We are sad to announce that a former member of the Central Maine Striders and inductee to the Maine Running Hall of Fame, Leona Clapper passed away earlier this summer.
From her obituary in the Bangor Daily News (Jul 5, 2020):
Leona E. Clapper
March 11, 1930 - June 28, 2020
BUCKSPORT - Leona E. Clapper, 90, passed away peacefully on June 28, 2020, surrounded by her loving family. She was born on March 11, 1930 in North Haven, Maine, to Clarence and Lena Stone. She spent most of her adult life in Bucksport, where she raised her twelve children with her husband of 67 years, Charles. She had a strong love for her family and friends. She was always smiling and ready to give a hug to all.
Leona was a competitive runner in the local community for many years. She completed a number of marathons. She was well known and admired among runners. In 1992, she was inducted into the Maine Running Hall of Fame.
Besides running, Leona also loved playing bridge and knitting. She and her husband frequently played in bridge groups. She knit numerous items for family and friends, and also donated many to her church's craft fair. She was a long time parishioner of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Bucksport.
In addition to her parents, Leona was predeceased by her sister Harriet Pendleton and her husband Danny Pendleton, by her sister Eleanor Jackson, by her daughter Barbara Thompson, and by her sons-in-law Richard Stevens, Richard Leach, and Richard Schroeder.
Leona is survived by her husband Charles, her sister Marjorie Pendleton and her husband James Pendleton, her brother-in-law Paul Jackson, her son Charles and his wife Alta, her daughter Leona Stevens, her daughter Catherine Leach, her daughter Theresa Clapper, her son Thomas Clapper, her son-in-law Thomas Thompson, her son Gerard Clapper and his wife Caskie, her son Joseph Clapper and his wife Renee, her daughter Margaret Jones and her husband Christopher, her daughter Mary Buck and her husband Bryan, her daughter Patricia Craig and her husband John, and her son Michael Clapper and his wife Regina. She is also survived by dozens of grandchildren and great grandchildren.
There will be a private service for family only later in the summer.
There will be a celebration of life for family and friends at a later date.
Arrangements by Mitchell-Tweedie Funeral Home and cremation Services Bucksport.
And from her 1992 Maine Running Hall of Fame profile:
Unselfish Giving Has Made All the Difference
A native of North Haven, Leona Clapper, born March 11,1930, is one of the legendary Clapper family of Bucksport, perhaps the best-known running family in road racing from the late 1970s through the ‘90s. Leona and her husband, Charles, also an avid road-racer, raised twelve children, six of whom took up competitive running. The best-known was Gerry, who became one of the best college distance runners ever to run for the University of Maine.
Leona, a housewife and mother most of her life, started running when she was 48 in 1978, drawn into the sport from watching her children run. “We decided we wanted to do it too,” she said in 1994, a few months after she was inducted into the Maine Running Hall of Fame at its ceremony in Waterville. Leona was one of only a few women who competed in the 50-plus age bracket during the early 1980s, and she set many course records.
Her best career efforts include a 22:09 5k at age 54 in 1984; and a 1:18:52 10-miler at age 52 in 1982, when she also ran her fastest marathon, 3:50:33, in Orono. Among her best races were a 45:33 in the Great Pumpkin 10-K in 1981 at age 51; 22:39 in the Cranberry Island 5-K, 1982; 22:29 in the Terry Fox 5-K, 1984, age 54; and 72:14 15-K at Schoodic Point in 1984.
Through 1994 she had completed six marathons, her first at the Paul Bunyan Marathon in Orono in 1980, two years after she started running. A member of the Central Maine Striders, she was honored as Strider of the Year in 1986. Among her many great admirers over the years was Jerry Saint Amand, president of the Central Maine Striders from 1985 through 1990. Saint Amand wrote the following about one of his favorite people: “It’s easy to overlook this gentle, gray-haired lady, now in her late 60s, should you see her in a group,” said Saint Amand. “She has never been loud, always a simple person in dress and manner, and she would blush and poo-poo you should you recognize her as one of the leading lights of women’s running in Maine for many years.
“It was never her running times that made Bucksport’s Leona Clapper someone you’d notice at the top of state race results. It was instead her love of running, the surprise within herself at her love of age group competition, and her becoming the unofficial ‘mother’ of all women runners that made her a core person in Maine running. This is a woman who started late in life, for it was daughter Margaret and son Gerry who were usually listed among the leading male and female finishers in the early to mid-‘80s. Leona didn’t start showing up in results until her late 40s. At 49, she was finishing the Grand Willey 10-K in August of ’80 in 58:13. Not much to shout about you might think, until you find her at age 50 crossing the finish line in the well-known Benjamin’s 10-K in Bangor in November of 1981, in 45:48,” continued Saint Amand.
“It was her determination to improve that kept her busy, but it was her gracious manner and genuine smile that won the hearts of all Maine runners and officials who knew her. Leona and husband Charlie opened their hearts and their home to runners from all over the state after each summer’s Tour du Lac 10-Miler in Bucksport, a tradition that continues today. It has been Leona’s warm words of encouragement to countless younger female runners that inspired them to keep going as she herself set the example that older women can run distance from the popular 5-Ks to marathons! Voted by Maine’s second-largest running club, the Central Maine Striders, as their female Strider of the Year in 1986, Leona also shared the special Bruce Ellis Award with her husband Charlie in 1991 for their contributions to running over the years,” added Saint Amand. Saint Amand concluded: “I am only one of the people who Leona has quietly encouraged when things were not going well, and her acceptance of life and its ups and downs continues to inspire many of us. The Maine Running Hall of Fame has places for Maine’s fastest male and female runners, and for others who have had long, successful running careers. I truly believe there must also be a special place for those whose unselfish giving of their hearts and souls to running has made the difference for so many others, and Leona Clapper is the finest example I know of.”
Former Maine Running publisher Bob Booker feels much the same way. He wrote in one of his issues: “One day this spring, Tanya went to the mailbox and retrieved a brown shipping envelope addressed to Ethan. She opened it and found a beautiful, hand-knit sweater with the words, ‘Paul Bunyan Marathon’ across the back and the legendary lumberjack himself on the chest. A note was attached that simply said, ‘For the little fellow.’ Right out of the clear blue! No strings attached! That’s the kind of person Leona Clapper is. A woman who has dedicated her life to the concerns of others before her own needs and desires.”
Race Director Patrick Guerette gave us this update about the Doc & Mardie 5k scheduled for August:
Over 20 years ago I ran the Palermo Days 5k, I vaguely recall the course, I have no idea my time, but I have a pretty vivid memory of watching an 80 year old lady finish the race, and being completely blown away by her effort. I know I had run other races with Mardie Brown, but for some reason this is the race that sticks out in my mind.
As a teenager, I know I didn't fully grasp how amazing Mardie or her husband Donald "Doc" Brown were, but after directing the Doc & Mardie 5k for the past 8 years, and listening to other Central Maine Striders share their affections and stories, it's hard not to amazed. It wasn't until after moving back to Waterville in 2012 that I learned Mardie was not only a runner, but more impressively, an age group record holder in Master's Swimming and that Doc was a tennis & racquetball player into his 90's, when injuries slowed him down to just working out several times a week.
Now, as Race Director for the Doc & Mardie 5k its been my pleasure to honor the memory of Doc & Mardie, share their story, and hopefully inspire others to get & stay active at any age. I hope you will join me at the Alfond Youth & Community Center on Saturday, August 22nd for the 15th Annual Doc & Mardie 5k. We are currently working on a plan that would allow us to hold a live race with appropriate social distancing measures. For more information, please visit https://docmardie5k.weebly.com/.
