by Ryan Goebel with photos from the AYCC
On Saturday, August 20, runners gathered at the Waterville Alfond Youth Center for the annual Doc and Mardie Brown 5k. Former Central Maine Striders members, Doc and Mardie Brown exemplified the spirit of our club, with both of them being active well into their 90's. This run is held in their honor and even includes an award for the oldest finisher.
After running a modified course laster year due to construction on Mayflower Hill Drive, the race returned to its traditional course which includes running up the big hill from North Street to Colby College in the first mile. While almost every runner who has ever run this race has very strong opinions about this hill, most runners can agree that it's (mostly) downhill for the last 2 miles of the race.
From start to finish, the race was led by Joshua Way, former Waterville resident and young speedster who was temporarily back in the state with his family. The last time that Way ran Doc & Mardie was 2020, which was also the last time the course including the big North Street hill. That year, as a 14-year old, he placed second to Eli Caret. This year, Way finished with a blistering fast time of 16:41, which not only improved upon his time from 2020, but also bested Caret's time from that year.
Andrew Knightly, a 50-year old runner who drove down from Orono for the race, came in 2nd with a time of 17:57. Braden Rioux, a Winslow High School runner, placed third with a time of 18:43. Rounding out the top 5 were Striders Ryan Goebel (18:46) and Drew McCormick (19:04).
Leading the women were Messalonskee High School cross country coach Vanessa Holman (22:17) and Winslow High School runner Addison Pellerin (22:30).
Longtime Strider Ron Paquette once again picked up the award for the oldest finisher. At the awards ceremony, he joked with Race Director Patrick Guerette that he should stop reminding him that Paquette is the oldest. Guerette replied that it must not bother Paquette too much, because he keeps coming back every year.
Besides the ten children that completed the youth fun run, this year's 5k featured some impressive times by a couple of future all-star runners, including 10-year-old Sawyer Wess (24:38) and 8-year-old Cora Wess (32:30). Keep an eye out for these two in future Doc & Mardie 5k's and other area races!
Official Results for the 2022 Doc & Mardie 5k: https://my.raceresult.com/215715/results
Youth 1-Mile Fun Run Results: https://runsignup.com/Race/Results/10338#resultSetId-334089
by Ryan Goebel with photos from Quarry Road Trails
The summer of 2022 marked another summer of Tuesday night trail racing at Quarry Road Trails in Waterville. This year was a transitional year, as there was a gap between outgoing Quarry Road program director Justin Fereshetian and the new program director Jeff Tucker. In the meantime, Patrick Guerette, Koren Coughlin, and a team of other volunteers including many Central Maine Striders stepped up to keep the series going.
Zach Ross narrowly edged Pierce Coughlin for the overall series win. Alanna McDonough was the top overall female runner. Patrick Guerette (3rd place overall) achieved the highest place amongst Central Maine Striders members, with Vice President Kate Scott getting the highest place amongst the women Striders.
On August 16 after the final race of the series, race director Jeff Tucker handed out series awards and conducted a lucky draw raffle in which a lot of the runners who stuck around won some fabulous prizes.
Thank you to all of the runners and volunteers who continue to make this series a success year after year!
by Mark Fisher
The Central Maine Striders were well represented at this year’s Mount Washington Road Race. The race resumed a single day event with a mass start and all were anticipating a great edition to the summit climb in 2022.
I want to thank in particular the volunteers for this year's event. We shifted from our multiyear Saturday tradition of trash pickup (no jokes here please) to Friday registration parking duty. The weather was pleasant and it was enjoyable to ensure safe entry, parking and exit for all the runners and support people.
This is a unique and wonderful event and the organizers again did a great job (we all still feel that additional porta potties would be an excellent idea).
Striders running this year (in no particular order):
Alternate title: An Aging Runner- The Struggle is Real
First, some background. I started running fairly late in life, in my early 40’s. I had always hated running, but some friends started trail running and it sounded kind of fun so I gave it a try and fell in love. I never wanted to run a marathon- I was running for fun and fitness, and a marathon seemed like it would just be too hard on the body. The longest race I did was the Pineland Farms 25K, which I ran four times. Then I hit my early 50’s and apparently started my mid-life crisis by deciding it was time for a marathon.
