The Central Maine Striders are proud to have several active members that have been with us since the early days of the club. "Catching Up With The Pack" is where we track some of them down and get some updates on what's going on in their life these days. Last month, we caught up with Gust Stringos. And this month, as I was gathering articles for our latest edition of "Running Backwards: A Jog Through the Strider Archives", I came across a couple excellent articles by Joanie Rhoda about her experience qualifying for the Boston Marathon at the age of 59, only to have her Boston experience marred by the 2013 bombing. Since our flashback to 2013 was getting to be a pretty long article, I decided to include her 2012 and 2013 marathon articles here, along with our "catching up" with her.
I believe the last time I wrote in the Club newsletter was in 2013 after running in the Boston Marathon. That was the race where the terrible bombing happened at the finish line. I had reached the 25 1/2 mile mark with less than a mile to go when the throngs of runners were stopped in their tracks and could not complete the race. It was a heartbreaking moment for me and I’m sure for thousands of other runners to not complete something we had aspired to and trained for, for months and even years.
However, I found a way I could mend the brokenness I felt over what happened. In the spring of 2014, my son Adam, who was flying home to Maine from Seattle where he lives, met me in Boston and together we ran the last mile of the marathon. It wasn’t quite the same as it would have been on race day – we had to dodge people on the sidewalks – but it did heal my heart somewhat and brought some closure to an event that started out so joyfully and ended so tragically.
As a longtime member of the Central Maine Striders (it was the Maine Road Ramblers back in the 70’s), I was asked to provide an update on my running life now. Unfortunately I had to stop running in 2016 due to arthritis in my second toe. With bone on bone, it caused quite a bit of pain. I believe the injury was caused by dropping a can on my toe years ago or by a horse that stepped on my foot a long time ago. Surely running wouldn’t have caused it! My second toe was the only joint affected. In 2017, I had an implant inserted into the toe joint which helped decrease the pain but not enough for me to feel safe stressing it by running. I miss running very much. It was part of my life for 45 years, and wasn’t something I ever thought I would stop doing. In the beginning after the surgery, whenever I saw a runner on the road, I’d feel a stabbing sensation in my heart because I wanted to be that runner in the worst way.
It’s been 3 years since the surgery, and I can look back on the years and races with happiness and pride. I had run in countless races and completed 9 marathons, including 6 miles of the Boston Marathon while 8 months pregnant in 1984. The Club was a source of unity for runners like me. The joy of running united all of us, and because of that, we were all friends.
I have found other ways to exercise that are just as satisfying (well almost) as running – walking, bicycling, and backpacking. I am a section-hiker of the Appalachian Trail and have back-packed from Georgia to Vermont – over 1,600 miles – over 15 years. My husband and I have about 600 miles to go over some of the toughest sections of the entire Trail. I consider it an adventure of a lifetime which will take the rest of my lifetime to complete.
I look forward to reading the stories of other Club members, especially the friends I had back in the early days.
From the March 2012 issue of The Interval:
From the July 2013 issue of The Interval:
From the August 2013 issue of The Interval: