Thursday, April 24, 2014
By John Rolfe
(Continued from page 1)
A RECENT DISCUSSION of fine vintage 5-milers in the state invoked the Maine Potato Blossom race in Fort Fairfield. Race director Paul Lamoreau kindly clarifies that the race turned 39 this year, having begun in 1975, "but there may have been one or two unofficial 'races' with a few guys before that," he adds.
"The course is very challenging (the first half is pretty much all uphill, with a mile on a potato field road), and known as one of the toughest in Maine," Lamoreau notes.
"We had 101 participants (86 runners and 15 walkers) and the thunderstorms held off, although it was warm and humid, as it seems to be every year."
Winning handily was Spencer McIlwain, 24, of Old Town in 26:23. Top woman was Jennifer St. Amand, 38, in 36:35. And above all, hats off to Limestone's Art Thompson, 70, who ran 1:05:25 and completed his 39th straight Potato Blossom ...
SPEAKING OF EVENTS in the one true County, note that the Easternmost Half Marathon (and relay) in the U.S. is on for Saturday, Aug. 10 at 8 a.m. in Island Falls. There's good prize money involved -- $200, $150, $100 for top three M and F, and $50 for top masters M and F.
Last year, 33-year-old P.J. Gorneault of Caribou won in 1:12:23; and Sharon Hathaway, 42, of Island Falls was the women's champion and ninth overall, in 1:33:23. Tom and Marie Beckum of Caribou topped the two-person relay division in 1:28:57.
The race is an Aroostook Musterds series event, and also is ninth in the Trade Winds/Sub 5 Club series. The first 100 people get a County Open baseball cap, and there will be more than $2,000 worth of raffle prizes. Note that because it's post-July 15, the price has rocketed all the way up from $25 to $30 (feel free to compare that to entry fees in other races of whatever distance). Oh yes, relayers pay $15 each.
All proceeds go to Houlton Regional Hospital's Health Services Foundation.
For more information and a registration form, go to www.countyopen.com.
John Rolfe of Portland is a road runner. He can be reached at 791-6429 or at: