Thanks to all the runners and volunteers who showed up to this race when the temperature at the start was around 11 degrees!
Race photos, courtesy of David Colby Young @ Maine Running Photos, can be found at this link:
2022 CMS Jan Thaw 4.5 Miler Race Photos
All photos provided by David Colby Young / Maine Running Photos
We recently asked club members what their greatest running accomplishments of 2021 were. Here's what our club members accomplished this past year:
Susan Brooks: "My greatest running achievement is every day that I lace up my shoes and get out the door. This year has been particularly challenging as I’m coming to terms with ever-slowing runs and races and the need for more time to recover. After fifty (50!) plus years of running I’m learning to cross train with a goal of more rounded fitness that will keep me healthy and injury free as I run on into each decade. It’s still one run at a time and each is an achievement. I did finish 3rd in my age group at the Millinocket Half (290/939 overall)"
Thanks to all of the Striders who sent us their running achievements from this past year. And thanks to all of the Central Maine Striders members, both in this article and not, for making 2021 another great year for the club. We're looking forward to running into the new year with all of you!
by Ryan Goebel
The Millinocket Marathon might not be Maine's fastest or most competitive marathon, but it's probably the most famous. Race director Gary Allen started the race in 2015 as a way to help support a Maine community that has struggled since the closing of its mills. Inspired by the ethos of the Burning Man Festival, Allen came up with the innovative idea to make the marathon free to all runners, but with the tacit agreement that they spend money at the shops, restaurants, and hotels in Millinocket and the surrounding area. The inaugural 2015 race, which was only promoted through Facebook, attracted 6 finishers in the full marathon and 42 in the half marathon. Runner's World wrote an article about the first year's race, and the race has continued to grow and attract runners from around the country since then.
Back in 2015, I wasn't living in Maine and had never heard of Millinocket, but I remember seeing that Runner's World article and being intrigued about running this free marathon in a strange, exotic locale known as Millinocket. Lo and behold, a couple years later I found myself moving to Maine. I signed up for the half marathon that year, because a full marathon in the winter in Maine is just too crazy (right?), but my job at the time had other plans and decided to send me out of state that weekend so I couldn't run it. I ended up running the Santa Hustle Half Marathon in Portland the weekend before instead. Although it was cold, it wasn't Millinocket cold. Also, running in the area around the Maine Mall wasn't near as scenic nor fun as running the Golden Road in Millinocket.
I signed up for the Millinocket Half again in 2018, because a full marathon in the winter in Maine is just too crazy (right???) and I was running the New York City Marathon that November. Well, my overconfidence in how many races I could run in one year eventually caught up with me. About a month before New York, I started feeling some pain in my hip/groin area. I still ran the New York Marathon, but had to pull out of the Millinocket Half.
In 2019, I didn't even sign up for Millinocket because I was still injured.
In 2020, I was still struggling to recover and get back into shape from that injury. Also, there was a pandemic raging across the world with no vaccines, so the Millinocket Marathon and Half was cancelled.
Enter 2021. I was slowly getting back to running on a regular basis again. Covid vaccines had entered the world. Although I had a series of freak non-running injuries over the summer, myself and the world were slowly returning to racing. I ran in a few of the Quarry Road summer races and the Doc & Mardie 5k. I wasn't running fast, but I was running. I signed up for the Mount Desert Island Marathon as my "big comeback goal race", but then it was cancelled in early September due to concerns regarding the strained medical and emergency services in the area. I immediately signed up for the Millinocket Marathon.... the FULL marathon. As previously stated, running a full marathon in northern Maine in December is crazy. However, with my return to racing, I really, really wanted to finish a marathon before the year ended. I no longer cared about how cold it was going to be or how challenging the course was going to be. For the first time when running a marathon, I wasn't going to care so much about what my finish time was going to be, rather just that I finished.
Fast forward to December. I'm still not injured and my training really started clicking in the last month or two before the marathon. I'm ready. I have no idea what my goal marathon pace is, but I'm ready.
Standing at the start line while the national anthem was being sung, the cold (and nerves) started getting to me and I began shivering. Once the cannon went off to signal the start, I ran out with the opening pack trying to warm my body up. My fingers were especially cold and my toes were numb, but I was excited to be back to running a marathon. Relatively quickly, I fell into roughly 12th place. In my mind, I was running a slightly faster pace than I felt like I should be running, but I just wanted my body to warm up. It took close to five miles until I could fully feel my toes.
