A Tough Ride for a Good Cause

Nate Maher ’99 and his fellow track alums ready for their annual adventure to support Northeast Passage

Friday, September 9, 2016
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Group of alums gather at the Kanca sign

Nate Maher ’99 and his UNH friends pose during a recent adventure on the Three Notch Century.

What Nate Maher ’99 and a group of his college buddies are about to undertake could be a grueling, painful endeavor: cycling for 100 miles in a single day for a good cause.

They claim they are “older, fatter and more out of shape than normal.” But, as Nate points out, they’re committed, and there’s no option for failure.

Someone should remind them of that when they hit Mile 75.

The alums are taking part in this weekend’s Three Notch Century, a ride where cyclists commit to biking 100 miles in one, two or three days, to raise money for UNH’s Northeast Passage program, which offers individuals with disabilities opportunities to enjoy therapeutic and recreational sports on the same level as their non-disabled peers.

It’s something these former UNH track team members started doing together about five years ago. In addition to Maher, this year’s team includes Shawn Green ’96 and Marc Grenier ’96. Tom Carr ’97, one of the original organizers of Northeast Passage before its merger with UNH’s Recreation Management and Policy Department, is making his way back from Colorado for the ride as well.

Want to Learn More?

Find out more about Nate and his friends’ fundraising for Northeast Passage on their fundraising page

Find out more about Northeast Passage programs and activities on their webpage.

Get details on this year’s Three-Day Century Ride here.

Maher’s team and other one-day riders will start at the North Conway Grand Hotel in North Conway and will ride up and over the Kancamagus Highway, through Franconia Notch, Crawford Notch and back to North Conway.

“It’s a fun way to give something back and stay involved, and it forces me to be active every year,” Maher explains of his training regimen. “If you don’t train relatively rigorously, you’re going to suffer up there.”

It was Carr who first connected Maher with NEP as an undergraduate. “I was friends with Tom, and I would go volunteer with Northeast Passage, play quad rugby with them. Then Tom asked if I would do some of the photography for the Three Notch, and that’s how I learned about it,” he explains.

While he doesn’t have a direct connection to anyone in his family or circle of close friends who has been significantly impacted by a physical injury, Maher says watching the athletes and coaches at Northeast Passage motivates him.

“Physical activity has always been part of what I’m doing, whether it’s track or soccer,” says Nate, who played varsity sports during his high school years in Gilford, N.H., in addition to his track career at UNH. “I’m inspired by the NEP concept: The basic premise is that people who have physical limitations can still find ways to enjoy an active life. Northeast Passage helps those with physical challenges, including disabled veterans, enjoy the things in life that you or I might take for granted.”

Maher graduated from UNH with a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering, now lives in East Kingston with his family, and works as an engineering brand manager for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command based at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. The Three Notch is just one way he stays connected to his alma mater: He’s in touch with some of his professors and has visited campus as a guest speaker in some engineering classes, and he and his track crew also play in the Alumni Golf Tournament each spring.

“I am motivated to do this primarily because I truly enjoyed my time at UNH. And when you see the work that Northeast Passage is doing with people from all walks of life to make their lives better, and you know that money you raise goes directly to the program … it’s really inspiring.”