by Lindsey Madison
To close out the summer, Quarry Road Trails hosted the inaugural Quarry Road TrailFest with a 5k fun run and 15k challenge trail race on October 30th.
I have my sights set to tackle my first Half in Millinocket in December, so I was eager to get my mileage up. What better way than a 15k trail race through the woods of Quarry Road Trails? To add to the fun, two other Striders and I dressed up with the theme of "Cook-out Essentials", dressing as a Hamburger (Heather Cable), Ketchup (Ron Peck), and Reye's Mustard (myself).
The course was two laps of a 7.5k loop. It started in the middle of the big field near the yurt, followed a single track trail up The Big Hill, and then joined with South Koons to head down the hill. We then did the North Koons loop before continuing across the field, and down the hill toward the stream. We followed along the Messalonskee Stream for a stretch and then returned to the big field to repeat the loop.
The race was advertised as a challenge and with the hills and water features, it lived up to the hype without being extreme. The single track trail up The Big Hill was dry and leaf free, making the climb nearly pleasant. Watching my steps over the rocks and roots distracted me enough from that lactic acid burn building up in my legs. Sailing down the South Koons trail (also leaf free) was practically delightful! At the bottom of the hill, the boggy trail that ran along the Messalonskee fulfilled the promise of the race director, Jeff Tucker. My shoes did indeed get soaked, despite my best efforts to hop over the puddles (ponds) in the trail.
Overall, the race was quintessential type II fun!
The after party was a perfect reward. It featured beer from Cushnoc Brewing, grilled food from Grandpa's Kitchen, an awards ceremony, and a raffle. It was an all around pleasant time relaxing and chatting with the other runners. I am looking forward to tackling this race again next year!
Full race results from the Quarry Road TrailFest 5k and 15k races can be found here.
by Heather Cable
For some reason, I have always been compelled to get a hot dog costume and run in it… It’s probably because going around saying, “well hot dawg!” is oddly compelling. On October 29th, I finally decided to give it a try at the Wicked 10k with my brother and his wife, dressed as mustard and ketchup, respectively, who were running the 5k.
The race was full of other runners wearing a variety of costumes which made for an interesting and fun experience. The day started off cool which was perfect considering the full body hot dog costume I was wearing. As I toed the line, I figured I would just take it easy and have fun with it. Shooting for my typical easy run pace. That all changed when the air horn went off signaling the start.
As the run started, my legs were moving surprisingly comfortably despite the outfit I chose to wear. Since there was a dual start for the 5k/10k, there was no way to tell who was competing in which event or gage where I was in the 10k pack, so I just tried to maintain the comfortably hard pace. Once we completed the first loop, 10k runners continued for a second and the field decreased to me and another runner I had been with for nearly the whole race. It was at this point that I realized I may win this thing… as a hot dog. We cruised along the beautiful coastal course for a second loop and came in for the finish. I was the first hot dog finisher/first female finisher!
Note from the editor: On the very next day, Heather ran a very difficult 15k course at the Quarry Road Trailfest in Waterville dressed as a hamburger.
by Heather Cable
On Saturday, October 15th 42 runners gathered at the Kennebec River Rail Trail in Augusta for the Save Your Breath 5k. This event is a fundraiser to help support Free ME from Lung Cancer's mission to conduct research, help uninsured high-risk patients get access to early detection via low dose CT scans, help single-family low-income homeowners get access to radon air abatement systems, and to establish Covid relief funds in Maine hospitals to help keep the high-risk patients and front-line workers safe.
There was a great showing for Central Maine Striders! Sapan Bhatt was the 2nd male finishing with a time of 18:44.43 behind 1st place male finisher Kyle Simmons of Lewiston who had a time of 17:51.54. Heather Cable finished as the 1st overall female finisher with a time of 19:56.35, while Lindsey Madison was first for her age group. Jason Gredlics and Karl Foss rounded out the Striders finishers with times of 33:40.07 and 44:39.18, respectively.
More Save Your Breath 5k photos, courtesy of Maine Running Photos, can be found here.
