Legends hall induction looms for Palmer

Posted Aug. 12, 2009, at 10:18 p.m.

Andy Palmer, a Madawaska native who along with wife Zika got the ZAP Fitness Center off and running, will become the newest inductee into the Maine Sports Legends Hall of Honors.

Palmer, who died of a heart attack at age 48 in 2002 while on a training run, will be inducted posthumously at the Maine Sports Legends annual banquet on Oct. 11 at the Alfond Youth Center in Waterville.

Palmer represents the Northern Maine region, and honors are presented to men and women for their extraordinary commitment and work behind the scenes, both academically and athletically.

Palmer played basketball at Madawaska High in the late 1960s before continuing that career at the University of Maine at Presque Isle, and he was inducted into that school’s Hall of Fame in 1983.

After graduating from UMPI, Palmer took up running, and occasionally trained wearing a 40-pound vest while churning uphill, thinning his lanky 6-foot-3 frame.

In 1980, Palmer owned and directed the Maine Running Camp in Bar Harbor, which filled up on a yearly basis with runners of all ages and ability levels who wanted to improve their fitness and train with Palmer. He held that position for 20 years,

His running accomplishments included competing in the Olympic Marathon trials in 1984 and 1988 and a 13th-place finish in the World Championship marathon trials in 1986. He was inducted into the Maine Running Hall of Fame in 2000.

Palmer’s death on Feb. 3, 2002, in North Carolina occurred only a few weeks after construction on the ZAP Fitness Center was completed.

ZAP, a state-of-the-art training facility in Blowing Rock, N.C., is designed for post-collegiate runners who want to continue with competitive running and offers top-notch living and training facilities.

One of Maine’s top runners, Bar Harbor native Judson Cake, has trained there.

In the summer of 2002, runners from throughout the state, including Joan Benoit Samuelson, joined forces for the Andy Palmer Memorial Run, in which runners carried a baton 532 miles from Kittery to Madawaska.

Peverada, Fortson win in County

Chris Peverada and Britta Fortson led a field of 48 finishers in the County Open Half Marathon last weekend.

Peverada, 22, of Hampden, completed the race that started and ended in Island Falls in 1 hour, 13 minutes, 55 seconds. Joe Capehart of Bangor was second, followed by Jeff Ashby of Fort Fairfield, Alfred Hanscom of Presque Isle and Marco Gudino of Wilton.

Fortson, a 36-year-old from Jacksonville, Fla., won the women’s race easily, covering the 13.1 miles in 1:22:30.

Marie Strouse of Caribou was the second female finisher, with Samantha Matoush of Bangor third, Michelle Roy of Frenchville fourth and Linda Mountain of Mapleton fifth.

In addition to the 48 finishers, the race featured six relay teams.

The top team of Leo Kashian, Kelly Kashian, Tyler Strid and Dillon Beckum, all of Caribou, collaborated to run 1:37:08.

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