Gary Allen is a lifelong marathon runner from Great Cranberry Island. He started out participating in track and Cross County in high school and moved on to road races. Eventually Gary hosted road races, including the well-regarded Mount Desert Island Marathon, and in the last 15 years has been instrumental in organizing a number of long distance ultras to raise funds for several non-profits including the American Cancer Society and the Wounded Warrior Project.

When mills in Millinocket and East Millinocket closed, Gary recognized the need to help boost community spirit and create excitement in the Katahdin Region. He put together the winter Millinocket Marathon with the idea that there was no entrance fee, but participants were encouraged to spend their money at Katahdin Region stores. The marathon is looking forward to its third year and is a sanctioned Boston Marathon qualifier.

Gail Fanjoy, president of the Katahdin Area Chamber of Commerce, said Gary “has proven he cares deeply about Millinocket and the surrounding communities… He is a champion of hope.”