Both Clifford Park and the 5k series we run there come with their own great history. Read a little about each before you come and join us on race day!
The Clifford Park 5k was started in 2016 by Andrew and Sean of Run207 based out of Saco. The two are constantly working with local events in the area but wondered, ‘why are there so few high quality trail races in Southern Maine?’ They began developing a plan in accordance with the Friends of Clifford Park. The goal was to create a course entirely on the trails of the park. They thought the course should be challenging, but still fun for runners of all skill levels.
Andrew and Sean ran through the park day after day, enduring countless miles. Eventually, they had come up with the perfect route. They began reaching out to all the local runners they knew to come and test the course, and got great reviews! A few months later they hosted the first annual Clifford Park 5k and had a great success. A small race, with only 21 finishers its first year, showed promising growth for the event in the future.
When Clifford Park was dedicated in 1896, it featured 86 acres of undeveloped land. It also boasted a prominent main gate with two 6-foot stone pillars and an ornate wrought iron archway with the park’s name on it.
The land and its gates were a gift to the City of Biddeford from the Clifford Family. The Clifford family’s sole request was that there always be signage on the property identifying the park in their memory.
Located on Pool Street, Clifford Park once was a popular spot for generations of mill laborers, whose families gathered there on weekends following a 60-hour work week.
In its heyday (1890s-1920s), the park boasted a performance grandstand and at least two ballparks. But, by 1940, the venue’s popularity started to wane, its deteriorating attractions were removed and, eventually, the space was reclaimed by the natural landscape.