Late in 2019 I signed up for the Sugarloaf Marathon. I heard that it's a fairly ‘easy’ course as marathons go, and I’d run the concurrent 15K twice. My training program called for a half marathon in early March, and I was surprised to find one nearby- the Lamoine Half Marathon. It fell on the right weekend and it was FREE. That race went well despite a temperature of 6 degrees with windchill and an extremely hilly course. It was so cold that the race director was encouraging folks that could self-time to start as soon as they were ready to go, rather than waiting for the 8:00 start time. I finished in 2 hours 30 minutes (56th out of 65 finishers plus 2 dnf), and felt quite smug about finishing 26 minutes ahead of a young woman in her late teens. At the time of that race, covid concerns were just beginning to build, and less than a month later Sugarloaf was canceled.
In December of 2020, Sugarloaf was on again! This time my training did not go as well- I really struggled with the longer runs. Lamoine was held virtually and I decided to skip it. When Sugarloaf was canceled again in mid-March, it was almost a relief.
In the fall of 2021 I recommitted to Sugarloaf 2022. My training was going… okay. I was definitely slowing down as I grew older, but plugging along. Time for the Lamoine Half Marathon. The weather was great- a balmy 16 degrees at the start and clear skies. I took advantage of the race’s flexibility and started 45 minutes early. I had listened to a podcast about marathon training and the trainer noted that many people find success with a combination of walking and running. I took that advice to heart and ended up with a time of 2 hours 50 minutes and dead last- uh oh. I was embracing the walking way too much.
The training weeks rolled by. The runs became longer… and then shorter. The Omicron surge came and went and Sugarloaf was a go! I went to pick up my bib the evening before the race only to discover I wasn’t in their system as a registered runner. I frantically searched my phone for a confirmation email… then my RunSignup account… nothing. I swore I REMEMBERED reactivating my deferred registration the previous fall. Luckily the race volunteer could see in their system I was deferred from previous years and had no problem reactivating my registration. Phew.
Race day! The weather was cool and cloudy with some sprinkles. Humid, but luckily the previous day's heat had broken. I felt pretty good for about ⅔ of the race. I had a few abdominal muscle cramps that disappeared with some gatorade and a hotspot on my arch that I put moleskin on. I spent 21 miles with an audiobook for distraction then switched to music. By then my legs and feet were so sore that I had trouble moderating my pace- I just couldn’t feel when I was pushing too hard until I realized my breathing was getting too labored and my heart rate was too high.
My finish time was 5 hours, 23 minutes, 514th out of 540 runners. I crossed the finish line in good spirits and super proud of myself. Two days later and my quads still hurt in a way I have never experienced before. Will I run another marathon? Highly unlikely. But there were times during my training when I thought, “If I can just get through this marathon maybe I’ll quit running.” Now I’m thinking, “Maybe I’ll do the 15K at Sugarloaf next year… and I can try for a better time at Lamoine… and maybe I could do the Augusta half again….”
by Ryan Goebel
The Millinocket Marathon might not be Maine's fastest or most competitive marathon, but it's probably the most famous. Race director Gary Allen started the race in 2015 as a way to help support a Maine community that has struggled since the closing of its mills. Inspired by the ethos of the Burning Man Festival, Allen came up with the innovative idea to make the marathon free to all runners, but with the tacit agreement that they spend money at the shops, restaurants, and hotels in Millinocket and the surrounding area. The inaugural 2015 race, which was only promoted through Facebook, attracted 6 finishers in the full marathon and 42 in the half marathon. Runner's World wrote an article about the first year's race, and the race has continued to grow and attract runners from around the country since then.
Back in 2015, I wasn't living in Maine and had never heard of Millinocket, but I remember seeing that Runner's World article and being intrigued about running this free marathon in a strange, exotic locale known as Millinocket. Lo and behold, a couple years later I found myself moving to Maine. I signed up for the half marathon that year, because a full marathon in the winter in Maine is just too crazy (right?), but my job at the time had other plans and decided to send me out of state that weekend so I couldn't run it. I ended up running the Santa Hustle Half Marathon in Portland the weekend before instead. Although it was cold, it wasn't Millinocket cold. Also, running in the area around the Maine Mall wasn't near as scenic nor fun as running the Golden Road in Millinocket.