The Central Maine Striders are proud to have several active members that have been with us since the early days of the club. "Catching Up With The Pack" is where we track some of them down and get some updates on what's going on in their life these days. Last month, we caught up with Gust Stringos. And this month, as I was gathering articles for our latest edition of "Running Backwards: A Jog Through the Strider Archives", I came across a couple excellent articles by Joanie Rhoda about her experience qualifying for the Boston Marathon at the age of 59, only to have her Boston experience marred by the 2013 bombing. Since our flashback to 2013 was getting to be a pretty long article, I decided to include her 2012 and 2013 marathon articles here, along with our "catching up" with her.
I believe the last time I wrote in the Club newsletter was in 2013 after running in the Boston Marathon. That was the race where the terrible bombing happened at the finish line. I had reached the 25 1/2 mile mark with less than a mile to go when the throngs of runners were stopped in their tracks and could not complete the race. It was a heartbreaking moment for me and I’m sure for thousands of other runners to not complete something we had aspired to and trained for, for months and even years.
However, I found a way I could mend the brokenness I felt over what happened. In the spring of 2014, my son Adam, who was flying home to Maine from Seattle where he lives, met me in Boston and together we ran the last mile of the marathon. It wasn’t quite the same as it would have been on race day – we had to dodge people on the sidewalks – but it did heal my heart somewhat and brought some closure to an event that started out so joyfully and ended so tragically.
As a longtime member of the Central Maine Striders (it was the Maine Road Ramblers back in the 70’s), I was asked to provide an update on my running life now. Unfortunately I had to stop running in 2016 due to arthritis in my second toe. With bone on bone, it caused quite a bit of pain. I believe the injury was caused by dropping a can on my toe years ago or by a horse that stepped on my foot a long time ago. Surely running wouldn’t have caused it! My second toe was the only joint affected. In 2017, I had an implant inserted into the toe joint which helped decrease the pain but not enough for me to feel safe stressing it by running. I miss running very much. It was part of my life for 45 years, and wasn’t something I ever thought I would stop doing. In the beginning after the surgery, whenever I saw a runner on the road, I’d feel a stabbing sensation in my heart because I wanted to be that runner in the worst way.
It’s been 3 years since the surgery, and I can look back on the years and races with happiness and pride. I had run in countless races and completed 9 marathons, including 6 miles of the Boston Marathon while 8 months pregnant in 1984. The Club was a source of unity for runners like me. The joy of running united all of us, and because of that, we were all friends.
I have found other ways to exercise that are just as satisfying (well almost) as running – walking, bicycling, and backpacking. I am a section-hiker of the Appalachian Trail and have back-packed from Georgia to Vermont – over 1,600 miles – over 15 years. My husband and I have about 600 miles to go over some of the toughest sections of the entire Trail. I consider it an adventure of a lifetime which will take the rest of my lifetime to complete.
I look forward to reading the stories of other Club members, especially the friends I had back in the early days.
From the March 2012 issue of The Interval:
From the July 2013 issue of The Interval:
From the August 2013 issue of The Interval:
This month we're running back to 2013, which seems to have been a resurgent year for the Striders. In fact, you could probably say that it was the start to a new era for the club. There were a lot of great articles reminiscing about the past from some club members that had been around a long time, and at the same time, it seems that Patrick Guerette, along with the help of Harold Shaw and a few others, were bringing the club into the modern era. The webpage was created, a Facebook page started, and the Quarry Road Summer Race series was run for the first time.
Announcement for the 2013 January Thaw :
In early March of 2013, there was a Striders meeting and some of the items discussed included:
- "A new CMS slogan. "we share the roads" doesn't accurately reflect the makeup of runners in Central maine, because we share everything. [As far as I know, the slogan was just dropped and not replaced]
- Bringing back some CMS singlets and t-shirts for members.
