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).
Meet Our Members: Jordan Castillo
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.
Meet Our Members: Amy Stabins
"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.
Meet Our Members: Rebecca Roy
Although she lives in Vermont now, Rebecca Roy is a proud member of the Central Maine Striders. As the daughter of Gene Roy, she was basically raised into the Strider family. Although she's been battling an injury lately, she's hoping to get back to running soon. As part of our ongoing series to get to know more about our members, we recently asked Rebecca a series of questions over email. Here's what she had to say.
Thank you so much for thinking of me for this. I am very honored and it means so much to me because I grew up with the Striders, all the old timers are family to me. I feel far away but by being a member of CMS I feel connected which means a great deal.
What do you do when you’re not running? I manage educational programs for Vermont State Parks professionally. I love Nordic skiing, camping, and trout fishing. I am also an avid deer hunter. I have also gotten into mountain biking since I've been injured. I love being in the woods no matter what I am doing.
Why are you a member of the Central Maine Striders? CMS is the best running club out there, the club played a huge important role in my childhood, and want to stay connected. It will be fun to run races in Vermont with my CMS gear!
How long have you been a member of the Central Maine Striders?
I feel like I was born into the club because my dad was an early member. I spent my childhood going to races with my family every weekend, and that thrilled me. I still love going to races to just watch and I love hearing people's play by play stories of their races. Almost all my childhood memories involve adventures at races with the Club. I moved to Vermont nineteen years ago and had a big gap in my membership. I joined again when my dad was honored as Strider of the Year [in 2017], and will continue to be part of the best running club out there.
Why and when did you start running? My first race was a 1k fun run at the China School in China, Maine when I was 3. I vividly remember my mom's red striped tube socks during that race. I was thrilled to race and that hooked me. Running was a huge part of my childhood and became part of my identity. I just love it. I chose my college because my dad brought my sister, Rachel, and I to an Earth Day race there when I was five. That was Unity College and I ended up running cross-country there and made All-American and we won a National small college title.
How old are you? 43, I will be 44 in April. Still a long way to the next age bracket. My fastest times (so far) were in my late 30's.
And why do you run now? Unfortunately I am injured right now, but I am getting close to running again. I got into trail running when I moved to Vermont. I love adventure runs of all kinds. My favorite is a loop on Mt Mansfield, which is a mountain in Vermont with an expansive long summit, the whole loop is just under 9 miles and features the most beautiful views of Vermont. And [in Underhill State Park], we have a super nice state park campground at the trailhead where you can relax around a campfire and sleep in a lean-to after the run adventure. Sorry, I cannot help plugging my employer. I run today to get out in the woods, to wash away the stress of life, and to feel strong. I work with other ultra runners and they all have a zen attitude that gets you hooked on going long.
What’s your favorite running route? I have a trail loop at work that is four miles with lots of ups and downs, but my I have lots of real favorites in the woods. These are all in Vermont, I mentioned Mt Mansfield but I also have many fun loops I like to do in Groton State Forest in eastern Vermont. I live in Vermont because I like living in the mountains, I am two miles from a trailhead up Mt Cushman, which is a four mile round trip run. I used to run that weekly when I wasn't injured. My parents have a camp on Pattee Pond in Winslow [Maine], every July when I visit I run around the pond. That run is about 9 miles and 3/4 of it is road running and 1/4 is bushwacking. The last couple years I had to ride a bike around the loop instead.
What’s your favorite running gear? I love my Hoka Speed Goat shoes! I have too many pairs of running shoes. That is my addiction!
What do you think about when you run? I brainstorm ideas to solve problems I struggle with. I also love nature so I spend time watching for wildlife and identifying plants on the fly while trail running.
What are your running goals? They are lower now after micro-fracture ankle surgery, I would like to get up to ten mile adventure runs in the mountains this summer. I would love to do the Millinocket Half Marathon next December.
What’s your favorite race? Sugarloaf Marathon! I ran this when was 21 and then again when I was 41, and I ran it with my mom that second time. Absolutely magical day. My mom won her age group! Plus I grew up going to that marathon and I had family managing the Cathedral Pines Campground. We have lots of family history in that area so it is somehow magically extra special.
What’s your most memorable race? Finishing the Vermont 50 was a big deal to me, 50 miles is the farthest I have run. There are other adventure runs I've enjoyed that are very memorable like the Pemi Loop and Presidential Traverse in the White Mountains. I hope I can do things like that again.
What is your favorite memory as a Central Maine Strider? I have so many of these from childhood. One I clearly remember is the Kingfield 10K. That was a huge race when I was a kid, and CMS was well represented. There was always live music, chicken bbq, and lots of happy runners lounging out on the hill in the center of town enjoying the scene. We always camped out for the weekend with CMS friends and it was always a blast.
What’s the best advice you were ever given about running? Run negative splits.
What advice would you give to other runners? I learned a valuable lesson about cross-training at my age. I love running and do not really want to do anything else but it helps your body stay stronger by doing other activities. It makes you a better runner and more resilient. I will continue mountain biking and nordic skiing after I heal well enough to rip it up trail running again.
What’s your favorite running quote? "As every runner knows, running is more than just putting one foot in front of the other; it is about our lifestyle and who we are." --Joan Benoit Samuelson (I adore her!)
Thanks, Rebecca, for taking the time to let us get to know you a little more! We hope your injury heals soon and you can get back to running. We're proud to have you a Central Maine Strider and hope that you can make it back to one of our events in Maine someday. In the meantime, we're happy to have you as an active member of our Facebook group.
Would you like to be featured in a "Meet Our Members" article? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet Our Members: Rebecca Tracy
A big welcome and thank you to Ryan Goebel, who was voted in as the new Central Maine Striders Vice President at the club's annual meeting in March. Get to know Ryan, in his own words, below. You also can join club members and officers at a monthly Striders meeting, typically held at 6 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month. Check the club calendar for upcoming meetings.
I ran cross country and track in high school, but didn’t have what it takes to make a team at The University of Arizona where I went to college. Without the team competition, my running miles quickly dropped off to nothing. I would occasionally go through short periods of running, racing in local 5K’s, and even managed to grind out my first marathon finish a few weeks after graduating from Arizona. This trend (minus the marathon running) continued throughout my 20’s and much of my 30’s. The combination of being busy at work, poor training plans leading to running injuries, and other hobbies and interests always got in the way of me ever being competitive.
Then, a few years ago, I decided to get serious about running again with the simple goal of breaking 20 minutes in a 5K. A friend suggested I read 80/20 Running: Run Stronger and Race Faster By Training Slower by Matt Fitzgerald. Following the training plans in this book, I had my 5K time under 19 minutes and set my sights on running a marathon again.
The same friend said I could qualify for Boston, but I didn’t believe him. Last March, I laced up for my first marathon in 18 years at the Tobacco Road Marathon in North Carolina. Despite my nerves and stomach trying to get the best of me, I finished with a Boston-Qualifying time of 3:11:12, a huge improvement over my 3:52:38 in my only previous marathon attempt.
When I found myself moving to Waterville with my wife (who now works at Colby College), I probably spent too much time scouring the internet looking for Maine running clubs and races. But I discovered the Central Maine Striders, and soon after moving up last summer I ran in one of the Quarry Road Trail Races and attended a potluck and group run. Since then, I’ve improved upon my marathon time at the 2017 Chicago Marathon (2:58:21) and am currently running with the Dirigo RC master’s team in the USATF New England Road Race Grand Prix series.
As Vice President of the Central Maine Striders, I’m looking forward to organizing more group runs, increasing the number of active members, fostering a friendly spirit of competition, and trying to organize more Striders teams to race together.
I’m also really looking forward to running in more Maine and New England races, including my first Boston Marathon in a couple weeks.
At the March 21st annual meeting, Central Maine Striders will recognize Geoff Hill and Gene Roy, two long-time club members, for their service to and support of the club. Congratulations, Geoff and Gene, and thank you for all you've done for Central Maine Striders!
All members and friends of the club are welcome to join us to honor Geoff and Gene, and for food, drinks, voting on officers, plus free gloves and stickers for 2018 members. The dinner is at Mainely Brews Brewhouse & Restaurant in Waterville on Wednesday, March 21, at 6 p.m. All ages are welcome.
Central Maine Striders Annual Dinner
Wednesday, March 21, 6 p.m.
Mainely Brews Brewhouse & Restaurant
1 Post Office Road, Waterville
Meet Geoff and Gene, our 2017 Striders of the Year, below.
Meet Geoff Hill
I began running cross-country in sophomore year of high school in Rochester, New York, simply to get into shape for ice hockey in the winter and discovered I loved running trails in the woods. I achieved varsity letters in cross-country and track and graduated high school in 1964.
I participated in other sports but did not run seriously again until 1975 while living near Berkeley, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Several friends and I started a small, personal running club and entered 5K and 10K races in the Bay Area, also running on trails behind UC Berkeley.
I moved to Belgrade, Maine, in 1982 and joined the Central Maine Striders that same year, running on my camp road to get into shape and introducing myself to central Maine by running 10K’s. This is the same year I met Gene and Sarah Roy, Ron Paquette, Dean Rasmussen, Jim Moore, Chris Bovie, and David Baird, all Central Maine Strider members. I also coached track and cross-country at Winslow and Waterville High Schools and was race director for the Belgrade Lakes 10K for three years. In addition, I helped Gene Roy, who was the race director for the January Thaw in Belgrade.
