ELLSWORTH, Maine — Going from the 5- or 10-kilometer distance to the marathon is no easy task for any runner.
But one of the best harriers ever to grace this state’s roads, tracks and trails is up to the challenge.
Louie Luchini, who finished second in the nation in the Foot Locker national cross country championships as a senior at Ellsworth High in 1998, has returned to his hometown after a sixth-month stint in Oregon with the Oregon Track Club, and he’s hoping to compete in a marathon in December or late November.
“I think it’s just like the next step for me,” said Luchini after Saturday’s Ellsworth Invitational.
He’s assisting coach Andy Beardsley with the Eagles this fall.
“I think I’m probably best built for the marathon, that’s one of the main reasons,” added Luchini, who weighs approximately 130 pounds and is about 5-foot-7.
Luchini’s training was hampered recently, as he was stung by a swarm of bees while tending to a garden.
“I dug into a beehive and it messed up my training,” he said. “Other than that, I’ve been trying to go 100 miles a week.”
Luchini is fortunate to have an experienced marathoner in Beardsley under his wing, and the two, along with the DeWitts — Steven, Joey, Corey and father Mike — trained together throughout the summer.
“I run with Mr. Beardsley all the time, he and I talk about [training] plans, so he’ll hopefully help me out a lot for my training for this marathon,” said Luchini, who enjoyed a fine collegiate running career at Stanford.
Exactly what marathon that turns out to be hasn’t been determined.
“I haven’t really decided,” he said. “I don’t really know the dates on [area races].”
That, and Luchini knows he can’t just jump right into the grueling 26.2-mile marathon distance.
“I think it does take a while, you’ve got to get used to the distance,” he said. “It’ll be a change for me to go up to such higher mileage.”
Luchini added he plans on doing a half marathon at some point this fall, or a 10-miler, to better prepare for a marathon.
“You’ve got to learn a lot of different things,” he said.
Luchini decided to become an assistant at Ellsworth after arriving back in town from Oregon in July, and while he runs on his own in the morning, Luchini trains with team members at afternoon practices.
“It’s a lot of fun, we’ve got a huge team. Great group of kids,” he said.
Luchini does most of his longer training runs in Surry, where Beardsley lives, but mostly runs around Ellsworth with the occasional trip to Acadia National Park.
He’s certainly happy to be home.
“I was planning on coming back here anyway and just staying in Ellsworth because I haven’t been able to spend much time here,” he said. “So I wanted to come back and train in Ellsworth.”
Training for marathons only adds to that thrill.