Whether it’s merciless heat, sheets of cold rain or sneaky winds that snatch off your sunglasses, the more disastrous the race weather, the better the postrace anecdotes and visuals. One such tale, from last Sunday’s sodden Vermont City Marathon, was that of fifth-place finisher Michael Wardian of Virginia doing an exuberant, headfirst dive across the slick grass and the finish line, as 39-year-olds are wont to do.

A top performer at Vermont was Moninda Marube, 34, of Auburn, whose 2-hour, 29-minute, 38-second tour of the city of Burlington was good for fourth place, 47 seconds ahead of Wardian and presumably out of range of getting splashed by him. Marube’s time was 7:09 slower than his PR (a victory at Santa Barbara in 2010), but a very solid race on an extremely wet, cold and windy day.

Back in Maine, the only solids at the Pineland Farms Trail Running Festival were the performances. The event’s shorter races on a rain-soaked Saturday effectively did a bit of rototilling along the course. Sunday, with a 25K, 50K and 50-miler, was drier, but Mother Nature had done her work. When Tom Hoag described a short-up-and-down about 2 miles into the race — “people were just skidding at full speed in the slick, peanut-butter-like mud” — and I suggested it sounded like otters in a mudslide, he said that was about right.

“It’s hard to explain how muddy it was,” Hoag said. “Essentially there were two terrains — the woods trails, which was the muddy part, and the paths mowed through the fields, which were under standing water.”

Hoag, 42, of Portland, has run Pineland each of its seven years — the 25K three times, then the 50K, then the 50-miler twice. This year he was looking to PR in the 25K with a 1:55. “For the first five minutes I still had that goal,” he said. “Make that, one minute. I soon realized that was a laughable goal.”

“It wasn’t a trail race so much as an obstacle race, like a Tough Mudder.”

So Hoag was pleased to finish in 2:01:12, 30th of 386 finishers, and thankful not to be running the longer races. “My hat goes off to the people who did.”

Hoag also saluted the race directors for managing the event so well in adverse conditions. “I can’t say enough about the way Erik (Boucher) and Ian (Parlin) handled everything … In past years, after the race people would sit around with a beer and a burger, a bluegrass band would play, and families would show up … This year the ‘grove’ was in 8 inches of water and people were basically wading around.

“But they pulled it off. The volunteers showed up, it was a top-notch supported race. Just to get electricity to the band, which was pretty much on an island in the wet field. I can’t imagine how many hours of work must have gone into the event. First-class.”

Winners in the 25K were Greg Fullman, 25, of Falmouth in 1:37:21 and Kate Hails, 25, of Somerville, Mass., in 1:57:17. In the 50K, honors went to Scott Traer, 32, of Woburn, Mass., in 3:32:59 and Katy Agule of Brighton, Mass., 12th overall of 213 finishers, in 4:27:02. And in the 50-miler, Brian and Amy Rusiecki of South Deerfield, Mass., ruled, running 6:30:30 and 7:53:45 (eighth place of 100). …

Congratulations, too, to the Maine Road Hags and the Maine-iacs on their victories at last weekend’s Cabot Trail Relay, the 185-mile, 17-leg, famously mountainous event in Nova Scotia. There, the sun emerged from the clouds both Saturday and Sunday.

The Hags were seventh overall among 71 teams in 22:02:07.

Beryle Martin led off, followed by Amy Lilley, Jeanne Hackett, Amanda LaBelle, Sheri Piers, Kristin Quatrano, Laurie Gaudreau, Kristin Barry, Tammy Mercier, Maureen Sproul, Marie-Claude Gregoire, LaBelle, Allison Krug, Kate Emery, Renee Bunker, and Gaudreau and Piers.

Barry, of Scarborough, was top woman and third overall in Leg 8; Piers, of Falmouth, won Leg 5, setting a course record. As the event’s Wikipedia entry notes, Barry and Piers own a big chunk of the women’s leg records. Piers has 3-6, plus 9 and 14; Barry has 1, 2, 12, 15 and 16. The Hags also set the women’s course record, 20:03:06, three years ago.

It was a three-peat for the Maine-iacs, and their sixth Cabot title overall, as they won in 17:02:13, almost a half-hour ahead of the Black Lungs of Toronto (17:30:32). Leg winners were Louie Luchini of Ellsworth, who took both 2 and 17, and Erik McCarthy, Josh Zolla, Andrew van Hoogenstyn, Adam Goode and Rob Gomez. Kirby Davis, Jeff Ashby, Al Bugbee, Jon McGonagle, Rick Chalmers, Matt Homich, Jeremy Lisee, Tim Wakeland, Mike Bunker and Knud Hermansen all finished well up in their legs.

Sixth overall, in 21:42:13, was the Maine mixed team (at least seven women) Rhino Redux: Eric Mauricette, Alan Stockley, Beth Daut, Bret Vicary, Louise Voghel, Chris Almy, Judd Esty-Kendall, Dale Lolar, Newell Lewey, Willie Sproul, Amos Almy, Dan Kusnierz, Eric Mauricette, Jatin Narang, Liz Muggah, Katrina Bisheimer and Paul Toohey. Mauricette, who lives in Old Town, won Leg 13, and Amos Almy won Leg 11.

The redoubtable Maine Running Fossils, another mixed team, finishing next-to-last in 28:07:15, with Rene Collins, Cindy Pare, Lloyd Harmon, Andrew Tiemann, Deb Shissler, Pare again, Robin Emery, Ed Rice, John Craig, Pattie Craig, Mary Cutler, Donne Sinderson, Dick Storch, Denny Beers, Leslie Poake, Chris Poake and David Jones.

As Rice noted on his Facebook page, he has now completed 16 of the relay’s 17 legs, and looks to cap his Cabot career by running Leg 3 in 2014.

John Rolfe of Portland is a road runner. He can be reached at 791-6429 or at:

[email protected]