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.

No, Weiner wasn't trying anything tricky. He's the videographer for Outside Interactive, a company out of South Easton, Mass., that films race courses for training purposes. The company sells videos of the courses but also has an app for iPhones, iPads or laptops. Runners can then train on a treadmill while watching their pro-gress along the race course.

"It's not easy," said Weiner, who steers the Segway with his knees with a specially-built lever. "By Mile 5 I can't feel my right foot and my knees turn to Jell-O. But it's an awesome job."

Gary McNamee, the president of Outside Interactive, said his company has done this for about 30 races, but this was the first time they filmed a course on race day, so a runner can get the feeling of training with a crowd cheering him or her on.

"We filmed the Boston Marathon, but not on race day," he said. "This is different. It's great to capture the excitement of the race."

McNamee said he got the idea for the video while training to run Boston. "I was on a treadmill trying to do a 20-mile run and going out of my mind," he said.

KAYLA SMITH has been known to dress up for a movie premier or two -- Harry Potter, Transformers.

Running her fourth Beach to Beacon, the 26-year-old Portland woman decided to bring her particular flair for fashion to the race course.

In a black-and-gold tutu, T-shirt and cape, she ran as Batman, the favorite superhero of her 2-year-old son, Jackson Garcia.

The point, Smith said, was to make it easier for him to spot her running. But she didn't deny there was a benefit for her, too.

"It just made it a lot more fun," she said.

FRIENDS OF Amanda Cann have been raising money through road races for years to benefit her niece, Elizabeth Fasciano of New Jersey.

In March, 7-year-old Elizabeth died of brain cancer.

Still, the group was at this year's race, decked in purple, Elizabeth's favorite color.

Now, the money they raise, which was over $15,000 for this race, goes to Camp Sunshine, a retreat in Casco for children with life-threatening illnesses. Elizabeth had gone there.

CANDACE KARU has the best -- albeit bumpy -- seat to watch the elite women's race.

Karu rides backward on a motorcycle, holding onto the seat with one hand and using a walkie talkie with the other to give live reports to the spectators at the finish line.

The results are often difficult to hear, as each bump in the road makes Karu's voice sound like she's talking while someone's hitting her back.

Emcee Andy Schachat would repeat Karu's reports to the crowd so that they were understandable.

Karu said she loves the excitement, and being in a unique spot.

"I am really the only one who gets to see the entire women's race," Karu said.

THE MEDICAL tent did not receive any runners with major health problems, according to officials, as the cool, cloudy morning prevented most runners from suffering from heat exhaustion.

A few showed up with twisted ankles and muscle strains, but the tent had a light attendance compared to years when the weather is hot and humid.

ONE YEAR race director Dave McGillivray arrived at the starting line shortly after dawn to find a dead skunk in the middle of Bowery Beach Road. This year, he discovered someone had dumped a bunch of gutted and rotting fish about 75 yards in front of the start, on the ocean side of the road.

"People ask about the beach in Beach to Beacon," McGillivray said. "I guess we brought the beach to the starting line."

A highway department crew removed the mess and spread a substance similar to kitty litter over the area in an effort to absorb the odor.

ALEXI PAPPAS, the runner/film writer and Dartmouth College graduate, drew some attention at the starting line.

Not all elite runners have their breakfast just before the horn sounds to begin the race.

Pappas was enjoying a blondie -- butterscotch brownie -- from Scratch's Baking Company in South Portland.

"I always get a different baked good before the start of a race," said Pappas after finishing 10th among the elite women in her first 10K road race. Enjoying a blondie or cupcake or eclair can take the edge off nerves.

SOME IN THE Beach to Beacon 10K community remembered Joseph Kimani of Kenya, the 2000 race winner. Kimani passed away nine months ago from pneumonia.

He was 40.

The Bob Harrison family of Cape Elizabeth hosted Kimani.

"He took his running very seriously but he was fun to be around," said Harrison.

Among his Kenyan running friends, Kimani was known for sleeping 13 or 14 hours, waking up and entertaining friends with his deep laugh.

Kimani's victory in 2000 was overshadowed by the women's finish when Catherine Ndereba beat Libbie Hickman by one-hundredth of a second. Hickman, trying to become the first American winner, believed she had won. She broke the tape first, but Ndereba's foot with the computer chip in the running shoe touched the mat first, registering a faster time.

- Staff Writers Mike Lowe, Glenn Jordan, Steve Solloway, Leslie Bridgers and Joe Lawlor contributed to this report.

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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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