You would think that after running in this event at least 15 times, I’d feel comfortable about the race and the butterflies that normally appear when I toe the line with other runners would remain at bay. But not this year.
A few minutes before 8 a.m. I hauled myself from a comfortable perch on a grassy hill and crammed into a corral of sorts on Route 77 with hundreds of other runners who thought they’d tromp along the pavement at the same steady pace I was planning to run.
During the past year, I have once again found my running legs and along the way managed to shed some weight – to be precise, the equivalent of your average four-year-old child. A few weeks before the race, my hope was that I’d be able to complete the course in nearly the same time as when I first ran the along the shore in Cape Elizabeth.
Yes, that was 20 years ago, but hey, Joan Benoit Samuelson is still here and so am I. A guy can hope, can’t he?
According to my friends at Granite State Race Services, 8,088 people signed up to run in the race and 6,526 crossed the finish line. I was happy that I was one of them.
To cut to the chase, I managed to finish (in the male-50-59 age division) in about 58 minutes and yes, that was six minutes faster than when I first ran in this road race. By the way, back then, I was in the male-30-39 age group and I thought I was doing pretty well.
Each year that I run in this race, I am amazed at the number of people who show up, the number of people who volunteer to make the race possible, and the number of people who line the course and cheer us on as we make our way to Fort Williams and the Portland Headlight.
It is not lost on me that we live in a beautiful part of the world and each of the more than 7,000 runners who squeeze together as an unusual mix of intimate strangers waiting for the starting gun to go off, is lucky.
We’re lucky that we can compete and make our way toward the finish line. We’re lucky that the rain rarely falls as we run (and that was true today). And in my case, we’re lucky that we pass by the Holy Donut in Scarborough as those from southern Maine drive home.
Yes, after a year of training I splurged and had a Holy Canoli with my black coffee.
Tomorrow, the training begins again and now I’m setting my sights on the Maine Marathon and Half Marathon (Sunday, September 30). Really, the half marathon is just like running the Beach to Beacon twice. I can do that.
See you on the roads and stay tuned – as always, if I think it’s interesting, I’ll write about it.
Thanks again for reading my stories and as always, you may purchase my novel, Homecoming: A Soldier’s Story of Loyalty, Courage, and Redemption at your local, independent bookstore or online: DavidArenstam.com, BrysonTaylorPublishing.com, or Amazon.com
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