I signed up for the Millinocket Half again in 2018, because a full marathon in the winter in Maine is just too crazy (right???) and I was running the New York City Marathon that November. Well, my overconfidence in how many races I could run in one year eventually caught up with me. About a month before New York, I started feeling some pain in my hip/groin area. I still ran the New York Marathon, but had to pull out of the Millinocket Half.
In 2019, I didn't even sign up for Millinocket because I was still injured.
In 2020, I was still struggling to recover and get back into shape from that injury. Also, there was a pandemic raging across the world with no vaccines, so the Millinocket Marathon and Half was cancelled.
Enter 2021. I was slowly getting back to running on a regular basis again. Covid vaccines had entered the world. Although I had a series of freak non-running injuries over the summer, myself and the world were slowly returning to racing. I ran in a few of the Quarry Road summer races and the Doc & Mardie 5k. I wasn't running fast, but I was running. I signed up for the Mount Desert Island Marathon as my "big comeback goal race", but then it was cancelled in early September due to concerns regarding the strained medical and emergency services in the area. I immediately signed up for the Millinocket Marathon.... the FULL marathon. As previously stated, running a full marathon in northern Maine in December is crazy. However, with my return to racing, I really, really wanted to finish a marathon before the year ended. I no longer cared about how cold it was going to be or how challenging the course was going to be. For the first time when running a marathon, I wasn't going to care so much about what my finish time was going to be, rather just that I finished.
Fast forward to December. I'm still not injured and my training really started clicking in the last month or two before the marathon. I'm ready. I have no idea what my goal marathon pace is, but I'm ready.
Standing at the start line while the national anthem was being sung, the cold (and nerves) started getting to me and I began shivering. Once the cannon went off to signal the start, I ran out with the opening pack trying to warm my body up. My fingers were especially cold and my toes were numb, but I was excited to be back to running a marathon. Relatively quickly, I fell into roughly 12th place. In my mind, I was running a slightly faster pace than I felt like I should be running, but I just wanted my body to warm up. It took close to five miles until I could fully feel my toes.
Normally in a marathon, you don't have to constantly think about where your feet are landing and what the footing is like; however, the Golden Road is effectively frozen dirt and an ice storm went through the area two nights before the marathon. As veteran Strider and Millinocket runner Julie Millard pointed out, "It was the first time I’ve ever raced in Yak Tracks. The conditions on the Golden Road were either the worst I had experienced or it just got inside my head. I was pretty freaked out."
Despite the frozen toes and icier-than-normal road conditions, running up the Golden Road that first time is pretty magical. There's the beautiful view of snow-covered Mount Katahdin and a surprisingly large number of spectators and volunteer water stops along the way.
By the time I got to the turn off the Golden Road just after Mile 6, the magic was starting to wear off. Having already climbed over 500 feet, I was ready for the downhill part of the course. Also, by this point, I was solidly alone in the race. The nearest runners ahead and behind me were at least 30 seconds in either direction. Heading back towards town on Millinocket Road, it was great to be back on pavement, even if there were still a lot of icy patches. However, there were suddenly way less spectators and water stations. It was lonely out there and although this section of the course is "net downhill," there are still significant uphill portions.
Soon before town, I was caught by surprise when the first of the half marathoners passed me (they had started ten minutes after the full marathon start). I didn't try to keep up with him or the next couple half marathoners that passed, but was nice to have someone up ahead that I could see. On one of the hills closest to town, my left calf muscle started tightening up. "Oh no, I'm not even half way," I thought to myself. The calf muscle tightness went away almost as quickly as it had begun, but the thought of it stayed in the back of my mind. I was briefly distracted from those thoughts as I ran down Penobscot Avenue through the center of town. I did my best to soak up the energy of the cheering spectators along the street.
As I approached the end of the Golden Road, I passed a full marathoner for the first time since the opening miles. This gave me a huge energy boost and I passed another as we ran under the inflatable archway that the Army National Guard volunteers had set up at the top of the Golden Road. Neither of those guys ever caught back up with me.
Back on pavement, I lost count of how many body parts were hurting. I couldn't wait for the race to be finished, but the only way for it to be finished was to keep running. Passing half marathoners who had obviously taken advantage of the free shots of Fireball along the way provided me with brief moments of needed entertainment. As I passed, one of them said, "Dude! Nice ice beard!" Hadn't this guy ever seen a bearded guy get a frosted beard while running in the winter? Eventually, I'd realize that my "ice beard" wasn't your standard frost beard.
By Mile 25, I just wanted the marathon to be over. This point in a marathon has always been painful, but I've never wanted one to end so badly as I did when I ran down the short, but very steep hill just before Mile 26.
Someone (possibly Martha Nadeau) yelled "Go Striders!" to me a couple blocks before the finish. I gave it everything I had going towards the finish line.
If you ever decide to run Millinocket (which I recommend that you do), don't forget that there's also the Crankle 2k the night before (where participants are encouraged to run in costume). I couldn't make it this year since I had to attend an online class at the same time, but I've heard from Julie Millard, Martha Nadeau, and others that it's a lot of fun. Also, shopping at the craft fair and all of the businesses in town before and after the race is well worth it.
Millinocket isn't the easiest marathon or half marathon, but it is perhaps the most magical. After all, Millinocket has the nickname of "The Magic City."
Sorry if we missed any other Striders in the results. Full results for all runners are found here.
Report by Ryan Goebel with photos by Ron Peck.
On the first Saturday in November, forty-five runners and several walkers showed up to the Kennebec Valley YMCA to run the Save Your Breath 5k. The race, which follows the Kennebec Rail Trail to Gardiner and back, is an annual fundraiser for the Free ME From Lung Cancer nonprofit organization, which is headed up by our club secretary Deb Violette.
Full race results can be found here.
by Amy Stabins
TUCARD- Maine’s most Terrifically (& Unnecessarily) Complicated Adventure Race and Duathalon. The race announcement came across my Strider’s FaceBook feed late last December and something inspired me to click through to see what they meant by ‘complicated’- and I was not disappointed. In that post, interested participants were provided with a map that had the ‘Shadow of the Sparkle Pony’ laid across it, and told that the race would take place within that shadowed area- there is no official route. The rules were this- racers must use at least two forms of transportation, and time adjustments would be made based on the mode chosen and whether or not the racers were on pavement or gravel/trail. In the months leading up to the race, GPS coordinates for the start and stop points would be released. And shortly before race day the GPS coordinates for three way points would be sent out.
I am not super competitive, but I enjoy a challenge. TUCARD is a race, a puzzle, and a scavenger hunt all in one. My first challenge was getting to know the area- I had never been to that part of Maine before. In the months leading up to the race I made five trips up to Orono and ran or biked most of the conservation areas and pocket parks within the Pony’s shadow. Thirteen hours before the start time I received the email with the way points, and one additional rule- The boglands running through the race area were designated The Bog of Despair. Every minute spent in the BOD would add ten minutes to the official time. I planned out what seemed like the logical course to follow, loaded up the bike, and headed up to the race.
At the starting line it quickly became apparent either my fellow racers were planning some epically misguided routes, or that I had missed scouting some crucial areas. It was too late to re-think my plan, so I forged ahead. My route took me across the BOD three times…
I arrived at the finish line in 1 hour 29 minutes, more or less in the middle of the pack. However, my adjusted time was 9 hours and 20 minutes, almost 5 hours behind the next ‘slowest’ racer! Crossing the BOD three times really hurt me. And I won the title of ‘Lost Dog’, the racer who covers the most miles (10.32)!
This might have been the most fun I’ve ever had racing- I can’t wait for next year!
Check out the TUCARD website for more information-
by Drew McCormick
-Waking up the morning of the 16th Annual Doc and Mardie Brown 5K, as many of the participants could attest, was a strange morning weather wise. It looked as if it was going to be cool but it wasn't really (mid 70's) and it was as humid as ever. If us Mainers weren't already used to it, the weather may have been downright debilitating. There with that out of the way, on to the race!
Arriving at the Waterville Alfond Youth Center was a little different due to the construction going on in the parking lot, but there was still plenty of room. I parked and got my race bib from some very friendly volunteers, and saw the race director Patrick Guerette zooming around! I informed him I was ecstatic that he would not be able to run this race, and that it gave me a chance for the age bracket win! I then headed right over to the Central Maine Striders tent for some pre-race nerve talk with Kate, Ron, Ryan and Julie which helped as always, I was then off for some warm up miles. There were racers warming up along North Street and everyone was friendly saying good morning to one another. Just an all around great feel/vibe to the air.
