Catching Up With The Pack: Gust Stringos
The Central Maine Striders are proud to have several active members that have been with us since the early days of the club. One of those members, whose name you may recognize from our latest Running Backwards article, is Gust Stringos. Since he was featured under the "New Members" section back in 1983, we thought we'd reach out to him and get an update. Here's what he had to say:
I am 65 now, and live in the same house in Skowhegan! I did run the Maine Coast Marathon, with a time just under 3:05, not enough to qualify for Boston. I did continue my medical training, and have been a family practice physician in Skowhegan for 30+ years, and am currently Medical Director of Redington-Fairview Hospital here. I still enjoy gardening and Beekeeping. Two years ago, I tore a hamstring muscle in a skiing accident, and my competitive running has taken a big hit as a consequence, but I still try to get in 2-3 miles several times a week. And I am still proud to be a Central Maine Strider!
Gust, we're proud to have you as a longtime member as well. Thanks for giving us an update!
This month we're running way back to 1983, the semi-historic year when the Interval was first "computerized". Check it out!
Either the archives are missing the January and February 1983 issues, or no Interval was made in those months. There was an invitation for the Striders annual banquet that was sent out in January, but that seems to barely count as an issue of The Interval (the greatest central Maine-based running newsletter over the last 40 years or so).
However, the March issue featured a major Striders announcment -- the club entered the COMPUTER AGE!
Back in 1983, the Striders' annual banquet seemed like a pretty impressive affair. 63 people attended! The newly elected board of officers included Dean Rasmussen, Gene Roy, and Geoff Hill (all of whom are still active members to this day). Current member Sarah Roy won an award for Most Improved Strider. The 1983 club even had a New Balance representative speak at the banquet! And they ended the banquet with a showing of a movie about the 1981 Hawaii IronMan Triathlon (remember, this was long before Netflix or even DVDs existed). Sounds like it was a pretty exciting night.
The January Thaw Road Race was postponed that year due to bad weather. Geez... that never happens in Maine in January. Oh wait, (...checks January Thaw archives...) it happened this year and last year.
I usually don't include old finance information in these flashbacks, but the balance of $96.53 from February 2, 1983 has to be the lowest that I have ever seen the club's balance get, and I'm guessing that all of the current and former club Treasurers would agree.
The April 1983 newsletter included coverage of that year's Killarney's 10k, which saw a new course records set for both the men and the women. Current member Rick Stuart ran sub-35 minutes.
It turns out that Fred Judkins wasn't using just any computer for the new Striders member database. He was using an all-caps APPLE computer. Fancy stuff. [As a side note, I think I got my first computer, an Apple IIe, around that same time]
It seems that the city of Auburn tried to pass an anti-joggers and skiers law. No word on how a law against joggers and skiers would affect runners. Also, how often were people skiing down the side of the road an actual problem? I know this is Maine and all, but..... really?
In the May 1983 Interval, the newsletter editor announced that they were going to start profiling one member each month, selected at random. [The 2020 newsletter editor is thinking about implementing this "random" method to choosing members to profile in the "Meet Our Members" section.]
They were also looking for articles from members [Another note from the 2020 editor: Time may have moved forward by 37 years, but we're still looking for article from members. If anyone would like to help out by writing an article for our newsletter and webpage, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.]
And, they were looking for someone with a copier that could copy onto both sides of paper. [The 2020 editor would like to let you know that we are no longer searching for two-sided copying capabilities.]
Gene Roy was looking for Striders to join him for a Mount Washington road race team. This was the year that Ron Paquette and Dean Rasmussen succumbed to Gene's pleas to get a Striders team for this uphill race. Apparently, they've been addicted to that hill since that year, considering that they've ran it every year from then until now. As you all know, the race has been cancelled this year due to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Let's hope these two fine gentlemen get a chance to continue their streak next year.
It's hard to believe that a couple Striders in 1983 ran the London Marathon, but that's exactly what Susan Adams and Linda Snow did. This was only the third year that the London Marathon was run. Unfortunately, these two women are no longer members of our club, but I'd love to hear where they are now and if they're still running.
In other "international" news, there were some Striders preparing for the Boston Marathon. Rick Stuart was gunning for a sub-2:30 marathon and Geoff Hill was aiming to be a bandit.
Rick Stuart primed his way to the Boston Marathon by capturing 7th place in the Readfield Boston Primer 15-miler. That must have been quite the field if Rick only got 7th.
The Striders fielded a stellar team for the Great Downeast Maine Half Marathon back in 1983. The team featured long-time Strider all-stars Gene Roy, Geoff Hill, Ron Paquette, Sarah Roy, and Donnjean Pohlman. Not to be outdone, Rick Stuart finished 5th in the marathon that day with a nice sub-3-hour time. Wait... I thought Rick was preparing for Boston. [Editor's Note: He was.]
In the "New Members" section of the May 1983 newsletter, none other than current member Gust Stringos was introduced. Gust did run the Maine Coast Marathon that year, and still enjoys beekeeping and gardening.
By June of 1983, it seems that Fred Judkins was getting into his APPLE computer. Based on the amazing font seen below, it looks like he started using the computer for typing newsletters, besides just keeping a member database. Also, it seems like this issue marked the point in time where the club found a way to print/copy on both sides of a piece of paper.
Oh, and you gotta love the very dated title "Data Processor".
That same issue featured a profile on longtime member Jim Moore. 37 years since this article was written and Jim is still probably one of the most consistent runners in CMS. Jim, I think you've made your goal of continuing running through the age of 65 and we're extremely thankful to have been with you the whole way! Also, has anyone else out there commuted to work in Augusta by running the 21 miles? Now, that's dedication!
It looks like Rick Stuart didn't make his sub-2:30 goal at Boston, but 2:37 ain't too shabby!
Speaking of not shabby, Gene Roy ran a 22:13 at a 4-mile race in Portland.
While Gene was running his 4 miles in Portland, it looks like a large chunk of the Striders membership was running a 10k in China. Current members Geoff Hill, Jim Moore, and Donnajean Pohlman were listed in the results.
As the club's data processing and computerizing skills advanced, they started printing newsletters on colored paper. The colored paper trend in the newsletter continued until 1993 or so.
The June 1983 issue also included a list of all the current members, along with their addresses and phone numbers. We cut off the contact info here, but are showing you the members' names. We're very thankful for all the names that are on this 1983 list AND still on our 2020 member list.
There were some familiar names amongst two back-to-back Saturday 10k's in May of 1983.
At the Emden 10k, Rick Stuart came in second with a nice 5:36 pace. Dean Rasmussen, Donnajean Pohlman, Ron Paquette, and Gene Roy also placed in the top 10. No offense to Gene, but were there only 10 runners in this 10k? The Striders held 8 of the top 10 places, and there was 14 minutes between first and tenth place.
The next weekend, there was a bigger turnout of not just Striders, but of runners period. Our current club clerk, Alton Stevens, finished with an impressive 33:44 time. Gene Roy avenged his last(?) place finish from the previous week by cutting nearly 13 minutes off his time. We'll give Gene the benefit of the doubt and assume the Emden 10k was just a training run for the Boothbay 10k. It's too bad, though, that his place dropped from 10th to 31st. Numbers, places, and running can be strange like that sometimes. Geoff Hill, Jim Moore, and Sarah Roy were also part of the large CMS contingent at the race.
Susan Adams finished the London Marathon in a time of 4:19. No word on how Linda Snow fared. She's also not included on the list of members from the June Interval. Hmmmm... conspiracy theorists could probably come up with a great explanation for this.
Gust Stringos, introduced to the club back in the May 1983 newsletter and still a club member, finished the Maine Coast Marathon in 3:04:55. Jerry Allanach, another longtime Strider and current Chicago-area resident, came in at 3:18:06.
In the August issue that year, it was announced that the Striders would be hosting the 1st ever Sugarloaf Marathon. Of course, along with that honor came responsibility, so they were asking for volunteers.
Results from the first year of "The One-Hill Streak" for Dean Rasmussen and Ron Paquette were also in that August issue. Gene Roy and some other guys were also on the team, but had streaks that ended much earlier than 37 years.
So, you may be asking yourself, "who is this Dean guy?" Well, here's how he was profiled in that August 1983 Interval. Dean, thanks for continuing to be a Strider for all of these years!
Rick Stuart ran a high-altitude 10k out in New Mexico that year. Unfortunately, the Interval and/or the computer skills of the club weren't advanced enough to include pictures in the newsletter, so we'll never know whether the mentioned picture was a "real" road runner or if it was Rick.
In the President's Comments of the October 1983 Interval, Dean Rasmussen thanked all of the members that volunteered for the first Sugarloaf Marathon. We all know that volunteers are probably the most critical component of a successful race.
That issue also included race results for several CMS members, including Donnajean Pohlman's sub-4-hour marathon in San Francisco.
Gust Stringos seems to have had a good showing at the Twilight 5-miler with pace just under 6-minutes-per-mile. Ron Paquette and Donnajean Pohlman were also amongst the large group of Striders that ran the race in Skowhegan.
Those same three current Striders ran another race in Skowhegan that month and were joined by Sarah Roy and several other members.
The only current Strider to be listed in the results for that first Sugarloaf Marathon was Dean Rasmussen. He grabbed 14th place overall with a nice sub-3-hour finish. However, the date in these results was listed as 1982, even though the first Sugarloaf Marathon was held in 1983. Hmmmm..... do we have another conspiracy theory here, or was it just an innocent typo on an old APPLE computer?
A month later in Kingsfield, a giant group of Striders showed up for the Kingfield 10k. Alton Stevens, Geoff Hill, Dean Rasmussen, Jim Moore, Donnajean Pohlman, Ron Paquette, Sarah Roy, and Gene Roy were all there. Ron and Donnajean beat Gene and Sarah by about 20 seconds for the title of "top Striders couple".