- Developing a Central Maine Striders website. Key components being a race & events calendar as well as a way to join the Striders (printable or online reg). -- Harold Shaw
- Add any upcoming races to the Facebook Page under events, great way to promote your race
- Lastly, an outline of Patrick's plans for the summer race series to be held at the Quarry Rd:
And by the end of the year, the new officers for the club were made official:
And here are the full results from the first ever Quarry Road Summer Race Series, as published in various issues of The Interval that year:
Congratulations for making it to the end of another marathon jog through the Central Maine Striders archive. Sometimes, you never know where running backwards can take you. Although, I recommend you run forwards in all cases not related to reading articles about the history of the Central Maine Striders.
In case you haven't heard, the Quarry Road Summer Race Series is happening again this year, albeit in a slightly different format due to the unique nature of the pandemic world we're living in right now. Just in case you didn't know about it yet or if you just want to get more information, Patrick Guerette (the founder of the event) sent along this message:
COVID-19 has really crushed the local racing scene this summer, which is one reason why I am thrilled that we were able to land on a racing format that provides an option for runners to compete. Not only are the courses just as challenging, time trials also add a unique mental test to the race, as it's much easier to push yourself when you are trying to close the gap on another runner, or running scared. Simply put, if you are able to push yourself on a solo effort, it will make you a stronger runner & racer in the future.
With nearly 60 runners signed up to run this summer, and over 40 finishers in each of the first 2 weeks we have exceeded our original expectations for the series this summer. With that said, if you are not signed up for the series yet, it's not too late, there are still options to register for 1, 3 or all 9 (6 remaining) races by clicking here.
After the first 2 weeks, it looks like there will be quite a few closely contested age group battles, which adds a bit of excitement to the race series, if you want to keep up on the results, we invite you to view our race results and standings online here.
See you on the trails!
Bonus Question: Do you know what year Patrick organized the first Quarry Road Race Series?
Bonus Information: As a paying member of the Central Maine Striders, you'll automatically get 10% off your registration for the Quarry Road Race Series.
"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.
Alicia Wilcox is a mother of 13-year-old twins and an associate professor at Thomas College. She teaches forensic science and criminal justice classes. She also has a forensic consulting company and likes to garden, travel, and hike.
"I started running in the summer of 2014 at age 36. I was in the middle of my PhD program and expressed my feelings of stress to a friend. She was training with another woman for the Maine 1/2 marathon. They intended running a long run of 8 miles that weekend. I said I would join them for two or three miles. I ended up running the 8 miles with them and felt great. A few weeks later I applied for a cancellation spot in the 1/2 marathon and got in. I completed that 1/2 in under 2 hours with very little training.
I was hooked and running helped me through the stress of my PhD. I have since completed 16 half marathons, my most recent was the Shipyard Maine Coast Half, which was virtual, meaning, I ran by myself!
The women I used to run with don't run anymore. So this year I decided to join the Central Maine Striders to make new running friends. I participated in the January Thaw and ran with a small group one Sunday morning before the pandemic struck. I look forward to meeting new striders in the future. At the moment I am running the quarry road series and a 312K series Baxter to Baxter (from the state park to Baxter Brewing, in Lewiston).
I love the simplicity of running, all you need is a good pair of sneakers and some happy music."
Alicia, we're glad you're a Strider and hope to see you and get to know you at more Strider events in the future, whenever we're able to hold in-person events again.
The Central Maine Striders are proud to have several active members that have been with us since the early days of the club. One of those members, whose name you may recognize from our latest Running Backwards article, is Gust Stringos. Since he was featured under the "New Members" section back in 1983, we thought we'd reach out to him and get an update. Here's what he had to say:
I am 65 now, and live in the same house in Skowhegan! I did run the Maine Coast Marathon, with a time just under 3:05, not enough to qualify for Boston. I did continue my medical training, and have been a family practice physician in Skowhegan for 30+ years, and am currently Medical Director of Redington-Fairview Hospital here. I still enjoy gardening and Beekeeping. Two years ago, I tore a hamstring muscle in a skiing accident, and my competitive running has taken a big hit as a consequence, but I still try to get in 2-3 miles several times a week. And I am still proud to be a Central Maine Strider!
Gust, we're proud to have you as a longtime member as well. Thanks for giving us an update!
