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!
Members had so much fun at the club's first online trivia event that they demanded another trivia night. As part of the winning team from the first event, Julie Millard graciously volunteered to host and provide the questions this time around. Although many members struggled with their knowledge of Maine Olympians, Brian Morin, Amy Stabins, and Alicia Wilcox pulled out the win and earned themselves each a new Central Maine Striders pint glass.
We're not sure when, but we promise that there will be a third Striders trivia night. You should join us!
Just a reminder that you can purchased Central Maine Striders shirts, singlets, and hats at Joseph's Sporting Goods in Waterville. Click here to download the pricing sheet.
To order, you can call Joseph's at (207) 660-6676, or stop by their store at 146 Kennedy Memorial Drive in Waterville.
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the Central Maine Striders weren't able to have their annual year-end social this year. As a way to foster some kind of social spirit amongst the members of the club, Club President Ryan Goebel hosted an online trivia night after the December 15th Striders monthly meeting. The 25 questions were all running-related, with topics ranging from Striders history to movies about running to songs with running in them. Although some may say that the random algorithm that Zoom used to divide the teams wasn't very fair, the "Running With The Dogs" team (Julie Millard, Ron Peck, Pat Guerette, and Rob Krickus) came out on top of "The Mainiacs" (Alicia Wilcox, Tom & Lynda McGuire, and Drew McCormick) and "Posterior Cross Bite" (Deb Violette, Sapan Bhatt, Shanon Delaney, Brian Morin, and Kate Scott). Although Julie Millard proved to have some impressive Striders historical knowledge, no one could have guessed that it would be Ron Peck's knowledge of the song "Run" by Korean boy band superstars "BTS" that held onto the win on the final question of the night.
Thanks to everyone who participated. We already have plans for a second trivia night coming soon.
Jordan, thanks for everything you've given our club. It's been an honor and a pleasure getting to know you. We will miss the excitement and positive energy that you brought to all of our club events. And we hope that you wear your Striders beanie with this much joy in Minnesota too!
After a brief hiatus, everyone's favorite jog into the past is back! In this edition of Running Backwards, we're heading back to the year 1990.
As many years do, 1990 started off with a quick summary of 1989. Just think, these guys thought 1989 was a strange year. Obviously, they hadn't experienced 2020 yet! Also, Ron Paquette, Donnajean Pohlman, and Gene Roy got their photo taken with a guy that is almost Chuck Norris.
Throughout the year, there were several mentions of Maine running magazines and newsletters that were ceasing publication. Maine Running and Outing Magazine seemed to be the biggest one to call it quits that year. I'm not sure what's harder to believe: That there were so many publications about Maine running back then or that so many were stopping circulation BEFORE the internet became widely available later that decade.
Although he's no longer a member of the Striders, David McIntyre still pays attention to the Central Maine running scene and recently showed up at our Fall Classic 10k and took some very nice videos of the leading pack.
I'm not sure which publication this "Town Line" was reprinted from, but it's a really nice article about Doc and Mardie Brown. It's too bad that myself and many of our younger members never got a chance to meet them, since they seem like truly amazing people. And personally, I was excited to read that they had a house rabbit. (For those of you that don't know, the current club president has two house rabbits).
Talking about legends, Joan Benoit Samuelson showed up multiple times in the 1990 Interval newsletters. Below she is pictures with a couple Striders legends.
In 1990, the Striders issued their first "computer generated" newsletter. We told you the Striders were a big deal back then!
Current members Anne-Marie and Rick Davee were featured in a "Meet Our Members" article in the July-August issue of the Interval in 1990.
The legendary Roy family were featured on the front page of the September 1990 Interval.
Some 1990 "updates" on a few guys that are still members today:
It was nice to see a little write up about some of the Striders ladies in the Interval. Current Strider Linda Benn was amongst a group of them that took a trip to Boston to run in the Tufts 10k.
Gene Roy put together a pretty good group for a winter weekend run. We can't wait for this Covid thing to finish so we can get back to some club group runs!
I told you the club was big back then! For comparison, we currently have 75 memberships (which is up from 60 last year), and we hosted two races (the January Thaw and the Fall Classic 10k). Check out the planned 1991 race calendar below. Wowsers! That's a lot of club races! Also, look how many club members were willing to be race directors (hint, hint... anyone?).
And to end this edition of Running Backwards, here's proof that our membership fees are still a great value. In 1990, a membership cost $12 and stamps were 25 cents. Here in 2020/2021, club membership is $20 and stamps are 55 cents. In case you are rusty on your math, club memberships have risen only 67% in the last 30 years, while stamps have risen by 120%.
That's all for this edition of Running Backwards. Thanks for jogging along all the way to the finish line!