Tuesday, December 10, 2013
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Diane Nukuri Johnson attended the University of Iowa after representing Burundi in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Allan Kiprono of Kenya, who placed second in the Beach to Beacon last year in his American road racing debut, fills out his registration forms with another Kenyan, Lani Rutto.
Photos by Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer
TODAY MARKS "the TD Bank Charitable Foundation giving away its 420,000th dollar to communities in Maine," according to Larry Wold, president of TD Bank in Maine.
Each year, in concert with the race, the foundation awards $30,000 to a beneficiary, which this year is Day One, a nonprofit agency providing substance abuse prevention, intervention, treatment and aftercare programs for Maine youth.
By granting additional race numbers to all past beneficiaries for purposes of fund raising, the race president, David Weatherbie, said Wold's figure has nearly been doubled. "It's actually over $800,000 over the 14 years that we've been able to raise for these Maine-based charities," Weatherbie said.
DAVID FAULKNER, executive director of Day One, said Maine is among the nation's top 10 states in adolescent substance abuse.
"A statewide survey found that 75 percent of parents said it wasn't a big problem," he said, "and 75 percent of kids said it was."
Alcohol, marijuana and prescription drugs are the biggest culprits among Maine youth. Day One's mission is to dramatically reduce adolescent substance abuse in the state by working with families, communities, schools, police and corrections.
"The tendency is to deny it; the tendency is to ignore it," he said. "But we can't."
JOAN BENOIT SAMUELSON didn't sound like she's ready to throw in the towel any time soon.
She said this year's event already has gone beyond any of the previous Beach to Beacon races.
"I'm not retiring until you do," she told Dave McGillivray, the race director, "so you're stuck with me."
SAMUELSON LIKENED the event's organizing committee to a family. "When you talk about a Maine work ethic, you see it among this organizing committee," she said. "They work tirelessly. They work throughout the year. They're never recognized for the volunteer of the year award because they're just too good."
Naturally she segued into the winners of that award, bestowed at a gathering Wednesday night. The Berman family of Cape Elizabeth has hosted runners for five years and Dr. Jeff Berman, an eye surgeon, was instrumental in diagnosing and arranging for corrective surgery for an Ethiopian runner, Dejene Berhanu, with a droopy eyelid condition.
This year the Bermans are hosting Lucas Rotich of Kenya and introduced him to bocce Thursday morning.
A PARTICULARLY large contingent of top Maine runners attended the event.
Weatherbie, the race president, introduced all three of the state's women's favorites, Sheri Piers of Falmouth, and Kristin Barry and Erica Jesseman of Scarborough, as well as five Maine men. Jonny Wilson and Ethan Shaw of Falmouth, Matt Rand of Cape Elizabeth, Josh Zolla of Freeport and Louie Luchini of Ellsworth all drew applause.
Another fleet Mainer, Matt Lane of Yarmouth, showed up to pick up a bib with his daughter, 2-year-old Madeleine, whose mother Erin is a two-time Foot Locker cross country national champion.
"If she ends up being an American record holder, it's not going to be because of me," said Lane, a former All-American runner at William & Mary. "She can thank her mom for the good genes."
Erin gave birth a little over a week ago to a boy, Matthew Jr.
DIANE NUKURI JOHNSON of Burundi actually attended high school in Canada -- outside of Toronto -- and college at the University of Iowa. She speaks French as well as English and her native language of Kirundi. She also stands 6 feet in sneakers.
Last week she was third at the Bix 7-miler and said she had no problems with the heat.
Eleven years ago she was Burundi's sole female track and field athlete at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
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