What do you get when you combine a shelter-in-place order, a canceled marathon and a Belgian beer?

Answer: The Milt.

Garrison Oaks Drive in Kennebunk. Dan King photo

Maine Coast Marathon, which begins in Kennebunk each year, was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. I was eight weeks (halfway) into preparations for the May 9 event when the expected announcement (accompanied by the crash of cymbols) was made.

Adjustments were in order for the remainder of my Eastern Shore Training schedule. The goal would be to maintain conditioning for if and when road races resume. In other words, Ground Hog Day mode until further notice.

There were no plans to keep May 9 as a target date, but thoughts of running a self-contained, perfect-for-the-shelter-in-place order marathon soon began to bubble.

How about a neighborhood marathon, on Garrison Oaks Drive? Maybe it would provide a little distraction and entertainment, during this unprecedented period in history.

Garrison Oaks is a quiet little cul de sac in Kennebunk. From our driveway to the circle and back measures .33 of a mile. A shade over 79 laps would be required for 26.2 miles. There would be absolutely zero issues with meeting CDC social distancing recommendations.

I traveled to Minnesota for an indoor marathon in January and that required 150 laps with constant tight turns on a fieldhouse track. There’s no way the cul de sac marathon would be as taxing on the ankles and knees. Not a chance. And it certainly would shake up the routine, aka, the new normal. At least for one afternoon.

The first (and last) Milt May Stay at Home Marathon, run completely on a dul de sac in Kennebunk on April 5. Dan King photo

A college and amateur baseball buddy of mine, Scott Nelson, suggested calling it, “The Milt.”

My college nickname was Milt, as in Milt May, a not-so-fleet-of-foot catcher. Those of a certain age will remember May’s steady, well-traveled 15-year major league career.

So there you have it: The Milt May Stay-at-Home Marathon was born.

I’d run it whenever the mood hit. Turns out, that was Sunday, April 5, a sunny, breezy day. At the start, I wasn’t convinced that it would be finished. But as the easy-paced laps began to accumulate, there was little doubt.

I did not keep track of laps until 45 or so (it amounted to about 3 laps per mile). The only strategy involved was running the circle in alternating directions.

Neighbors up and down the street were out working and playing in their yards. Gradually, everyone was up to speed on what was going on. There was plenty of distanced conversation throughout. An aid station, never more than 3 minutes away, was at the end of our driveway with energy bars and Ion 4 fluids safely inside a cooler.

The entire production was meticulously conducted with social distancing protocols followed. Dr. Nariv Shah would be proud.

The closest anybody, or anything, came was when a youngster down near the circle lost control of his remote control car and it zig-zagged near my right Hoka One One.

Racking up the laps on Garrison Oaks Drive. Facebook Live photo

The countdown began in earnest with 15 laps (about 5 miles) to go. As the laps melted into the single digits, a neighbor Dude properly placed a couple beers at the end of his driveway down at the circle.

The excitement was palpable. Or was it laughable? Maybe a little of both.

Neighbors Connie, Cathy, Barry and Jen set up a blue crepe paper finish line across the street for the final lap. A few neighbors gathered and were spaced along the sides to witness – pardon the hyperbole – Garrison Oaks history.

And then it was over.

Fifteen feet apart, and with the sun’s energy fading, the Dude and I walked the route one last time, quaffing Stella Artois.

And then it was back home for a socially distanced nap.

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