by Cecilia Morin
On the morning of this year’s Doc and Mardie Brown 5K, I added a new step to my typical race day ritual when I tied a multi-colored cloth mask (sewed by my grandma) around my face. My dad, fellow Central Maine Striders member Brian Morin, and I arrived at the Alfond Youth & Community Center around 7:00AM to check in to the race. Just before 7:30AM, the start time for our wave, masked runners gathered loosely around the starting line. We received our signal to “go” and off we went charging across North Street’s flat terrain with the knowledge that we would soon tackle a steep hill. Once ensuring that everyone around us had sufficient space, we removed our masks. After charging up the “Colby hill”, I solidified my game face and focused on maintaining a powerful stride. The rewarding downhill on Mayflower Hill was followed by a short incline then a turn. I momentarily lost my rhythm turning on to the uphill on West Street, but then I regained my stride with the motivation of an approaching finish line. I turned left into the Alfond Youth & Community Center parking lot. Looking at my watch, I told myself I still had time to break 21 minutes. I ran through the finish line, clocking in at just under 21 minutes. After my usual post-race hands-on-my-knees crouch, I placed my mask on my face and walked to my dad and the other finishers.
The aspect of this year’s Doc and Mardie Brown 5K that stands out to me the most is how much the event felt “normal” in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Just like any other race, I tied up my racing flats and I wore a race bib. I still slowed down running uphill and I still appreciated the downhills. I still did not beat my dad (maybe next year) and my legs still felt sore after charging the “Colby hill”. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to run in a (non-virtual) road race while feeling safe about the implemented public health guidelines.
Cecilia Morin and her dad, Brian.
(all photos courtesy of David Colby Young and Maine Running Photos)
Cecilia, originally from Waterville, is a senior at Dartmouth College whose passions include running, art, and cooking.