We hear all the stories about the elite athletes from all over the globe who come to Cape Elizabeth, Maine, to compete in the famous Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race. We also hear the sagas of the average citizens who decide to challenge themselves to get in shape and take part in what will probably be the biggest race of their lives.

But somehow, we neglect to recognize the true heroes of the Beach to Beacon. If it weren’t for them, many of us would not be telling the tales of our attempts at beating the Kenyans to the finish line.

I am talking about the emergency response personnel who staff not only the medical tent at Fort Williams, but also those who are stationed along the course, waiting for us average folks to stumble into their hands after reaching the point of dehydration, exhaustion and delirium. They are the ones who recognize the runners in trouble, pick up the exhausted bodies and rush them to the tent, where they can get the further medical attention that they need.

I was one of those folks this past weekend. This was not the first time I had run the race, and I thought I had adequately prepared. But it turned out that the conditions this year got the best of me. I became dehydrated and overheated and was very lucky to have friends who delivered me to the capable hands of the team of Cape Elizabeth firefighters who were stationed at mile 5 on Shore Road. Not only were they well trained and efficient at what they had to do, but also they were also incredibly patient as I rambled on in my state of delirium. I don’t remember most of what was said, but I was told that there was some discussion of me wanting to finish the race and them telling me (as they strapped me to a backboard for the wild ride in the “Gator” to the medical tent) that it wasn’t going to happen. Of course, they were right.

So, to all the personnel from Cape Elizabeth, Scarborough and South Portland who man the 6.2 miles of the course, and especially to the “Mile 5 team,” a heartfelt thank you and congratulations. You are the real champions of the Beach to Beacon.

Christy Harmon


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