Normally in a marathon, you don't have to constantly think about where your feet are landing and what the footing is like; however, the Golden Road is effectively frozen dirt and an ice storm went through the area two nights before the marathon. As veteran Strider and Millinocket runner Julie Millard pointed out, "It was the first time I’ve ever raced in Yak Tracks. The conditions on the Golden Road were either the worst I had experienced or it just got inside my head. I was pretty freaked out."
Despite the frozen toes and icier-than-normal road conditions, running up the Golden Road that first time is pretty magical. There's the beautiful view of snow-covered Mount Katahdin and a surprisingly large number of spectators and volunteer water stops along the way.
By the time I got to the turn off the Golden Road just after Mile 6, the magic was starting to wear off. Having already climbed over 500 feet, I was ready for the downhill part of the course. Also, by this point, I was solidly alone in the race. The nearest runners ahead and behind me were at least 30 seconds in either direction. Heading back towards town on Millinocket Road, it was great to be back on pavement, even if there were still a lot of icy patches. However, there were suddenly way less spectators and water stations. It was lonely out there and although this section of the course is "net downhill," there are still significant uphill portions.
Soon before town, I was caught by surprise when the first of the half marathoners passed me (they had started ten minutes after the full marathon start). I didn't try to keep up with him or the next couple half marathoners that passed, but was nice to have someone up ahead that I could see. On one of the hills closest to town, my left calf muscle started tightening up. "Oh no, I'm not even half way," I thought to myself. The calf muscle tightness went away almost as quickly as it had begun, but the thought of it stayed in the back of my mind. I was briefly distracted from those thoughts as I ran down Penobscot Avenue through the center of town. I did my best to soak up the energy of the cheering spectators along the street.
As I approached the end of the Golden Road, I passed a full marathoner for the first time since the opening miles. This gave me a huge energy boost and I passed another as we ran under the inflatable archway that the Army National Guard volunteers had set up at the top of the Golden Road. Neither of those guys ever caught back up with me.
Back on pavement, I lost count of how many body parts were hurting. I couldn't wait for the race to be finished, but the only way for it to be finished was to keep running. Passing half marathoners who had obviously taken advantage of the free shots of Fireball along the way provided me with brief moments of needed entertainment. As I passed, one of them said, "Dude! Nice ice beard!" Hadn't this guy ever seen a bearded guy get a frosted beard while running in the winter? Eventually, I'd realize that my "ice beard" wasn't your standard frost beard.
By Mile 25, I just wanted the marathon to be over. This point in a marathon has always been painful, but I've never wanted one to end so badly as I did when I ran down the short, but very steep hill just before Mile 26.
Someone (possibly Martha Nadeau) yelled "Go Striders!" to me a couple blocks before the finish. I gave it everything I had going towards the finish line.
If you ever decide to run Millinocket (which I recommend that you do), don't forget that there's also the Crankle 2k the night before (where participants are encouraged to run in costume). I couldn't make it this year since I had to attend an online class at the same time, but I've heard from Julie Millard, Martha Nadeau, and others that it's a lot of fun. Also, shopping at the craft fair and all of the businesses in town before and after the race is well worth it.
Millinocket isn't the easiest marathon or half marathon, but it is perhaps the most magical. After all, Millinocket has the nickname of "The Magic City."
Sorry if we missed any other Striders in the results. Full results for all runners are found here.
Report by Ryan Goebel with photos by Ron Peck.
On the first Saturday in November, forty-five runners and several walkers showed up to the Kennebec Valley YMCA to run the Save Your Breath 5k. The race, which follows the Kennebec Rail Trail to Gardiner and back, is an annual fundraiser for the Free ME From Lung Cancer nonprofit organization, which is headed up by our club secretary Deb Violette.
Full race results can be found here.
by Amy Stabins
TUCARD- Maine’s most Terrifically (& Unnecessarily) Complicated Adventure Race and Duathalon. The race announcement came across my Strider’s FaceBook feed late last December and something inspired me to click through to see what they meant by ‘complicated’- and I was not disappointed. In that post, interested participants were provided with a map that had the ‘Shadow of the Sparkle Pony’ laid across it, and told that the race would take place within that shadowed area- there is no official route. The rules were this- racers must use at least two forms of transportation, and time adjustments would be made based on the mode chosen and whether or not the racers were on pavement or gravel/trail. In the months leading up to the race, GPS coordinates for the start and stop points would be released. And shortly before race day the GPS coordinates for three way points would be sent out.
