October 7, 2013

Maine Marathon Notebook: First woman doesn't need fanfare

By Glenn Jordan gjordan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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.

click image to enlarge

Leah Frost has run the Boston Marathon as a ‘bandit,’ but earns a legitimate win Sunday as the top woman in the Maine Marathon with an impressive time of 3:00.47.

Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Kristin and Mike Kiss of Illinois complete, hand in hand, their 50th race in 50 states, in under two hours. Now the couple, who have been together since they were 16, will be looking for new physical challenges.

Tim Greenway/Staff Phootographer

Additional Photos Below

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:


Twitter: GlennJordanPPH


Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors

Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Wheelchair winner Grant Berthiaume, left, of Tucson, Ariz., shares a post-race moment with Paul Erway of Shelbyville, Ky., who finished third. They and runner-up Aaron Roux of Tucson are on a quest to complete 50 wheelchair marathons in 50 states in 50 weeks. Maine was No. 36. Berthiaume won in 2:19:57. Next weekend: Baltimore on Saturday and Chicago on Sunday.

Glenn Jordan/Staff Writer

click image to enlarge

Matt McAvoy, 32, and Jen Hawley, 27, of Lewiston ran the marathon to symbolize the journey of their marriage, which became official following the race with a ceremony at Pedro Field, adjacent to the finish line.

Glenn Jordan/Staff Writer


Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)



More PPH Blogs

2014 Boston Marathon


Spring sports photos