PORTLAND – Leah Frost approached the finish line of the 22nd Maine Marathon with such little fanfare, race officials failed to stretch the traditional break tape.
Instead, Frost simply stepped across the timing sensor as the women’s champion in a time of 3 hours, 47 seconds on a cool and overcast Sunday morning.
“Oh well,” said the 30-year-old native of Round Pond who now lives in northeast Vermont. “I was kind of hoping for it, but that’s OK. Perhaps there will be others.”
Indeed, this racing thing is rather new for Frost, whose competitive running career appeared to end after her freshman year at Wesleyan University a dozen years ago.
“I ran cross country at Wesleyan but not for very long,” she said. “I quit and then ran Boston as a bandit.”
She continued to run, but more for fitness than anything else. Not until she was teaching in Mexico (fourth-grade science and English) did a colleague entice her with speed work and detailed training.
“He was really dorky about it,” Frost said, “but I got excited about doing something.”
She ran road races in Mexico, then returned home in April and once again ran Boston without registering, her sixth such marathon as a bandit. It was her parents who made a gift of the Maine Marathon registration fee.
“This is the first one I’ve actually raced,” she said. “Before, I was just trying to finish.”
Frost earned a $500 check for Sunday’s victory. Erin Nixon, 24, of Boston was second, more than three minutes back, and Dana Deingenis of Norwood, Mass., was third in 3:08:15. They won $250 and $100, respectively.
“I should just have an entrance fee fund,” said Frost, whose dorky friend and his wife both ran the Twin Cities Marathon in Minnesota Sunday. “They were both trying to qualify for Boston. So it would be fun if we could all run there together.”
ROB GOMEZ of Saco looked at his watch halfway through Sunday’s Maine Marathon and figured his chances of earning a $1,000 bonus for breaking 2:25 were poor.
“I was about 1:13 flat,” he said. “Definitely off the pace I wanted. I didn’t think it was going to be my day.”
Three miles later, new energy flowed through his limbs and he picked up his pace.
“Runners talk about that elusive second wind, and I caught it (Sunday),” he said. “After 16 (miles), things really started to click.”
Gomez won the race in 2:24:22 to earn the bonus with plenty of time to spare. Adam Goode of Bangor won $250 for second place (2:34:38) and Matt Rand of Cape Elizabeth $100 for third (2:35:14).
GRANT BERTHIAUME won the wheelchair division in 2:19:59 despite a broken steering mechanism over the final nine miles. Berthiaume, 51, of Tucson, Ariz., was one of three men sharing a quest to complete 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 weeks.
The other two wheelchair racers are Aaron Roux (2:37:50) of Tucson and Paul Erway (2:56:27) of Shelbyville, Ky. They spent Saturday at a marathon in Bristol, N.H., and fly next weekend to Baltimore (Saturday) and Chicago (Sunday).
Maine was number 36 on their list, which includes a double dip on Nov. 17 in different time zones. Their itinerary calls for a 7 a.m. marathon in Philadelphia followed by an 11:30 a.m. flight to Las Vegas for a late-afternoon (4:30) marathon in Nevada.
“That’s going to be our ultimate day of racing,” said Erway, 54. “Two marathons in one day.”
Their adventure began Jan. 5 in Jackson, Miss.
“I told these guys that it would be the toughest marathon they do all year,” Berthiaume said, “but we’ve probably had 10 marathons since then that were tougher.”
The most difficult came in the hills of Asheville, N.C., and took Berthiaume, who has wheeled through Boston in less than two hours, 3:38.
“The hills were so steep that you had to go up backwards,” he said. “I had never gone up hills backwards before.”
WALDOBORO NATIVE Courtney Blasius, 29, pushed a baby jogger bearing a yellow sign with bold black letters reading Runner With Assistive Device.
Seven years ago, shortly after graduating from the University of Vermont, Blasius experienced serious side effects from a birth control pill called Yaz, she said, resulting in her heart stopping and no oxygen flowing to her brain for 10 to 12 minutes.
“I had to relearn how to walk and move in everything physical,” she said shortly after crossing the line in 3:51:26, alongside her 60-year-old father, Doug.
Blasius keeps an online journal of her recovery efforts that can be found at supportcourtney.blogspot.com.
MIKE AND KRISTIN KISS of Illinois brought an entourage of 30 to take part in the final race of their 50 states in 100 hours tour of half marathons. Many of them ran Sunday morning. All of them attended a post-race gathering at the Allagash Brewing Co.
Four years ago they decided 13.1 miles was the perfect distance for a challenging race that still allows for sightseeing and sampling local tastes and cultures.
“We’ll check out some breweries and have some doughnuts,” said Mike Kiss, a corporate banker who writes about their adventures at 50in100.com. Both he and his wife, who works in insurance, are 31. They’ve been a couple since they were 16.
So what’s next?
“I think we’ll look for the next adventure,” he said. “We’ve dabbled in triathlon. Maybe (a race on) every continent. I don’t think we’re looking to repeat this in marathon form.”
Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: