October 7, 2013

Maine Marathon holds miles of smiles, memories for runners

Nearly 1,000 runners attempt the marathon, and twice that number take on half the course.

By Glenn Jordan gjordan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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Runners take off at the start of Maine Marathon and half-marathon in Portland on Sunday. Rob Gomez, second from right, and Moninda Marube, in yellow at center, won the full and half-marathons respectively.

Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer

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Rob Gomez of Saco receives a hug from his girlfriend, Breagh MacAulay, after winning the Maine Marathon Sunday in a time of 2:24:21 in Portland on Sunday.

Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer

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Away from the leaders, stories of inspiration were everywhere. The nonprofit race distributes proceeds to a host of charities, including at least $50,000 to STRIVE, which helps young adults with disabilities. Smaller but still-significant amounts go to worthy groups in Portland, Falmouth, Cumberland and Yarmouth.

The Maine Army National Guard, for the eighth year in a row, organized a tribute march of service members carrying 30-pound rucksacks to honor 56 comrades who have died while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Jen Hawley, 27, and Matt McAvoy, 32, of Lewiston spent more than six hours on the course, wearing matching white running shirts that read BRIDE and GROOM. They ran the marathon side-by-side to symbolize the journey of their marriage, which became official after the race with a ceremony at Pedro Field, adjacent to the finish line.

Ten years ago, Grace and Lucy Tumavicus of Portland surprised their mother, Amy Hewitt, with T-shirts reading “Go Mommy Go” and “Go Amy Go” during this same race, which commemorated Hewitt’s completion of the Boston Marathon a decade earlier as a 28-year-old.

Hewitt finished that 2003 Maine Marathon in a little over four hours. The next day, the sixth of October, she died of a heart attack. This weekend, more than seven dozen friends and family members gathered to remember Hewitt.

“We had 85 people come in from California, Michigan, Washington, D.C., all over,” said Ed Tumavicus, with an arm around his daughters, now 12 and 14 years old. “Probably a dozen people ran officially, actually more like 15 with the half and the relay and the marathon.”

Grace and Lucy joined their father for the final 2.2 miles of the race, along with a raft of others wearing white T-shirts bearing an artistic portrait of Hewitt’s face on the front and “Go Amy Go!” on the back in purple lettering.

“Our whole goal was to have a really fun party (Saturday night) that left everybody crying at the end,” Tumavicus said. “And that’s what we got. She was just a great person. We miss her a lot.”

With similar emotions, Chris Grover of Cumberland Center ran the marathon in memory of his brother Kevin, a second-grade teacher from Falmouth who died of a heart attack after a run last Thanksgiving. Kevin Grover was Maine’s 2010 Teacher of the Year.

“It was the most mentally challenging thing that I’ve ever been faced with,” said Grover, who ran with a good friend, Jason Lewis. Both began feeling the effects of nagging injuries with two thirds of the race still to come.

“We stopped four or five times to stretch from between 30 seconds to a minute, and it was just enough to get us through the finish line,” Grover said.

That, plus the support from dozens of friends and family members wearing red – Kevin’s favorite color – and from strangers who had heard his story or simply saw two runners in need of a boost.

“That was a huge part of why we were able to get through it,” Grover said of the 4:07:24 ordeal. “There were many, many times that I didn’t think that I could do it. I just thought of Kevin and hopes that there were more red shirts coming so I could get my mind off it for a bit.

“It was tough, but we made it.” 

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:


twitter: GlennJordanPPH

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Additional Photos

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Rob Gomez of Saco receives a congratulations kiss from his mother, Connie, in Portland on Sunday, after winning the Maine Marathon on Sunday.

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Half-marathon winner Moninda Marube, 34, of Auburn crosses the finish line after winning the Maine half-marathon on Sunday in Portland.


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