First up was the kids fun run which had an incredible turn out this year and was fun as advertised! I was lucky enough to help a little bit during the race by standing on the last turn directing the kids to the finish. It was a blast seeing the expressions and determination on the kids faces as they rounded the corner for the finish line! Directly after the fun run was the main event...the 5K!
Runners started lining up along the marked area for the race start on North Street headed toward Colby College as always, however road construction prohibited pedestrians from passing along the normal route. Patrick, the fearless race director (mentioned earlier), mastered the art of the pivot and laid out a new dynamic course which incorporated the trail along the Messalonskee stream behind the Alfond Youth Center. As the racers were lining up at the start the mood was light and jovial, Patrick said a few words thanking the sponsors, volunteers and participants then we were off!
Ron Peck and I charged out head-to-head as we bobbed and weaved through the pack from North Street onto the trail. The low light level in the trail due to the cloud cover made it a little extra difficult to navigate through the roots and frost heaves in the pavement but it was a neat change to the sudden and extended uphill start of the normal 5K race route.
Once we hit the road the race seemed to kick up a notch in speed, (Ron pulled ahead!) there is something about being in the open air and out of the tree cover. A fairly quick uphill on Edgemont Ave, then a long turning downhill from West St. onto Gilman St. made up the route until you hit the N Riverside Drive neighborhood where you made a short uphill loop. Just before the entrance to the neighborhood is where I made my glorious passes of Connor Pellerin and Ron Peck!
The plan was then to boogie back to the Alfond Youth Center by way of North street where you made a glorious finish under the big blow up finish line arch! I am happy to say the plan worked and I came in 2nd place with an official time of 18:57! After I caught my breath for a few I was able to socialize again and cheer on friends and other fellow participants.
The event flowed very smoothly with awards being distributed immediately after the race. The amount of prizes this year was spectacular with there being about 50 participants, a lot were reaping the benefits of their hard work! All in all this is a fantastic race regardless of the course layout. It has a real "hometown" feel as one of the racers, Andrew Catalina, said to me and that's why I personally like it so much. I hope this race continues to grow, if you were on the fence about racing this event in the past have no fear this is a fantastic event that skips all the "tude" and focuses on the FUN! See you at the 17th Annual Doc and Mardie Brown 5K! (PS: Don't forget all Striders get a discount on the race fees!)
(Full results from the 2021 Doc & Mardie 5k can be found here: https://my.raceresult.com/177915/results)
by Jordan Castillo
The time is 7:45AM on Wednesday, July 29, 2020. A few other Striders and I are at the starting line for one of the virtual 8k races within the Quarry Road Summer Series. It’s early, but the heat and humidity are strong. The thick aroma of the dense greenery and freshly cut grass floods my nostrils, and I feel as if I can nearly taste the scenery. Despite feeling a subtle daze, my heart begins to quiver with excitement as I look around at the five-or-so other Striders who are jogging in place, preparing their bodies and minds for the race ahead. And though there aren’t any spectators and it’s not a typical race environment, my body still fills with electric anticipation as I prepare to give it my all in my first ever trail race.
I warm up with a few butt-kicker’s, some high-knees, and a few other exercises to get my blood flowing. As the clock nears 8am, I gather with the other Striders (socially-distanced, of course!) at the starting line. To make sure we have plenty of space between each other on the course, we spread out the start times of each runner. This actually makes it a bit more exciting, because each runner has their own personal starting time, so the whole group yells and cheers as each runner takes off onto the course.
Finally, after 13 minutes of waiting for the other Striders to start their race, it’s my turn.
“Alright, Jordan, you ready?” Ron Peck asks, holding his watch. He glances at the countdown. “Ok. Three, two, one… GO!”
I take off like a bullet. I hear a bunch of voices hollering behind me. “Go, Jordan, go! Woo!”
About five seconds into the race, I realize I am definitely running too fast. I’m in the middle of marathon training, so eight kilometers doesn’t sound like much. But I can’t sprint for eight kilometers, and I quickly remember what the other Striders told me about the race. They warned me, “Don’t underestimate the hills. You’ll reach what you think is the top, and then suddenly you find yourself at the bottom of another hill!”
