Here’s an article written by Barbara Waters, Millinocket Historical Society member, following an interview of runner Darryl Perry on Sunday, Dec. 9.
MILLINOCKET – Millinocket was long known for the top quality paper its mill turned out and the papermakers who possessed the skills to produce it. That, of course, changed dramatically. The mill no longer exists. Yet, today, Millinocket’s belief in itself has re-emerged on the feet of the more than 1,300 long distance runners who brought with them a can-do attitude and a desire to help out a struggling town by supporting local businesses. They did so, too, by donating to the town’s important causes through the now well-known December half marathon and marathon event.
One of those beneficiaries of this generosity of spirit is the Millinocket Historical Society Museum. Last Sunday morning (Dec. 8, 2018) Darryl Perry of Keene, N.H. and a member of the Porcupine Athletic Club of New Hampshire, presented grateful museum curator Trudy Wyman with a check for $500.In the past Perry’s fund raising efforts resulted in monies being donated to other worthy causes. This year, based on Perry’s like for history, he donated the $500 in pledged monies through the CrowdRise fund to the museum.
An experienced runner, Perry has run the New York and Brooklyn marathons and is scheduled to run a race in Berlin, Germany. Perry had never heard of Millinocket, but learned of the event at a New Hampshire pre-race dinner and planned to run after he and others researched the event. (Note – In 2017, Perry ran the full marathon and this year the half marathon. Coincidently the date of the Millinocket race came just 26.2 years after the death of his mother. For that reason he dedicated the Dec. 7, 2017 race to his mother. The length of the full marathon is exactly 26.2).
“I’ll be here next year (2019),” Perry promised, noting he has already booked a hotel room. Perry shared his views with museum volunteers Sunday morning after he and about 30 other runners concluded their stay in Millinocket by running a “Fun Run” for “survivors” along the length of Congress St., ending up at the museum.
This self-employed talk show radio host, trim and slim looking today, once weighed 300 pounds. By drastically changing his diet, he lost more than 125 pounds.
Directing “Fun Run” runners along the Congress St. route was Valerie Silensky of Maryland, who wrapped up her third marathon at the Dec. 8 event in Millinocket. The fact she walked the race and finished last did not bother her. She had special praise for the camaraderie and friendly attitudes of the local people and fellow runners.
While runners were getting ready for the race on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, friends and relatives found plenty to do, including visiting the museum. In all, approximately 30 people visited the museum over the weekend. Visitors came from other areas of Maine, Massachusetts, Georgia, Wisconsin, Virginia, Iowa, Cape Elizabeth and Portland.