by Julie Millard
These days, you can’t get much for 5 bucks. A cup of fancy coffee, a movie rental, a gallon of gas…or a delightful 5k at the Baptist Church in Smithfield. I last ran this family friendly race in 2012, and it was easy to convince Lindsey Madison and Ron Peck to join me this year. The modest entry fee, the prospect of running early to beat the heat, the tantalizing assortment of prizes, and the promise of a post-race breakfast at Early Bird were all powerful selling points.
Clearly, most Central Maine Striders appreciate a bargain (what other club offers a year-long family membership for only $20?), and so I was not surprised to see several other members at the venue. Camp Manitou was also well represented with counselors and what seemed like dozens of young campers in the field of about 50 runners. The out-and-back course along the shores of North Pond seemed like a walk in the park compared to my most recent 5k, but it could have been the nostalgia for simpler times that propelled me through to the finish.
The Striders cleaned up, winning many of the age group awards, and proudly claimed several loon-themed items, including a pillow, mug, and towel, as well as maple syrup and homemade jam. The race lived up to my memory as one of Maine racing’s “hidden gems,” an all-around great way to spend a Saturday morning in July with friends!