1 320 Kyle Simmons 17:51.54 5:45 37 M Lewiston
2 312 Sapan Bhatt 18:44.43 6:03 33 M Waterville
3 372 Benjamin DeMerchant 19:49.74 6:24 35 M Augusta
4 394 Heather Cable 19:56.35 6:26 29 F Augusta
5 386 Preston Walling 21:21.30 6:53 29 M Gardiner
6 318 Steven Dubois 21:45.63 7:01 50 M Lisbon Falls
7 384 Adam Schoff 22:08.24 7:08 38 M Farmington
8 395 Heather Freeman 22:57.35 7:24 27 F Smithfield
9 331 Alice Cregg 23:37.71 7:37 51 F Buckfield
10 385 Sarah Martin 23:53.38 7:42 56 F starks
11 344 Phoebe Olcott 24:09.95 7:47 11 F Brunswick
12 382 Susan A Olcott 24:12.04 7:48 45 F Brunswick
13 397 Lindsey Madison 25:03.85 8:05 34 F Waterville
14 307 Ryan Grant 25:52.47 8:21 13 M Sabattus
15 398 Lizzie Baker 25:57.13 8:22 41 F Harpswell
16 373 Bart Shattuck 26:04.80 8:25 65 M Winslow
17 327 Marsha Brown 26:47.15 8:38 44 F Augusta
18 336 Tina McGillicuddy 27:48.15 8:58 43 F Lisbon
19 349 Rikki Garcia 27:50.34 8:59 31 F Clinton
20 399 Dylan Dillaway 28:14.38 9:06 44 M Vassalboro
21 313 Leah Hultstrom 29:47.28 9:36 21 F York
22 326 Johnida Dockens 29:49.09 9:37 50 F Searsport
23 319 Sue Kistenmacher 30:57.81 9:59 68 F Farmingdale
24 370 Julie Keithley 31:10.43 10:03 51 F Chelsea
25 392 Catharine Audette 31:49.56 10:16 43 F Winthrop
26 388 Vicki Bennett 32:08.04 10:22 52 F Weld
27 371 Carol Hope 32:12.23 10:23 56 F Sutton
28 314 Lauren Schoff 32:54.53 10:37 22 F Cape Neddick
29 317 Nathan McGillicuddy 33:05.60 10:40 13 M Lisbon
30 329 Jason Gredlics 33:40.07 10:52 33 M South Portland
31 375 Jennifer Small 34:02.70 10:59 53 F Richmond
32 393 Melissa Hannon 34:53.91 11:15 52 F Kents Hill
33 383 Norann Garcia 35:42.51 11:31 33 F Clinton
34 321 Kasey Hutchinson 37:41.22 12:09 2 F Gardiner
35 376 Rebecca L Grant 38:00.96 12:15 42 F Sabattus
36 389 Reagan Grant 38:01.04 12:16 11 F Sabattus
37 379 Nancy Morin 39:19.32 12:41 51 F Winthrop
38 323 Taylor Coutts 43:33.46 14:03 12 F Augusta
39 325 Samantha Coutts 44:23.12 14:19 40 F Augusta
40 390 KARL FOSS 44:39.18 14:24 41 M Waterville
41 396 Marcus Hall 44:39.26 14:24 44 M Waterville
42 324 Holly Morgan 57:28.71 18:32 43 F Augusta
by Ryan Goebel
On October 9th, runners and volunteers gathered at Waterville's Quarry Road Recreation Area for the 3rd annual Central Maine Striders Fall Classic 10k road race. Beautiful fall colors graced the trees and frost covered the ground as runners checked in for the race on this cool Sunday morning.
Before the start of the race, it appeared that the men's race had the potential for a speedy battle between Bar Harbor's Judson Cake, former Thomas College runner Harrison Mosher, and Messalonskee High runner Pierce Coughlin, with Striders Drew McCormick and Ron Peck hoping to stick with the pack. For the women's race, Strider Heather Cable looked to be the favorite amongst the open runners, but the Master's Women division looked to be tight with one-third of all runners falling into this category.
In the end, Harrison Mosher took the crown with a time of 36:27, besting JudsonCake by 31 seconds. However, Cake did earn the prize for the top Men's Master runner. Heather Cable did indeed nab the overall woman's spot with a time of 42:18, nearly seven minutes ahead of the next fastest woman. Strider Katherine Collins grabbed the award for the fastest Women's Master runner, with a time of 49:38.
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.