Through hell, high-water, and tornado watches, the annual Tri for a Cure to benefit Maine Cancer Foundation happened yesterday in South Portland, Maine.

That's not what this is about, though. What I will say about the Tri, though, is it reinforces what I hope to drive home in this article: that the heart and soul of Mainers -- especially Maine women -- are forever unmatched.

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Townsquare Media

Tri for a Cure Expo Day

Before some of the strongest feet hit the pavement and some of the strongest arms and legs treaded water yesterday (Note: Toward the beginning of yesterday's Tri, it was decided for the participants' safety to eliminate the bike portion of the Tri due to the weather), Expo Day happened at SMCC in South Portland.

Vendors of all types were present in the parking lot on Saturday for the Tri's Expo Day, from banks to gyms, and body recovery businesses to food trucks -- all in the name of giving racers one last boost before the big day.

This past Saturday's Expo Day was the first I've ever personally been a part of, and it was just so impactful that I can't see myself not wanting to be there to support in some way, shape, or form every year from here on out.

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Townsquare Media

I honestly had no idea what to expect, but Expo Day is just so much more than participants picking up their race gear, parking their bikes, and getting one last look at the course they'll go ahead and tackle in the next 24 hours.

I've seen plenty of events full of people walking around and talking to different vendors, but this one was just different; it was truly awe-inspiring and an absolute "calm before the storm" feeling.

This community of women (along with the men and children in their lives who support them) walked around, greeting each other. Greeting vendors. Some ran across parking lot BB at SMCC embracing each other as if they haven't seen each other in ages. All with one thing in common:

Being superheroes.

No exaggeration. These women spent days, weeks, and months fundraising for family members, friends, and strangers who are in the middle of the battle of their lives to help them not only survive but eventually thrive following said battle.

And as if that isn't enough -- raising literal hundreds and thousands of dollars individually -- there they stood at Expo Day, 24 hours away from taking one step, one stroke, and one pedal in support of everyone fighting their battle.

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Townsquare Media

So many times on Saturday, either after interacting with one of them or even just sitting back observing them all walking around and interacting, I'd just be amazed by the fact that these women were about to embark on something incredible -- and for most, it wasn't their first time.

But that's when I'd have to catch myself and remind myself that they already had done something incredible. Because collectively, these ladies raised almost $2 million for Maine Cancer Foundation. And this was all a day before they'd literally run and swim in tornado watch weather.

If you've never been to an Expo Day for Tri for a Cure, show up to Expo Day 2024. If nothing else, you can experience how being surrounded by loads of inspirational, strong women all gathered for good, truly is a special thing. It couldn't define the heart and soul of Maine more.

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