Jordan Castillo moved to central Maine a couple years ago. The first time he attended a Central Maine Striders meeting was last December. By the end of that meeting, he had been voted in as the new club Vice President. In his short tenure as the VP, he's organized several group runs (and brunches), started the club's Instagram account, and generally been one of the more energetic and enthusiastic club members. One weekend at brunch this winter, he shared the story of how he started running. It was such a great story that I asked him if he could write it up for the club webpage and newsletter. So, just in case you weren't at that brunch, here's Jordan's running story:
With confidence and excitement, he responded, “Yeah! Your younger brother is going to join, too! C’mon! It’ll be fun!”
Slowly, but surely, my brother and I began to see the results of our training. Three miles started to feel like a warm-up distance. I began to feel like I could slow my breath enough to even carry a conversation while running. The first time I finished a 13.1-mile run, I felt like a straight-up champion. Many times, my brother and I would join my dad’s running club for long runs on the weekends. The runners carried such an encouraging, infectious energy. They loved seeing young people like my brother and I training for a such a big race, and it was always motivating to hear their stories about running accomplishments and the goals they were setting for themselves.
As the weeks passed, I came to believe that finishing a marathon was actually possible—I just had to stick with the training plan and know that my body was capable of carrying me further than I could ever imagine.
Fast-forward to race day. I had barely slept because I was so nervous and excited. With my green singlet and black running shorts, I joined the other runners in the starting area. It was a clear, sunny day and 6,000 of us were about to embark on this 26.2-mile journey along the beautiful north shore of Lake Superior.
One of my strongest memories of the race is the feeling of camaraderie between my dad, my brother, and me. They always kept me focused on the goal, especially near the end when I felt more fatigued than ever and I began to seriously doubt whether I could finish. I also remember all the fans on the side of the road who encouraged us and handed out free water, Gatorade, salty snacks. Some of the fans even had water hoses to cool us off, and some were literally grilling on the side of the road and giving out hot dogs and hamburgers. There were so many moments during the race when I just felt rushes of gratitude and excitement from seeing all the fans. Crowd support makes such a huge difference!
Around mile 23, I started to hit “the wall.” Each step felt like it required ten times the normal amount of effort, and I felt all my muscles ache with each strike of the ground. I actually remember feeling angry and wondering why I was running the race in the first place. My brother was so good at reminding me that this race was possible and that we were going to make it to the end. I was in so much pain, so my brother’s encouragement made a huge difference.
Without a doubt, the final .2 miles of the race was the most agonizing, challenging part. I remember passing the 26th mile marker and thinking, “Wow! I’m done! We are at the finish line!” But the reality is that .2 miles is still .2 miles. It also didn’t help that there were still a few turns after mile 26, so I couldn’t even see the finish line until a minute or so after passing the final mile marker. When I eventually did see that finish line, though, I ran with everything I had.
“From Lakeville, Minnesota, we have Jordan and Spencer Castillo, about to finish their first Grandma’s Marathon!” The announcer was cheering us on, along with the hundreds of fans lining each side of the road. Those last few seconds of the race seemed to last an eternity, and I couldn’t believe that I was actually about to be done running those 26.2 miles. With a time of just under five hours, my brother and I crossed the finish line. My dad and brother were right there, and we grabbed each other with a sweaty, beautiful embrace. I felt a sudden rush of accomplishment, relief, pride, and overwhelming joy like I’d never felt before. At the age of 16, I had just finished my first marathon.
During the drive home, my Dad turned to my brother and me and blurted, “So, who’s ready for the next marathon?”
“Haha, are you kidding me? Too soon, Dad,” I answered. “Maybe in a month, you can ask me then.” And a few months later, my dad did, in fact, ask me about running Grandma’s Marathon again.
“Sure, why not,” I responded with a soft smile.
So, the next year, I ran my second Grandma’s Marathon. The year after that, I ran another marathon with my dad, and the year after that, too. Because of that initial nudge from my dad, I have been running long-distance consistently for 11 years now. I am proud to say that last month I completed my tenth marathon in Napa, California (with a PR of 3:29!), and in less than three months I will go back to where it all began to run Grandma’s Marathon again, this time with the intention of qualifying for the Boston Marathon.
Thanks for sharing your running story with us, Jordan! We love the energy and enthusiasm that you've brought to the club.
If any of you would like to be featured in a "Meet Our Members" article, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd be more than happy to publish your running story and/or interview you.
Our last two editions of "Running Backwards" went to 1981 and 1982, and were huge hits with our readers. Thank you again for all the positive feedback. This month we're going to sprint forward to 1999. Pace yourself. It's a long one. And don't worry, we'll stumble back into the 80's and early 90's soon enough.
Amanda Russell wasn't listed as a member of the Striders, but in the March 1999 issue of The Interval she wrote this race report about the Boston Marathon (perhaps it was reprinted from another publication?).
Ron Paquette & Donnajean Pohlman and Gene & Sarah Roy can never be thanked enough for their contributions to the Central Maine Striders. That's just as true now as it was in 1999.
Many of the older issues of The Interval included a list of all the members. We've been thinking about doing this for current members, but in the meantime, you'll just have to settle for seeing the list of 1999 Central Maine Striders.
In April, The Interval had the results, a quick writeup, and some photos from the 20th Annual Killarney's 10k. The race director was none other than Tom McGuire. Rumor has it that he's been working hard to give some other current Striders the chance to start a new Striders 10k race.
The results included Striders regulars Jim Moore and Ron Paquette, as well as a young guy named Pat Guerette.
Ron Paquette took the honor of filling the President's Page in the September 1999 newsletter:
Club Secretary Mardie Brown shared some news about the club's annual meeting, including plans to update the bylaws to conform to the 1999 structure of the club:
Some random race photos from the September issue. It's unclear as to why Bob Strout is the only Strider in the first photo who gets named.
There was a photo of Gene Roy running Mount Washington to close out the September '99 Interval, and then the October '99 issue opened with his turn filling the President's Page, where he shared a good mix of wisdom, humor, and advice on winter running.
Jerry Allanach gave an update from Illinois in the October newsletter. To this day, Jerry is still a proud member of the Striders, still lives in Illinois, and still occasionally turns up at a Maine race. This past year, a few of us got to meet him at the Save Your Breath 5k in Augusta.
Although Mardie Brown was never the President of the Central Maine Striders, she still got the honor of writing the President's Page in the November 1999 issue of The Interval.
In 1999, tips for running safely included "carry coins for a phone call". Other than the fact that carrying coins won't do much for you these days (unless you use them to throw at any potential attackers), these are still good tips for running safely.
David Benn took the reins back for the President's Page in the final Interval issue of 1999. He made a plea for a couple volunteers to take over the Killarney's 10k and Gasping Gobbler 10k. From what I can tell, 1999 was the last year that the Killarney's race was run. The Gasping Gobbler seems to have taken the year 2000 off, but then returned in 2001, only to disappear again from 2002 through 2005. In 2006, the Gasping Gobbler returned as a 5k at Cony High School in Augusta and continues to this day.
The Striders never began a road race series, even though it seems to have been being explored at the end of 1999. However, that "kid" Pat Guerette that showed up at a few races in 1999 came back to Maine and started the Quarry Road Trail Race series in 2013.
That's all for 1999! If you made it this far, thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed this edition of Running Backwards. Candidates for next month's jog into the archives include 1987, 1988, 1990, 1996, 2009, and 2013.
"Meet Our Members" is where we get to know a little more about our fellow Striders -- who they are, why they run, and why they're part of the Central Maine Striders.
In this edition of "Meet Our Members", Amy Stabins agreed to answer our questions over email. Amy is 51 years old, joined the Striders about 3 years ago because she'd like to connect with other runners, prefers trail running over road running, and would love it if we'd have more group runs targeting slower runners [Editor's note: We're working on it].
What are your favorite running routes?
In the summer - Start at the Colby tennis courts and run through the arboretum, then through the woods up the hill, around the top and back. About 7 miles.
In the winter - The snowmobile trails through Winslow in a winter with a lot of snow, so its not too icy. Running snomo trails lets you see countryside that is otherwise inaccessible, and its so pretty in the winter.
What’s your favorite running gear? My Nathan hydration pack. As a long-time hiker the backpack doesn’t bother me, and its great for carrying a few extra things for long trail runs (gels, gloves, cleats…. Pepper spray).
Do you have any PR’s that you’re proud of and would like to share? Not really a PR, but I’ve run the Bradbury Mountain Bruiser (12 miles) twice and managed to cut 9 minutes off the second time. Not sure how I managed that!
What are your running goals right now? I’m training for my first marathon, Sugarloaf 2020. I’m totally intimidated and anxious. Not sure how I will manage to find the time for the long training runs, and I’m not thrilled about training on roads to get used to the pounding of the pavement!
What’s the best advice you were ever given about running? Try running trails
And, what do you do when you’re not running? My husband and I are raising two teenagers (boy and girl). I also spend time with my mom, who has Alzheimers and lives in the Memory Care unit at Woodlands in Waterville. I’m also an avid amateur quilter.
Thanks for letting us get to know you a little better, Amy. We're glad to have you as a Central Maine Strider!
Would you like to be featured in a future "Meet Our Members" article? Contact us at email@example.com.
Amy at the start and then the finish of the recent Lamoine Half Marathon.
by Harold Shaw
Over the past few years, I have bought far too many pairs of running shoes (about 20-25 pairs a year since 2012) - hoping or is that dreaming about the "right" shoes that will magically allow me to become the runner that I have always wanted to be.