This month we're running way back to 1983, the semi-historic year when the Interval was first "computerized". Check it out!
Either the archives are missing the January and February 1983 issues, or no Interval was made in those months. There was an invitation for the Striders annual banquet that was sent out in January, but that seems to barely count as an issue of The Interval (the greatest central Maine-based running newsletter over the last 40 years or so).
However, the March issue featured a major Striders announcment -- the club entered the COMPUTER AGE!
Back in 1983, the Striders' annual banquet seemed like a pretty impressive affair. 63 people attended! The newly elected board of officers included Dean Rasmussen, Gene Roy, and Geoff Hill (all of whom are still active members to this day). Current member Sarah Roy won an award for Most Improved Strider. The 1983 club even had a New Balance representative speak at the banquet! And they ended the banquet with a showing of a movie about the 1981 Hawaii IronMan Triathlon (remember, this was long before Netflix or even DVDs existed). Sounds like it was a pretty exciting night.
The January Thaw Road Race was postponed that year due to bad weather. Geez... that never happens in Maine in January. Oh wait, (...checks January Thaw archives...) it happened this year and last year.
I usually don't include old finance information in these flashbacks, but the balance of $96.53 from February 2, 1983 has to be the lowest that I have ever seen the club's balance get, and I'm guessing that all of the current and former club Treasurers would agree.
The April 1983 newsletter included coverage of that year's Killarney's 10k, which saw a new course records set for both the men and the women. Current member Rick Stuart ran sub-35 minutes.
It turns out that Fred Judkins wasn't using just any computer for the new Striders member database. He was using an all-caps APPLE computer. Fancy stuff. [As a side note, I think I got my first computer, an Apple IIe, around that same time]
It seems that the city of Auburn tried to pass an anti-joggers and skiers law. No word on how a law against joggers and skiers would affect runners. Also, how often were people skiing down the side of the road an actual problem? I know this is Maine and all, but..... really?
In the May 1983 Interval, the newsletter editor announced that they were going to start profiling one member each month, selected at random. [The 2020 newsletter editor is thinking about implementing this "random" method to choosing members to profile in the "Meet Our Members" section.]
They were also looking for articles from members [Another note from the 2020 editor: Time may have moved forward by 37 years, but we're still looking for article from members. If anyone would like to help out by writing an article for our newsletter and webpage, send an email to email@example.com.]
And, they were looking for someone with a copier that could copy onto both sides of paper. [The 2020 editor would like to let you know that we are no longer searching for two-sided copying capabilities.]
Gene Roy was looking for Striders to join him for a Mount Washington road race team. This was the year that Ron Paquette and Dean Rasmussen succumbed to Gene's pleas to get a Striders team for this uphill race. Apparently, they've been addicted to that hill since that year, considering that they've ran it every year from then until now. As you all know, the race has been cancelled this year due to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Let's hope these two fine gentlemen get a chance to continue their streak next year.
It's hard to believe that a couple Striders in 1983 ran the London Marathon, but that's exactly what Susan Adams and Linda Snow did. This was only the third year that the London Marathon was run. Unfortunately, these two women are no longer members of our club, but I'd love to hear where they are now and if they're still running.
In other "international" news, there were some Striders preparing for the Boston Marathon. Rick Stuart was gunning for a sub-2:30 marathon and Geoff Hill was aiming to be a bandit.
Rick Stuart primed his way to the Boston Marathon by capturing 7th place in the Readfield Boston Primer 15-miler. That must have been quite the field if Rick only got 7th.
The Striders fielded a stellar team for the Great Downeast Maine Half Marathon back in 1983. The team featured long-time Strider all-stars Gene Roy, Geoff Hill, Ron Paquette, Sarah Roy, and Donnjean Pohlman. Not to be outdone, Rick Stuart finished 5th in the marathon that day with a nice sub-3-hour time. Wait... I thought Rick was preparing for Boston. [Editor's Note: He was.]