I am not super competitive, but I enjoy a challenge. TUCARD is a race, a puzzle, and a scavenger hunt all in one. My first challenge was getting to know the area- I had never been to that part of Maine before. In the months leading up to the race I made five trips up to Orono and ran or biked most of the conservation areas and pocket parks within the Pony’s shadow. Thirteen hours before the start time I received the email with the way points, and one additional rule- The boglands running through the race area were designated The Bog of Despair. Every minute spent in the BOD would add ten minutes to the official time. I planned out what seemed like the logical course to follow, loaded up the bike, and headed up to the race.
At the starting line it quickly became apparent either my fellow racers were planning some epically misguided routes, or that I had missed scouting some crucial areas. It was too late to re-think my plan, so I forged ahead. My route took me across the BOD three times…
I arrived at the finish line in 1 hour 29 minutes, more or less in the middle of the pack. However, my adjusted time was 9 hours and 20 minutes, almost 5 hours behind the next ‘slowest’ racer! Crossing the BOD three times really hurt me. And I won the title of ‘Lost Dog’, the racer who covers the most miles (10.32)!
This might have been the most fun I’ve ever had racing- I can’t wait for next year!
Check out the TUCARD website for more information-
Thank you to all of the runners, volunteers, and sponsors who made the 2nd annual Central Maine Striders Fall Classic 10k a success!
There are sooo many great photos from the race, but unfortunately we can't post them all here. Please check out more photos from our race photographers:
David Colby Young @ Maine Running Photos
Central Maine Striders Alicia MacLeay and Jim Kirby
Special thanks to Ryan Goebel, Kate Scott, and Tom McGuire for organizing the race; Ryan Goebel and Ron Peck for marking and measuring the course; Tom McGuire and Ron Paquette for setting up the course on the morning of the race, DJ Pohlmann and Lynda McGuire for handling race day registration and lending expertise to the all important task of assembling the race results; Tom McGuire for recruiting and organizing the team of volunteers; Ian Hepburn, Ron Paquette, and Kate Scott for greeting runners, and checking them in; newcomer Jim Kirby for getting involved and helping with timing and taking some amazing photos; Beth Bridger, Shannon Delaney, Ian Hepburn, Alicia MacLeay, John Manzer, Amy Stabins, and Deb Violette for being out on the course and keeping the runners safe; Alicia McLeay for doing double duty and taking photos while directing runners on the course; Shannon Delaney for taking up the back of the pack on her bicycle; Julie Millard for arranging for the gorgeous pottery mugs for the winners; Julie Millard for arranging and donating flowers as additional lucky draw prizes; Beth Bridger for assisting with the lucky draw; Rob Krickus for keeping the club's and the race's finances in line; David Colby Young of Maine Running Photos for providing great photos of all of the runners at this event and so many other running events around the state; and Ryan Goebel for designing the t-shirts, securing donations, and MC'ing the event.
by Drew McCormick
-Waking up the morning of the 16th Annual Doc and Mardie Brown 5K, as many of the participants could attest, was a strange morning weather wise. It looked as if it was going to be cool but it wasn't really (mid 70's) and it was as humid as ever. If us Mainers weren't already used to it, the weather may have been downright debilitating. There with that out of the way, on to the race!
Arriving at the Waterville Alfond Youth Center was a little different due to the construction going on in the parking lot, but there was still plenty of room. I parked and got my race bib from some very friendly volunteers, and saw the race director Patrick Guerette zooming around! I informed him I was ecstatic that he would not be able to run this race, and that it gave me a chance for the age bracket win! I then headed right over to the Central Maine Striders tent for some pre-race nerve talk with Kate, Ron, Ryan and Julie which helped as always, I was then off for some warm up miles. There were racers warming up along North Street and everyone was friendly saying good morning to one another. Just an all around great feel/vibe to the air.
First up was the kids fun run which had an incredible turn out this year and was fun as advertised! I was lucky enough to help a little bit during the race by standing on the last turn directing the kids to the finish. It was a blast seeing the expressions and determination on the kids faces as they rounded the corner for the finish line! Directly after the fun run was the main event...the 5K!
Runners started lining up along the marked area for the race start on North Street headed toward Colby College as always, however road construction prohibited pedestrians from passing along the normal route. Patrick, the fearless race director (mentioned earlier), mastered the art of the pivot and laid out a new dynamic course which incorporated the trail along the Messalonskee stream behind the Alfond Youth Center. As the racers were lining up at the start the mood was light and jovial, Patrick said a few words thanking the sponsors, volunteers and participants then we were off!