I achieved the best condition of my life in 1983 and posted personal bests of 34:28 at the Rockland Lobster Festival 10K and 3 hours 12 minutes at the Casco Bay Marathon. (I know, hard to believe, looking at me now; but I weighed 175 pounds then, not 240!) I ran four marathons all together, the last one the San Francisco Marathon in 1990, and also ran Mt. Washington four times. I was awarded Comeback Strider of the Year in 1987 after I got sober and began running seriously again.
I was forced to stop running in 1994 when I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the hips and since have had both hips replaced. I still volunteered at various local races for the Striders. For the last seven years I have co-directed the January Thaw Road Race with Gene and Ron Paquette. Our theme is still penguins!
Meet Gene Roy
I joined the Striders in January of 1978 and have been club president twice. I've coached at Winslow High School, but the last 21 years I've coached at Thomas, Unity, and Colby colleges in either track or cross country. I'm married to Sarah, a runner, and we have five children and seven grandchildren, and counting.
Results (all when I was half my age now):
My favorite race is the Sugarloaf Marathon.
Goals: I plan on entering trail races, since my knees and ankles don’t like pavement any more.
The club now has a popup tent for races and other events, thanks in part to a donation from member Mark Fisher. While Mark lives in New Hampshire, he annually joins Strider friends on the Central Maine Striders team for the Mount Washington Road Race. He and his wife, Linda, also vacation often in Maine. Thank you for your generosity, Mark!
Get to know more about Mark below.
I was an athlete in high school (Avondale High in Michigan) and thought in general running was a punishment versus a joy. After graduating my first college roommate was a runner. We started running our freshman year and kept it up through our time at Western Michigan. This is where I ran my first race, The Paper Chase 5K.
For the past nearly 30 years I have lived in a number of places (Michigan, Illinois, North Caroline, Pennsylvania, and now Chichester, N.H.) and run consistently. I have completed two marathons and about a dozen halves. I've run in the capital area race series for about 10 years and have been an age group winner several times.
I joined the Striders about a decade ago at the suggestion of Ron Paquette and Dean Rasmussen because I lost any excuses about not running Mt. Washington when I made the mistake of moving there. I am now 12 years in and would not miss it for anything. Ron, Dean, and Donna Jean Pohlman are not just my running heroes but life heroes as well. The joy is in the doing and being, not the time.
Currently, I work at Sanofi Pharmaceuticals as part of the Organized Customer Group account team. I find the work challenging and rewarding and am energized in how we can help patients with our medicines.
A big welcome and thank you to Shara Marquis, who recently was voted in as the new Central Maine Striders secretary. Get to know Shara below. You can also join club members and officers at a monthly Striders meeting, typically held at 6 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month. Check the club calendar for upcoming meetings.
I was not born a runner. I wasn't on any sports teams in high school or college. Most would not consider me athletic by any stretch of the definition. About four years ago, I realized I needed to do something to get healthy and maybe lose a bit of weight. So, I ran... I ran 1/10th of a mile before stopping to walk a bit.
I started the Couch to 5K program and on day one it took me almost 20 minutes to go 1.4 miles. It was hard, harder than I thought it would be, but I kept with the program until I could run a full 5K. I ran off and on since I finished, but started to take my running more serious when I had to train for my first half marathon in 2015. It was an amazing and tiring experience!
From that point, I went on to run a number of 5Ks, a handful of 10Ks, a few half marathons, and a couple relay races. I've cut back a bit this year, but I still get out to run when I'm able. I am definitely not a race leader. I run for the fun of it, the exercise, and just to get away from the hustle and bustle of life for a while. While I don't have a date set yet, I am planning on completing a full marathon at some point.
Currently, I work at Colby College in the IT department. I've lived in Waterville a little over a year now, and I'm slowly adding new running spots to my collection. I've been a Strider for just about a year and now, as secretary, I am hoping to help increase membership and spread the word about our club as well as lend a hand wherever I can. I love to help motivate people to be the best they can be and support them at their level.
We're excited to recognize two club members for their standout running achievements as female and male Striders of the Year. Susan Brooks, Stephanie LeBlanc, and Julie Millard were nominated by fellow club members for the female Strider of the Year award.
Please review the nominees' info below, as well as the male Strider of the Year nominees (Dave Drew, Mike Brooks, and Ron Peck) separately. Then vote for one female Strider of the Year and one male Strider of the Year. (Note: you must be a 2016 or 2017 club member to vote.)
To vote for Striders of the Year, send your picks to:
We’ll announce the Striders of the Year and recognize them at our annual dinner in January.