The Kingfield and Sugarloaf area continued to be a popular area for Striders to race in that fall, with another big group running the Sugarloaf Uphill race. Gene Roy grabbed 6th place overall with a finish time of an even 32 minutes. Usual suspects Geoff Hill, Dean Rasmussen, Ron Paquette, and Jim Moore also finished the uphill race.
In October 1983, Geoff Hill ran the Casco Bay Marathon with a nice time of 3:12:32.
And in November 1983, CMS member Chris Bovie tied a course record at the Veterans Day 5k with a time of 16:04! Geoff Hill came in 6th with a time of 18-minutes flat. Gene Roy and Jim Moore opted for the half marathon that day and finished with times of 1:24:40 and 1:33:17, respectively.
Meet Our Members: Kelley Carter
"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", Kelley Carter agreed to answer our questions over email. Kelley lives in Pittsfield and is one of the newer Central Maine Striders members.
One of the things that helped trigger my return to running was the fact that I turned 50 in 2019. Having the desire to do a marathon, I figured if I didn't do it now, I might not ever do it. Leading up to Sugarloaf, I was pretty certain that I'd be a "one-n-done" type of marathoner. Not fifteen minutes after completing that event, when I could barely walk from unspeakable pain I'd never felt before, my wife asked me if I'd ever do it again. Without hesitation, I responded with a firm "hell yeah!" I seem to have a mild obsession with it now, that I should probably seek counseling for! I'll never be a competitive runner, but for what it does for my mental state, I hope I never have to stop.
Did you manage to reach that Boston qualifying goal?
I have not been able to hit that BQ objective - YET! Although my PB at the half is pretty decent for my age at 1 hr 41 min, I've had a hard time translating that to the marathon distance. I've always seemed to show up at the starting line completely ready to go. However, I struggle to hold back on first half of the distance. As a consequence, I tend to hit that wall pretty hard. During the Maine Marathon in October, my mile splits were all sub-9 minutes, and even a couple of sub-8, through mile 20. The last 6 were barely sub-12!! Clearly, I need to find more patience for the first half!
Was there anyone who inspired you to start running (a friend, a family members, or a professional athlete)? I've never really thought about that, but I guess my favorite uncle first piqued my interest in running, when I saw him compete in a marathon in Austin, TX, way back in the late 70's. But that was just one of many crazy and adventurous things he's done in his life. I suppose I kinda follow in that same frame of mind. There are definitely a ton of other people that have inspired me along the way. Stories of real people doing really incredible stuff... running-related or not, surviving against insurmountable odds, or overcoming an impossible obstacle... give me strength and determination to push forward, even when I don't want to. I also try remember to be grateful for everything I have - that there are countless humans who suffer, but are still genuinely thankful for the very little blessings they do have - those people inspire me more than any.
Of the three marathons you ran in 2019, which was your favorite and why?
Of the three marathons I ran in 2019, each offered something very special for me, and all were definite favorites for very different reasons. Sugarloaf was special because it was my first and it was an absolute blast. The support from the organizers, to the participants, to the wacky crowds was super cool, and made the event a ton of fun. What wasn't fun was the cold, rainy weather! The Maine Marathon was epic for the dedicated supporters on the sidelines - the live bands, the hilarious signs, folks cheering you on by name - awesome. Pretty nice scenery too. Millinocket....what can I say about Millinocket? It is beyond words really. In my mind, that event is all about giving back and helping that little town come alive. It's less about running. However! The run is definitely part of the incredible experience, from Fireball shot stations, delicious soup, hot Gatorade, and so much more makes for a memorable experience with a huge desire to do it again. I should mention I learned that the speedy shoes can be left at home. This event is more like a slow, long run than a PR opportunity. Of the three marathons, if I could only choose one to run again, for now it would have to be Sugarloaf - just to prove to myself that I can beat the 4-hour mark!!! With assistance from gravity of course!
How did you find out about the Central Maine Striders and why did you join us? I first stumbled across Central Maine Striders on Facebook I think, and then again on Strava. Years ago, in Providence RI, I belonged to a corporate running group, as well as a local running club. I remember the camaraderie, support and energy that we all benefited from, just by training and participating in events. It was a big sense of community, and actually pushed me to train harder and more consistently that I probably would've otherwise done on my own. I decided to join Central Maine Striders one, because the group is relatively close to where I live, and two, because I want to be more active in the running community in general. I find running can be a pretty lonely endeavor - which isn't always bad and often times the one place where I can find peace in an otherwise chaotic world - but I miss sharing the joy of running with others. Non-runners just don't get it, do they? Lol.
What do you do when you're not running?
When I'm not running, I keep myself occupied with work and outdoor stuff. Backpacking in the back-country with my family is my all-time favorite recreational activity. Life is meant to be lived to the fullest with as many rich experiences as possible, in my opinion. Work is just a means to an end. Thankfully, my employer, Sebasticook Valley Federal Credit Union, gives me plenty of opportunity to do the things I enjoy the most.
Thanks for joining the Striders and for letting us get to know you better, Kelley. We're looking forward to see you at some of our events in the future (whenever that's allowed again).