Best wishes to Mike Kazilionis of Portland for a recovery as speedy as some of the race times he has put up over four decades of running. For example, a 2:47.40 finish in the Sebago Lake Marathon in August 1975, a day when atrocious weather – “head winds, driving rain, and cold” in George Liming’s account on the Maine Running History site – drove 14 of the 23 starters out of the race.

Kazilionis, 64, pretty much stopped running a few years ago because of fatigue he assumed was due to advancing age, his daughter Joan explained. Then on Sunday he went to Maine Medical Center with chest pain that proved to be a heart attack. Wednesday evening he was visited in the hospital by dozens of friends, including longtime running cronies, among them Danny Paul and George Towle. On Thursday he had quadruple bypass surgery. On Friday he was “looking awesome” and sitting up to ask when he could go home, Joan said.

“The tests found that the main arteries were pretty much blocked, but the tiny blood vessels had expanded – if they hadn’t, the heart attack would probably have killed him,” Joan said. “The doctors said they’d never seen anything like it.”

Her dad’s longtime diet of evening 10-mile runs plus never smoking or drinking proved a life-saver, wife Debbie pointed out. Now he’s looking forward to running and even racing again, especially Beach to Beacon, a favorite, next year.

But first, he’s planning to do a fall 5K with Joan, who is named after Joan Benoit Samuelson in honor of Samuelson having passed and beaten Mike K. on her way to winning the Boston Marathon in 1979. Known for his sense of humor as well as his gregariousness, his boundless energy and his U.S. flag running shorts, he speculated last week that maybe his heart condition allowed Joanie to defeat him.

Late in the week, Joan Kazilionis captured the family’s and friends’ shared joy and relief in a Facebook post. The vintage photo taken at Storyland shows her and sister Jennifer as kids on either side of Mike, who is wearing a Boston Marathon T-shirt showing a split heart, alluding to Heartbreak Hill. “All better!” she celebrated.

WONDERING WHETHER Alice Cooper will blast from the PA system when the School’s Out 5K is held at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 21. The first-time event is hosted by Lincoln Middle School in Portland’s Deering neighborhood, and on a loop course similar to the Urban Runoff. The race starts in back of the school on Leland Street, then zig-zags through the ‘hood and about halfway – just past Penwood Drive – goes through the woods and then through Evergreen Cemetery before emerging via the University of New England campus onto Stevens Avenue for a nice downsloping cruise to the finish in front of the school.

In honor of the school’s namesake and in the spirit of presenting a fun-for-all event, little Honest-Abe beards will be provided as part of the race package. An entry to the Aug. 2 TD Beach to Beacon 10K will be among the raffle prizes, and someone will also win a pool party. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m., but you can also sign up online or get a printable application – visit for info, race/shirt fees and more.

NEXT SUNDAY’S Portland Sea Dogs Father’s Day 5K looks set to approach the 2013 number of 1,347 finishers. Online registration – go to – ends Wednesday, but in-person sign-ups continue during packet pickup on Friday and Saturday at Fleet Feet Sports at 309 Marginal Way in Portland. The race is capped at 1,750. The 2014 Sea Dogs Mother’s Day 5K had 2,436 finishers.

THE MAINE Cancer Foundation’s Twilight 5K is on for 7 p.m. Thursday, on a Casco Bay-scenic flat course out of Southern Maine Community College in South Portland.

The $25 fee includes a T-shirt. Online registration ends Tuesday. Toward the fundraising goal of $125,000, each entrant is asked to raise at least $100. Prizes for fundraisers include a beach blanket for those topping $500, and a night in the Channel 8 skybox at a Sea Dogs game for the top fundraising team.

Impressive side note: Last year about 50 people registered at the race start and kicked in their $100 minimum on the spot, the Foundation’s Cullen McGough noted. The 2013 edition had 697 finishers, who raised more than $100,000 in total. For info, go to

YOU CAN start the final weekend of June with the Harvard Pilgrim 5K Challenge, which goes off at 6 p.m. Friday, June 27. There’s a new course: out-and-back from the Marginal Way terminus on the Eastern Prom path, with the turnaround near the Narrow Gauge Railroad.

There will be awards to the top three males and females, but the key element is the team structure competition, as company teams of five or more compete. There are awards in the private, nonprofit and education divisions, and teams can be female, male or mixed. There’s also an award for the two teams with the most members.

Entry fee is $18 per person before summer officially starts and $25 beginning June 21. T-shirts go to the first 300 to register; after that, it’s “while supplies last.” Proceeds benefit the Portland Police Activities League. Go to

John Rolfe writes about road racing for the Maine Sunday Telegram. He can be contacted at 791-6429 or at:

[email protected]

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