August 3, 2013

Race Notebook: Weatherbie steps down as race president after 16 years

From staff reports

CAPE ELIZABETH - After 16 years as race president, Dave Weatherbie is stepping aside.

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The lead pack of runners pulls away from the rest of the field early in Saturday’s race.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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Dave Weatherbie

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"I'm very proud of what we've accomplished," said Weatherbie, who signed on for the volunteer position in early 1998, even before race director Dave McGillivray was hired. "I think my fondest memory is Year 1, the way the community embraced the event."

There was another embrace from that year, just after Weatherbie, an accomplished runner himself, crossed the finish line.

"Joanie (Benoit Samuelson) was there, and it was a bear hug," he said. "She just said, 'We did it!' "

Weatherbie said the event has become everything they could have hoped, and more. So why leave?

"The biggest thing is the time commitment," he said. "As a business owner (Seafax), as a father with a junior in college, a junior in high school and a freshman in high school, I really want to be able to go see their events. I want to be able to spend some quality time with them in the summer when they're home.

"I haven't had a vacation in July in 16 years. So it'll be nice to do that."

Weatherbie said he will continue to organize the Maine resident category and remain a member of the organizing committee.

"He's done an amazing job, sort of under the radar," said Samuelson.

"He leads a very busy life in the community, with his business and his family, and somehow he's found time to really bring this race to the top among the best races in America."

JOSEPH EKUOM, a Kenyan who now lives in Kingston, N.Y., was the men's master winner, with a time of 32:55.0.

He praised the running conditions -- "A nice day, the weather was perfect," he said -- and said he was pleased with his race. This was his second time running Beach to Beacon, the last coming in last year's heat.

"I was well-prepared today," he said, noting that his host family took him for a ride along the course so he could see each turn and hill. "I was happy to run the pace I ran. For me, it's better to finish the race."

THE RACE is over, but the work is just beginning for some of the wheelchair participants.

Winner Krige Schabort and second-place finisher Craig Blanchette will be part of a five-day program at Pineland Farm in New Gloucester sponsored by Maine Adaptive Sports & Recreation, designed to promote opportunities for wheelchair-bound athletes.

Eric Topper, the director of Outreach for Maine Adaptive, said about 15 people will attend each day's activities. They will include some sea kayaking, bicycling and golf, among other activities.

This is the first year of the program, which is being held in the week between Beach to Beacon and the Falmouth (Mass.) Road Race.

"We're hoping to create developing programs for emerging wheelchair athletes," said Topper. "And we want to create networking opportunities for athletes from other sports."

Blanchette, who has won two Beach to Beacon wheelchair races, said the goal is "to build a grass-roots program of sports and to encourage more people to get involved, get active."

He plans on talking about living a healthy and fit lifestyle and hopes to be involved in teaching the wheelchair athletes some of the subtleties of racing. More important, he said, "We want to inspire people to say, 'I can do it.' "

MINUTES BEFORE the first wheelchair participant crossed the finish line, Keith Weiner came across to much applause, breaking the tape and recording the moment while riding a Segway.

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

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Young flag bearers await the flag parade representing the home countries of participants in the race.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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Volunteer Sue Howe of Scarborough places cups of water on a table in the staging area behind the starting line.

Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

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Parker Plourde, 4, of Saco tries to stay dry under a blanket as he waits to see his parents cross the finish line.

Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

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