This weekend, 150 participants representing over 44 companies from the maritime industry will compete 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 face 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).
In addition to outdoor elements, the event also includes a “Philanthropy Challenge”, asking participants to raise funds and awareness for SCI. To support the event as a whole, or an individual participant or team, please donate to the cause via SCI’s event donation page.
Jennifer Koenig, SCI’s Director of Development, said, “The event is hugely popular and we are delighted with the support we’ve received. These last few days are all-important for competitors, as every dollar raised gives them an advantage in their team ranking before they even set foot on the mountain.”
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.