A typical runner’s dream, isn’t it?
Unfortunately, as I have learned the expensive and hard way, there is no such thing as a pair of magical running shoes that are going to make you or I, a better runner. If you buy into that line of thinking you will spend a LOT of money searching for that magical shoe.
Besides, just like everyone else my body changes a little each year and what would have worked for me as a younger person, doesn’t work for me now. Those Asics Excalibur GT’s that I loved in the ‘80s would kill my feet now and so many other shoes that I have loved over the years would not work at all for me in the body that I have now.
This is something I think that we tend to overlook when we look at running shoes, how much our bodies do change as we get older. The reality is that it really doesn’t matter what our age is, our bodies are always changing whether we 25, 43, 62 or 75 and the type/style of running shoes we need constantly change as well.
What have I learned
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. So think twice and then think again about what you are reading, watching or being told.
Over the years, I have learned that there are no magical running shoes (although some claim otherwise as the current controversy over the Nike Vapor Fly line shows) and that the best ways to improve as a runner are to focus more on:
Although I gotta admit that the wrong running shoes really do screw things up royally from time-to-time! The litany of injuries I have had over the years are a testament to bad shoe choices, training mistakes and just being stoopid.
Then you have the fun issue of when the brands update that style/model that you love and the new version is a different shoe than the one you loved. It sucks big time and happens all too often. Then we have to go out and start looking for a new running shoe all over again - it has happened to almost all of us who have been running for a while and yeah, it does suck.
The reality is that...
All runners are different, we have different likes, needs and wants from our running shoes and in today's world, most brands have a shoe that will satisfy that need.
The primary purpose of running shoes, in my opinion, is to protect our feet from the ground, tar, concrete, trail or whatever you are running on, which in turn allows us to run more safely or comfortably than without them (no I do not believe in running barefoot other than for drills - it doesn't work for most of us, especially in Maine in the Wintah).
While I believe that proper running shoes can make a difference (good or bad) for a runner, at the same time I strongly believe that I (and other runners) put too much emphasis on the importance of their running shoes and how much of a difference they actually make.
The biggest lesson I have learned over the past few years is that my running shoes are a lot less important to my running than what I am doing as a runner, but even so, I am ever hopeful that someday, I will find that running shoe that works for me and hope against hope that its updates continue to work for me.
Hmmm let me see what Running Warehouse has on sale this week. :-)
Yeah, I know I am an incorrigible running shoe geek. Hehehee
Our March club meeting included discussion about the following:
- Starting a new Striders-sponsored 10k race in the fall
- Updating the club bylaws
- Selection of the Mount Washington Road Race team
- Our new Instagram account
- 10% discount for all Striders members at Running Warehouse
- Organizing group runs for slower runners
- Preliminary planning for an early summer club social
- And more!
Click here to download and read the full minutes:
Our last edition of "Running Backwards" to 1981 was a huge hit with our readers. Thank you for all the positive feedback. This month we're going to 1982.
The year started off with newsletters consisting of just a few pieces of paper stapled together and the title simply saying "Central Maine Striders", but keep reading to see how the newsletter evolved later in the year.
In the first issue of the year, President David Baird asked for submissions from other members:
Gene Roy shared some news about the opening of the New Balance Factory Outlet in Skowhegan. That store still exists and has some great deals, especially during their end-of-summer tent sale, but I'm not sure when the last time anyone found a $5 pair of running shoes!
It seems that Mother Nature forgot about the "thaw" part of the January Thaw that year. BRRR! However, it seems that everyone survived the cold and celebrated with a post-race party. What's that about a Runners World Magazine article about the race?!? I'm not sure if anyone has some old issues of the New England Edition of Runners World from 1982, but it would be great to see some coverage of the Central Maine Striders in a major publication!
In the February-March edition of the newsletter, it was announced that founding member Rick Krause wrote a history of the Central Maine Striders. This is probably another old publication that's been lost to time, but it would be cool to see if any of our longtime members still have it.
The Killarney's 10k was another Waterville race that the Striders seem to have put on for many years, but sadly no longer exists (nor does the restaurant/bar that gave the race its name). Thirty-one Striders completed the race in 1982, including current member Sarah Roy who set a new PR.
Some programs and clinics were organized by current member Dean Rasmussen. Keep in mind that this was long before the internet came along and made it easy to research training programs and methods.
History was made in in the April-May 1982 issue, when the name "The Interval" was first used for the club newsletter. A nice new masthead was introduced to showcase the new newsletter's new name, along with the club's memberships in the RRCA and TAC organizations.
Also, there was a plea from the president for more contributions from other members. Yes, it seems that all club presidents have to do this, both then and now (hint, hint... anyone have any submissions for the next newsletter?).