In the "New Members" section of the May 1983 newsletter, none other than current member Gust Stringos was introduced. Gust did run the Maine Coast Marathon that year, and still enjoys beekeeping and gardening.
By June of 1983, it seems that Fred Judkins was getting into his APPLE computer. Based on the amazing font seen below, it looks like he started using the computer for typing newsletters, besides just keeping a member database. Also, it seems like this issue marked the point in time where the club found a way to print/copy on both sides of a piece of paper.
Oh, and you gotta love the very dated title "Data Processor".
That same issue featured a profile on longtime member Jim Moore. 37 years since this article was written and Jim is still probably one of the most consistent runners in CMS. Jim, I think you've made your goal of continuing running through the age of 65 and we're extremely thankful to have been with you the whole way! Also, has anyone else out there commuted to work in Augusta by running the 21 miles? Now, that's dedication!
It looks like Rick Stuart didn't make his sub-2:30 goal at Boston, but 2:37 ain't too shabby!
Speaking of not shabby, Gene Roy ran a 22:13 at a 4-mile race in Portland.
While Gene was running his 4 miles in Portland, it looks like a large chunk of the Striders membership was running a 10k in China. Current members Geoff Hill, Jim Moore, and Donnajean Pohlman were listed in the results.
As the club's data processing and computerizing skills advanced, they started printing newsletters on colored paper. The colored paper trend in the newsletter continued until 1993 or so.
The June 1983 issue also included a list of all the current members, along with their addresses and phone numbers. We cut off the contact info here, but are showing you the members' names. We're very thankful for all the names that are on this 1983 list AND still on our 2020 member list.
There were some familiar names amongst two back-to-back Saturday 10k's in May of 1983.
At the Emden 10k, Rick Stuart came in second with a nice 5:36 pace. Dean Rasmussen, Donnajean Pohlman, Ron Paquette, and Gene Roy also placed in the top 10. No offense to Gene, but were there only 10 runners in this 10k? The Striders held 8 of the top 10 places, and there was 14 minutes between first and tenth place.
The next weekend, there was a bigger turnout of not just Striders, but of runners period. Our current club clerk, Alton Stevens, finished with an impressive 33:44 time. Gene Roy avenged his last(?) place finish from the previous week by cutting nearly 13 minutes off his time. We'll give Gene the benefit of the doubt and assume the Emden 10k was just a training run for the Boothbay 10k. It's too bad, though, that his place dropped from 10th to 31st. Numbers, places, and running can be strange like that sometimes. Geoff Hill, Jim Moore, and Sarah Roy were also part of the large CMS contingent at the race.
Susan Adams finished the London Marathon in a time of 4:19. No word on how Linda Snow fared. She's also not included on the list of members from the June Interval. Hmmmm... conspiracy theorists could probably come up with a great explanation for this.
Gust Stringos, introduced to the club back in the May 1983 newsletter and still a club member, finished the Maine Coast Marathon in 3:04:55. Jerry Allanach, another longtime Strider and current Chicago-area resident, came in at 3:18:06.
In the August issue that year, it was announced that the Striders would be hosting the 1st ever Sugarloaf Marathon. Of course, along with that honor came responsibility, so they were asking for volunteers.
Results from the first year of "The One-Hill Streak" for Dean Rasmussen and Ron Paquette were also in that August issue. Gene Roy and some other guys were also on the team, but had streaks that ended much earlier than 37 years.
So, you may be asking yourself, "who is this Dean guy?" Well, here's how he was profiled in that August 1983 Interval. Dean, thanks for continuing to be a Strider for all of these years!
Rick Stuart ran a high-altitude 10k out in New Mexico that year. Unfortunately, the Interval and/or the computer skills of the club weren't advanced enough to include pictures in the newsletter, so we'll never know whether the mentioned picture was a "real" road runner or if it was Rick.
In the President's Comments of the October 1983 Interval, Dean Rasmussen thanked all of the members that volunteered for the first Sugarloaf Marathon. We all know that volunteers are probably the most critical component of a successful race.
