate needs of seafarers in extraordinary circumstances. Chaplains also make regular visits to seafarers on board ships, transporting them to local shopping areas or to SCI’s hospitality center. In recent months, SCI has developed resources for suicide awareness and prevention among the maritime community.

Funds raised also aid the Center for Seafarers’ Rights which provides legal aid to seafarers in need. In addition, SCI contributes to the safety of US inland waterway systems, through high quality simulator training at its Centers for Maritime Education.

View photos of the event on SCI's Flickr stream (/seamenschurch). For more information on the 2017 SCI Mountain Challenge, visit You can also follow the event on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.