Ron Peck and I charged out head-to-head as we bobbed and weaved through the pack from North Street onto the trail. The low light level in the trail due to the cloud cover made it a little extra difficult to navigate through the roots and frost heaves in the pavement but it was a neat change to the sudden and extended uphill start of the normal 5K race route.
Once we hit the road the race seemed to kick up a notch in speed, (Ron pulled ahead!) there is something about being in the open air and out of the tree cover. A fairly quick uphill on Edgemont Ave, then a long turning downhill from West St. onto Gilman St. made up the route until you hit the N Riverside Drive neighborhood where you made a short uphill loop. Just before the entrance to the neighborhood is where I made my glorious passes of Connor Pellerin and Ron Peck!
The plan was then to boogie back to the Alfond Youth Center by way of North street where you made a glorious finish under the big blow up finish line arch! I am happy to say the plan worked and I came in 2nd place with an official time of 18:57! After I caught my breath for a few I was able to socialize again and cheer on friends and other fellow participants.
The event flowed very smoothly with awards being distributed immediately after the race. The amount of prizes this year was spectacular with there being about 50 participants, a lot were reaping the benefits of their hard work! All in all this is a fantastic race regardless of the course layout. It has a real "hometown" feel as one of the racers, Andrew Catalina, said to me and that's why I personally like it so much. I hope this race continues to grow, if you were on the fence about racing this event in the past have no fear this is a fantastic event that skips all the "tude" and focuses on the FUN! See you at the 17th Annual Doc and Mardie Brown 5K! (PS: Don't forget all Striders get a discount on the race fees!)
(Full results from the 2021 Doc & Mardie 5k can be found here: https://my.raceresult.com/177915/results)
By Brian and Cecilia Morin
The Central Maine Striders competed in the 2021 rendition of the Down East Sunrise Trail Relay between Friday, July 23 and Saturday, July 24. Seven members of the team assembled at 5:30PM in a Colby College parking lot and waited thirty minutes for the eighth runner (who shall not be named) to arrive.
The team arrived at Pat’s Pizza in Ellsworth around 7:30PM. They ordered salads, calzones, sandwiches, and pizzas all while trying to maximize their carbohydrate consumption. The team of four males and four females with a 37-year age span between the youngest and oldest runners drove to the start of the relay. These eight fully-vaccinated runners were ready to race after a long year of virtual competitions. However, they made the surprising discovery that they were the only team slated to start at 10:30PM. Clearly, they were in a class of their own.
After mumbling about an insufficient warm-up, Brian Morin started the first leg of the relay. Brian ran into the wilderness alone with only his rainbow light-up reflective vest for company. Ron, Julie, and Sapan stumbled upon suspicious late night activity in some blueberry fields while waiting for Brian. Ron Peck powered through the next leg, followed by Sapan Bhatt. Sapan’s bright polished teeth illuminated the darkness like an overhead dental light.
Despite voicing fears of running alone in the wilderness without cell phone coverage, Tracey Cote decimated her first leg and tagged her husband Pat to continue the relay. Cecilia Morin, the next runner, raced through the darkness to outrun the rustling in the bushes. Julie Millard, the team captain without whom none of this would be possible, sped through the early morning.
Tiana Thomas, with her engagement ring as a beacon of light, ran into the pastel colors of the morning sunrise that emerged after her approximately 4:00AM start time. The team waited for Tiana, drinking French roast coffee and eating snacks supplied by the one and only Sapan. Tracey ran after Tiana, then handed the relay off to Julie for her second leg. These Central Maine Striders caught members of different teams as the sun rose in the sky.
Pat ran like a D1 Nordic skier with eligibility left, lightening his load by expelling the remainder of his calzone with a mile to go. Sapan followed, racing over 10 miles at the speed of light with the thought of breakfast occupying his mind. The team relaxed in Dennysville while consuming a mélange of bacon, eggs, and pancakes (depending on each runner’s dietary restrictions).
Cecilia ran after Sapan, passing four people as the temperature increased. Tiana continued the relay for 3.6 miles. Somehow Cecilia and Tiana averaged around 7:22 miles for both of their legs. As future bride (Tiana) and maid of honor (Cecilia), they were definitely on the same page.
Ron ran next, braving the blistering heat for 7.9 brutal miles and showing his knowledge of the biological human capacity for speed. Last but not least, Brian anchored the team. He ran on the newly paved road, from which tendrils of steam were emanating. The team gave him water and emotional support before parking in downtown Eastport. Brian grabbed the baton from Cecilia with a couple hundred meters to go. The seven other members attempted to run at Brian’s pace to complete the relay as a team, but six of them were too sore and took a shortcut near the finish line. They watched Brian and his fellow dentist Sapan run together to the finish line before joining them, demolishing their predicted relay time and earning those high quality race medals.
