I just watched the 20th Beach to Beacon race in Cape Elizabeth, the 10th one I have attended in my 74 years.

I don’t run – just walking to the route is difficult enough for me – but I wouldn’t miss being a spectator for this magnificent race, which brings people from all corners of our world to our small Maine town.

There is an area near Delano Park that we named “Cowbell Corner.” Each year my whole family gathers together at that spot to cheer the runners on.

On the morning of the race, our family and many friends meet at my daughter’s house for breakfast at 6:30. At 7 my husband drives me to Cowbell Corner, since the road closes at 7:30 for the race to begin at 8, which means I only have to walk home.

There we unload the large bag of signs that say “More Cowbell” and a chair for me. Now I’m not sure what cowbells have to do with a road race (it’s a reference to a “Saturday Night Live” skit about a rock band), but my three children and husband are avid sports fans and know all about cowbells, so I am along for the ride and I love them, too.

Before the race, the family members of all ages gather. All have cowbells, some small and some large – we even bring the old school bell I actually used when I was a teacher at Saint Patrick School many years ago. (Some runners might hear that ring and run faster!)

The wheelchair competition begins and we watch for Christina, one of our favorites, who has been in this event for many years.

As soon as the first competitor comes into view, cowbells begin ringing and they never stop. We cheer for many relatives and good friends and of course strangers and especially Maine’s own Olympic gold medalist, Joan Benoit.

As they pass Cowbell Corner they run up the big hill where the music greets them. “Sweet Caroline” blares from a house and the crowd sings along.

Now this year was special: We had two heroes. One was Jesse Orach of Gorham, who was almost at the finish line when he collapsed from heatstroke.

The other hero was Robert Gomez of Windham, who was running neck and neck with Jesse and stopped to pick him up. They crossed the finish line together. That’s Maine, the way life should be.

We stay at Cowbell Corner until all the runners have passed. We have cheered for cousins, friends, many of my former students and friends of my children and grandchildren. So many beautiful faces, even some much older than me – I don’t know how they do it.

What’s funny and makes us laugh is that some runners actually stop and take pictures of us.

YUP, that’s the way life should be, and that’s the way Mainers are.

It’s great spending time with the family and friends at Cowbell Corner, and I can’t wait till next year.