"It feels cold out right now," runner Kris Garcia said. "But when you're running wide open you warm up real quick, and it's for a good cause; the running community's real nice. It's nice to see everybody here."
Spirits were obviously warm, despite the brisk February air Sunday morning, at the third annual Keep ME Warm 5k race. And why get up for a road race in the winter?
"I just wanted to come out and cheer them on because I knew it was going to be a little cold," former runner Karen Girardi smiled. "And it's to help to warm them up and to support the Ellsworth area for keeping people warm in the winter."
$15 entry fees and sizable donations - over $2,000 in all - go to support the Downeast Community Partners Heating Assistance Fund. The name is a mouthful but the service is simple; getting vital heating oil to residents who often have to choose between eating and keeping their families warm.
"You realize that when you're out there in the cold, and then you feel for the runners who are out there in the cold," Girardi reflected. "I think it's a worthy cause and I think it's a great thing to be having in the area."
"For one, it's always good to get out in the community and support a good cause, that's the main thing," runner Brad Eslin said proudly. "But we love to run, and just getting together with a good common purpose just to run and have fun."
As for the race, the first runners made it across the line in about nineteen minutes. But four women were just a bit behind, because they ran with weighted backpacks as they train to become firefighters. They certainly know a thing or two about the importance of a home.