About 550 people ran a marathon over the weekend in hopes of boosting the economy for a people struggling mill town in Maine.  Almost 1,000 has pre-registered!

The Millinocket Marathon and Half Marathon happened Saturday.

The free event is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon. The 13.1-mile route features views of a snow-capped Mount Katahdin.

The Portland Press Herald reports dozens of businesses were planning promotions, including offering cash-and-carry floral bouquets near the finish line. Other events include waffle breakfasts, pasta dinners, carolers and a film festival.

Runners were asked to spend money in Millinocket, a town of about 4,500 residents that's noted for its fishing, whitewater rafting and other outdoor activities.

Gary Allen came up with the idea after reading an article about Maine's mill closures and posted the idea on social media. MILLINOCKET, Maine (AP) — (BDN)