That issue also included race results for several CMS members, including Donnajean Pohlman's sub-4-hour marathon in San Francisco.
Gust Stringos seems to have had a good showing at the Twilight 5-miler with pace just under 6-minutes-per-mile. Ron Paquette and Donnajean Pohlman were also amongst the large group of Striders that ran the race in Skowhegan.
Those same three current Striders ran another race in Skowhegan that month and were joined by Sarah Roy and several other members.
The only current Strider to be listed in the results for that first Sugarloaf Marathon was Dean Rasmussen. He grabbed 14th place overall with a nice sub-3-hour finish. However, the date in these results was listed as 1982, even though the first Sugarloaf Marathon was held in 1983. Hmmmm..... do we have another conspiracy theory here, or was it just an innocent typo on an old APPLE computer?
A month later in Kingsfield, a giant group of Striders showed up for the Kingfield 10k. Alton Stevens, Geoff Hill, Dean Rasmussen, Jim Moore, Donnajean Pohlman, Ron Paquette, Sarah Roy, and Gene Roy were all there. Ron and Donnajean beat Gene and Sarah by about 20 seconds for the title of "top Striders couple".
The Kingfield and Sugarloaf area continued to be a popular area for Striders to race in that fall, with another big group running the Sugarloaf Uphill race. Gene Roy grabbed 6th place overall with a finish time of an even 32 minutes. Usual suspects Geoff Hill, Dean Rasmussen, Ron Paquette, and Jim Moore also finished the uphill race.
In October 1983, Geoff Hill ran the Casco Bay Marathon with a nice time of 3:12:32.
And in November 1983, CMS member Chris Bovie tied a course record at the Veterans Day 5k with a time of 16:04! Geoff Hill came in 6th with a time of 18-minutes flat. Gene Roy and Jim Moore opted for the half marathon that day and finished with times of 1:24:40 and 1:33:17, respectively.
"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).
by Harold Shaw
Let’s think for a minute - for the year 2020 we all probably had goal races, big plans and were going to accomplish many of them.
Basically, my goals in 2020 were to race more than I have in a long time, well as long as the old body held up to the demands of training for an October 18th super-secret race. Unfortunately, like most of you, back in March I put all those great plans, goals, or whatever you want to call them...well to be blunt I and most other runners I know threw most everything out the window when....
The Coronavirus pandemic happened.
Which largely ended many of our plans for spring racing and restarting of Strider group runs (thank you Sapan, Jordan, & Julie), where members were beginning to enjoy the camaraderie of being around our friends or meeting new friends through running again.
Unfortunately, the way things look now this pandemic has also put both the summer and possibly/probably the fall racing and schedule for any major races in jeopardy, along with Strider plans for group runs as well. This most likely means that our running will not be about preparing for racing (other than virtual races) or spending time running together anytime soon.
All those plans, goals and motivation to run - gone...so what are we supposed to do now?
Keep running of course.
Okay, enough whining about COVID 19, it is here, we are dealing with it and we have choices:
Okay, if you are reading this newsletter and are a Strider, #1 is not the answer you are looking for. I don’t know about you, but if I stopped doing the things I still can do, I would gain 20-30 pounds over the next few months and become unhealthy again. Like most of us I have worked too hard to go back to that lifestyle.
#2 is appealing to many of us, constantly training for races either believing that they will probably be canceled or turned into virtual races just doesn’t work for most of us. It will probably only result in injury or burn-out.
Unfortunately, without being too negative, I just don’t see major races happening until there is a vaccine or some miracle cure comes along from the good people over at Colby - which means no major races in 2020. However, I am hopeful that there might be some smaller local races allowed in the fall.
For me, the choice was easy #3.
Base Building - Building a good mileage base is crucial for running better - just the way it is. Putting in the miles necessary to be in shape before the training that we will be doing for races in the future is a great investment in our running - call it prep work. Especially since there is no pressure to perform or get ready for a race anytime soon, we can increase our mileage to higher levels at a healthy progression, versus the usual do too much too fast and finally get off the injured merry-go-round that many of us ride.
