Saturday, December 7, 2013
By Mike Lowe email@example.com
They will cross the finish line at Fort Williams in Cape Elizabeth in relative anonymity, greeted perhaps by a few family members or friends. No one will proclaim their names over the loudspeaker.
Roger Morse, front left, leads a group around Baxter Boulevard in Portland as they prepare for the Beach to Beacon, scheduled for Saturday in Cape Elizabeth.
Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer
Susan Kimball, left, and Peter King, right, trained for the Beach to Beacon under a program that includes coaches Roger Morse, second left, and Kathy Bowe, second right.
Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer
THE BIG RACE
WHAT: The 14th Beach to Beacon 10K road race
WHEN: 8 a.m. Saturday
WHERE: Cape Elizabeth
START: Route 77 near Crescent Beach
FINISH: Fort Williams
They will not have medals placed over their heads. They will not wear a laurel wreath.
They are the newbies, the first-time runners of the Beach to Beacon 10K. Their goal does not involve winning.
"The only thing I want is to finish it," said Susan Kimball, the former reporter at WCSH-TV in Portland. "I know how trite that sounds, but I really hope I can do the whole thing without walking. I just want to be able to run it and finish it."
Kimball is member of the Reach the Beacon program operated by the Maine Running Company on Forest Avenue in Portland. In its sixth year, the program offers two levels of training -- for beginners, and for those who can run and complete a 5-kilometer race -- for anyone looking to run the Beach to Beacon. This year there were about 75 beginners and another 140 more advanced.
John Rogers, the Maine Running Academy director and coach, said the program does more than teach how to run.
"It's more about health and well-being with this group," he said, "rather than going out and beating people."
The program, which costs $150 (with some funds earmarked for the Maine Cancer Foundation), runs from March to the day of the race, broken into four four-week segments that will prepare runners mentally and physically. The program is allocated 75 slots in the Beach to Beacon and establishes a lottery to draw names to run it.
"This training program is not just about the instructors but also the people who are part of the program," said Peter King, a 58-year-old North Deering resident. "We have a common goal. We want to learn to be better runners. They teach you more than just running. We do hill work, we do sprint work, things you don't want to do by yourself. But with a group, you're more likely to do it and it will make you better. It's been fun."
Like many participants, King endured a life-changing experience that turned him to running. In his case, he was laid off from his job of almost 30 years. He decided he wanted to drop 40 pounds. Running has helped.
Kimball resigned a year ago from a job she held for more than 28 years. Running the Beach to Beacon always seemed a reach until she joined the program.
"When I worked at Channel 6 we had a number of people who were good runners," she said. "And they all enjoyed running the Beach to Beacon. I can remember those guys talking about how wonderful it was. I envied them. I never considered myself a runner. I liked to work out, I'm healthy, but running was something I never thought I could do."
Even when she started, Kimball wasn't sure where it would lead. The program is set up to build the confidence of beginners. The first two weeks, they walk four minutes, then run one; then they walk three and run two. It builds until they can run five minutes without stopping.
The 58-year-old Kimball credits her coaches, Roger Morse and Kathy Bowe, for getting her through it.
"I remember that first Tuesday, I could barely run that one minute," she said. "I looked at Roger and said, 'I don't think I can do this.' I didn't think I had the stamina. He told me, 'Sure you can.' So I stuck with it."
(Continued on page 2)