Overall, the team exceeded their expectations and cultivated a great deal of fun together.
The team finished eighth out of 44 teams, but was the first team with an equal number of males and females.
Go Central Maine Striders!
A note from Mark Fisher about this year's MWRR:
Just a quick note back to you regarding the weekend at Mt. Washington. A great weekend for our runners and volunteers. It seems that a lot of teams fell short on the volunteer end and us having our runners all matched with volunteers was not the norm. We had a chance to chat with Tom the race director and he was very appreciative of our efforts.
The race was different with a new starting direction, time trial start and splitting the group up into 2 races (Women on Saturday, Men on Sunday). The new starting process that was put into place for COVID was, in our opinion, a big benefit for running the mountain. Fewer people as you hit the beginning incline to navigate in and around as well as a more flexible start time (your clock starts when you do) allowed for the most valued late porta-potty breaks! The weather was like a layer cake, warm on the bottom (but more comfortable because of there just being more room to maneuver, temperate in the middle and VERY windy (40-60 MPH) and cloudy at the top. It cooled significantly as it is wont to do this year as you finished the race. We had a great time and everyone was pleased with the outcome.
Of note, Ron Paquette and Dean Rasmussen completed their 37th consecutive MTWRR this year. Truly an inspiration.
I want to call out in particular Central Maine Striders Donna Jean Pohlman, Linda Fisher and Tom McGuire handed out hundreds of lunch bags to hungry runners and other volunteers. Again could not have our team there without the help and generosity of our volunteers.
I was not sure who was best to pass this on to with respect to the newsletter. Feel free to edit as you see fit.
Thanks for all the help in pulling this off again this year. All the best.
by Julie Millard
Most runners have a love-hate relationship with the sport, but we are often inspired by our training partners, who get us out the door even on the toughest days. In recent years, my most faithful running companions have been lovely ladies with four legs and infinite enthusiasm. My current trail buddy is Lily, a young Border Collie, who is always up for an adventure. On Memorial Day weekend we made the trip to Pineland Farms for the Canicross 5k. This race was part of the new Pineland Farms Trail Festival-- a lot like the old Trail Running Festival but under new management by Back40Events!
Canicross (canine cross country) is a legitimate sport with its origins in keeping sled dogs fit during the off season. It differs from just running with your dog in that the human wears a waist belt, the canine wears a harness, and the team is tethered together by a bungee. During a competition, the length of the bungee becomes important so that it doesn’t impede other runners. At Pineland, there was no official equipment check, but the sport can be quite serious, with a Border Collie/Whippet mix named Bailey leading her human (former Olympian Anthony Famiglietti) to 3:59 mile in 2019 (according to Runner’s World).
I had no idea what to expect of this event, having previously only participated in the longer races at Pineland as an individual. When we arrived at the venue, the clearing was filled with teams of varying sizes, colors, and shapes- from a 13-pound Jack Russell with her 66-year-old partner to the greyhound-and-human pair who would lead the field with a sub-14 that day. I knew that I would be the weak link in our duo, but Lily’s enthusiasm for greeting the competition reassured me that being in the middle of the pack would be fine with her.
As the pre-race clock counted down, the excitement seemed to build, with lots of barking and baying. Teams were spread out at the start, but the course rapidly funneled into a narrow trail after a relatively sharp downhill turn, making it quite easy to slip or get tripped up by someone else’s bungee. (I speak from personal experience.) In future, I would definitely start closer to the back to avoid a tangle.
All the dogs seemed to understand what to do- just follow the pack! Although the sport can be quite complicated with several recommended voice commands, I relied on the standard “Leave it,” “Go go go,” and “Good job”! Some dogs pulled up sharply for emergency potty breaks or to drink from a puddle, and it was important to be on the alert for a dog crossing over into one’s lane. (This annoys me immensely when humans do it during a race, but my tolerance was much higher for my canine competitors.) Several times Lily made the rookie mistake of looking over her shoulder, but I attribute this to race inexperience! There were a few mouth breathers- the kind that make you tired just hearing them- but they seemed to drop back once we hit the second half of the course, which was a fairly steady uphill.
Amazingly, Lily and I were 21st place in a field of about 70 teams, but the reward of having her tired out for the rest of the day was the biggest accomplishment of all! If you have a furry friend who loves other dogs, I highly recommend checking out a Canicross event. Lily and I will probably be there!