Weaknesses - We all have them and yes, we hate to admit it. Whether they are strength training, yoga, pre and post-run routines, improving running form, our diet, learning more about different training methods, attempting something new versus the same old same old that we always have done, looking at changes to running shoes and of course learning more about the mental side of running.
So much to do and so little time...well we have a little more time now to take a look at those weaknesses and make changes or turn them into strengths.
Staying Healthy - Running, in my opinion, does help to improve our health both physically, mentally and, from what I have read lately, probably helps improve the immune system as well. However, in these uncertain times, too much of a good thing can also be detrimental to our health. This is probably not the time to be doing Yasso 800s, 20+ mile training runs, 12x400 at mile race pace, or any of those myriads of workouts we runners do that leave us totally drained and may weaken our immune system at a time when we need it to be at its best.
Personally, I have taken the conservative approach and am attempting to limit my mileage to 25-35 miles a week, with most of the runs at the comfortable effort level, not a certain pace. Once or maybe twice a week, I might go ahead and do a comfortably hard run, but very little running at harder paces and then that is usually by accident. Also, I have limited my longer runs to 6-8 miles. Could I do more - sure, but at this point, I want to be healthy more than I want to increase my speed or mileage.
I know this does seem to conflict with my comments on base building, but if/when I decide to increase my base mileage I can do it intelligently and still be healthy.
Having Fun - How many of us take our running so seriously that we forget that for most of us running is not our day job and we need to look closer at why we run and if we need to make changes to make it a more positive part of our lives. Many of us plan, tinker, read about, study our training logs for trends, pour over graphs, charts and summaries of our recent efforts and we forget that our running is supposed to be something we enjoy...yeah fun, not yet another stressor in our lives.
Think about it, when was the last time you were out on a run where you stopped, looked around and thought to yourself “How lucky I am to be out doing this thing that I love!” Smiled a big smile, laughed out loud, then sheepishly looked around quickly to see who saw you laughing and still felt like the weight of the world has been thrown off your shoulders. If it has been a while you might want to think about what running really means to you. Running should not be another chore that we dread simply to get ready for another race - a means to an end.
Running can be so much more than that.
If you primarily run on the roads, maybe attempting some easier trails (there are several in the area), barefoot strides on grass, running at different times of the day, doing a scavenger hunt while running, stopping to take photos of odd, unusual or stunningly gorgeous scenes that you will see. There are many things that we can do while we are running to make it seem less like drudgery and more fun.
No, it does not always mean to be plugged into your music playlist either, it might be time to listen to nature’s music.
The reality is that
Runners run for many reasons and having the motivation of an upcoming race is great, although not being able to race is not the end of our running journey. Especially, when we are members of the Central Maine Striders because we are also a part of a larger running community that supports and helps each other with our running and often beyond running.
The next time you can - watch how children run. They do not run hunched over, their faces grim and focused on the ground in front of them as they gasp for air - you know like the guy in the photo below.
They run with joy, giggles and abandonment that we have forgotten in our efforts to be grown-up. Their heads are up, big grins and lots of laughter and yes, they do suddenly stop to look at the butterfly flitting around their heads or the thing crawling around on the grass. Maybe we need to lighten up and find some of that joy in our running and make running fun again.
At some point the pandemic will be under control enough so that racing and our training for those goals we have will return, but until it does we can keep running, smile more, remember to stop in the middle of a run and looking around thinking about the idea that “I get to run, versus I have to run” and yes, running can be fun.
Who knows maybe I will get to train for that super double-secret race on October 18th, but I don’t think that I will be holding my breath too long in hopes of it actually happening.
However, I do hope that we get to start up the Strider group runs as soon as we are allowed to. Although I have a feeling that those of us who are in the more at risk group for the Coronavirus will wait until things are even more calmed down.
Stay safe and be well