That issue included some news about the Central Maine Strider members that ran the Boston Marathon in 1982. We definitely had some powerhouse marathoners that year! Four club members finished in 2:50 or faster. Wow!
News from that issue also included results from a couple local runs. Runners mentioned that are still members to this day included Donnajean Pohlman, Dean Rassmussen, Sam Mitchell, Jim Moore, and Sarah Roy.
By the time of the June 1982 edition of the newsletter, it looks like President David Baird finally got a little bit of assistance for the newsletter, which he calls "the single largest job that the president has to attend to" (I think I know what he means!). Anyway, the person that came forward to help was the previous year's president, Gene Roy. Still trying to coerce some new blood to provide material for the newsletter, David still makes a request to the general membership for more newsletter material.
Several familiar names performed well at the 1982 Embden 10k.
Although less names were mentioned, the Striders supposedly recorded several PR's at the Rocky Coast 10k in Boothbay. Alton Stevens, an attorney who's currently (still) are club Clerk, ran it in 35:33. For those of you without a calculator, that's 5:43/mile pace, also know as "fast"!
There were some plans that didn't pan out to get a team together for a race up a big hill:
However, one Strider did run it. From the July 1982 issue of The Interval, it looks like Gene Roy started a Strider tradition of running up that one hill. As he noted, the race is pretty much just an average 8-mile uphill run. Somehow, his description was enough to motivate more Striders to run the race the next year, which is when Ron Paquette and Dean Rasmussen's streaks that are still going today began. But, we'll save that story for another issue.
July 1982 saw the birth of organized track workouts for the Striders. We still do these every summer, except we meaure our laps in 400's now instead of 440's and use Colby's track instead of the High School's.
It's always good to hear about how the "iron women" in the club perform:
A regular feature in Interval newsletter has always been introductions of new members. It looks like Geoff Hill, famous for securing so many wonderful prizes for the club to giveaway at January Thaw races, made his Striders debut in 1982. [Note: We'd love to hear from any of our current new members (and old members too) about who you are and why you run.]
By the time the September issue rolled around, Geoff Hill ran a 10k PR. This pretty much proves that being a Central Maine Strider makes you a better runner.
As the club continued to grow and become "a force to be reckoned with" that year, the president once again had to ask for help from the members outside of the "core" regulars. Speaking of that, do we have any members out there that want to get more involved? We could always use more help on newsletters, administrative duties, and volunteering at races. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
Back in those days, it seems that the president and former president wrote most of the newsletter's content, another member typed it (yes, that means on a typewriter), and another person mailed them out. Although technology has changed things for us a bit, most of the work on the newsletter is now done by the current president, who wouldn't complain if someone out there in Striderland came forward to provide assistance. I promise that it won't involve typewriters or stamps.
Karen McCann is a Strider that gets mentioned a lot in the old issue of The Interval. I'm not sure what she's up to these days, but she seemed to be a pretty formidable in 1982. Amongst many other accomplishments, she placed fifth in the Benjamins 10k, a race that Maine's favorite runner Joan Benoit also ran in. If that race were still around today, I'd hope that the slogan would be "It's all about the Benjamins".
All of you Colby folk will probably be proud to know that Karen coached the women's cross-country team there.
We had a 14-year-old Strider member who ran a 35:08 at the Kingfield 10k that September. Regardless of age, that's fast! Doug MacDonald also happened to break records on EVERY course he ran during that year's junior high school cross-country season. No word on how Doug MacDonald fared in his running career after the age of 14.
The Striders were doing their best to have influence over all the area's youth by coaching as many teams as possible. Besides the aforementioned Colby women's cross-country coach, Central Maine Strider members were also coachs of Winslow High School, Messalonskee High School, Waterville Junior High, Madison High School, and Maine Central Institute. I wouldn't be surprised if more than a few of our current members were coached by these guys.
Gene Roy must have been enjoying running up hills that year. Besides being the only Strider to run the Mount Washington Road Race, he also ran the Sugarloaf Hill Climb. He placed 7th overall in race up that much smaller hill. Ron Paquette was also there, possibly training for a 38-year streak of running up Mount Washington.
More news about the Benjamins 10k. Some familiar names, like Alton Stevens, Dave Baird, and Geoff Hill represented the Striders.
Several newsletters in 1982 talked of a planned Striders yard sale to raise some funds for the club. I'll spare you the details, but it eventually the year ended and the yard sale was postponed until spring 1983.
That's all for 1982! It seemed to be a year in which the Striders were finding their stride. The club was growing, the organization was being figured out, the newsletter got a name, and PR's were being set.
For the next issue of Running Backwards, we'll jump forward in time. Possible destinations include 1987, 1988, 1990, 1996, 1999, and 2009. I've skimmed through and seen exciting moments in these years, and Intervals started having photos!