Find your pace. Find your pace, I tell myself. I settle into an eight-minute-per-mile pace as I steadily ascend the first set of hills tucked away in the back of the Quarry Road trails. The rolling hills remind me of a gentle roller coaster, taking me for a ride on trails flanked on either side by dense Maine forest. I pay close attention to my pace, “changing gears” on the uphills and downhills as if I were riding a bike. All the while, I remember to take in the lush beauty of the trails and to just enjoy the thrill of the race.
The hills slowly drain my stamina, but I continue to push forward. It’s only an 8k, it’s only an 8k, I tell myself in an effort to convince my muscles to give it everything they’ve got. As I descend the highest hill in the park, I feel a rush of victory. Just some small up’s and down’s from here on out, I think to myself.
After making it past the toughest hills in the race, I feel more confident about running the last segment with a bit more speed. I kick it into a higher gear, determined to see how quickly my legs can carry me through the last few kilometers.
I make it to the last hill. My body is yearning for a break and wants to just be done with the race, but my mind knows there is still plenty of energy left for the final stretch. As I near the top of the hill, I break into a full sprint and zero in on the finish line. I faintly hear a few of the Striders yelling. “Jordan, come on! You’re almost there! Go, go, go!” I propel forward as I absorb this encouraging energy. Zooming with my hands held high, I cross the finish line and feel a rush of satisfaction and relief.
I glance down at my watch. Thirty-seven minutes. I know I could have run a bit faster, but nonetheless I smile because I know I did well. I turn around and begin cheering as soon as I see the remaining Striders running the final stretch of the race. It turns out our staggered start times led us to finish within just a few minutes of each other, and everyone is soon on the other side of the finish line.
To celebrate the completion of our hot, sweaty 8k, we immediately dig in to the donuts a few of us had brought to the course. As we are munching, there is a communal feeling of victory and satisfaction. Yes, things may feel different from a typical race that would include the crowd energy and more runners, but I feel deep gratitude for the sense of true community that exists even in the small group of Striders around me.
For those of you out there who miss gathering for regular race events, let me join you by saying I feel the same way. On many days, the effects of the pandemic can feel heavy. But experiences like the virtual Quarry Road Summer Races have served as another example of an important lesson I’ve been learning throughout the past six months. With a bit more effort and creativity, we can continue to (safely) experience community and gather with others for fun events. So, I encourage everyone to reach out to their running friends (Striders and potential future Striders alike!) to come up with some fun, safe ways to continue competing. And especially when you are running on those Quarry Road trails, just remember: don’t underestimate the hills—enjoy them.
Jordan Castillo is the Vice President of the Central Maine Striders and works in admissions at Colby College.
by Patty Hallee
Being new to the running scene within the last year, my husband Mike and I decided it would be fun to try something different. So we signed up for the Quarry Road Summer Race Series. We didn’t realize how much different it would be trying to race on a trail vs the road. Trail running definitely requires a lot more work than the road. Again this was our first year and because of the Pandemic we all ran our own race and turned in our time and our GPS maps by Sunday evening. The series runs 9 weeks and starts with a 3k which takes you down the backside of the field by the Yurt and around the Riverside loop. It's not a bad run but still a challenge for an older, inexperienced runner such as myself. It was a fun run and made me want to do better. The next week is a 5k which takes you up around North Koons and back down around the first Riverside loop. North Koons is more of an uphill run, more challenging but still fun. Again it still drives you to want to be better. The third week is an 8K that takes you up around North Koons, back to South Koons and finishes you off running the Riverside loop. South Koons is a little tricky and following the arrows is very important or you can end up running it twice. And don’t let the word South fool you. You aren’t running downhill!!! Then you start over with the 3k week 4, 5k week 5 and the 8k week 6. Week 7 you start back with the 8k, down to 5k and then the 3k week 9. I have found this to be a fun series. We are very fortunate to have the trail system we have in this area that is well maintained by volunteers, and provides shaded spots to run when it’s really hot. I would recommend the Quarry Road Summer Race Series to anyone who is looking to challenge themselves to something a little different. And with next year hopefully being back to some type of normal it will also provide an opportunity to meet other runners in the area.
Patty lives in Waterville. When not running she loves to spend time by the pool and also volunteers at the Unified Champions Club at the Alfond Youth Center. “Spending time with my son and the other athletes is fun and simply puts a smile on my face.”