Former Olympians to headline free running seminar

Posted Feb. 27, 2012, at 4:30 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 28, 2012, at 9:40 a.m.
Joan Benoit Samuelson
Central Maine Orthopaedics
Joan Benoit Samuelson

AUBURN, Maine — Two Olympic runners will visit western Maine in April to teach occasional joggers and hard-core marathoners alike how to psych up for race day and avoid injuries.

Joan Benoit Samuelson, Maine’s vaunted marathoner and a 1984 gold medal winner, will share tips on mentally preparing for a big race, while former Olympian and exercise physiologist Dr. Jay T. Kearney will focus on proper training. The April 3 seminar, “Hit the Ground Running,” is geared toward runners of all abilities, according to Dr. Paul Cain of Central Maine Orthopaedics, which is hosting the free event along with Select Physical Therapy and Central Maine Sports Medicine.

“We want to include people who run three miles two to three times a week and also the people who run marathons,” he said.

Witnessing the success of the Dempsey Challenge, a two-day running, walking and biking fundraiser in Lewiston named after “Grey’s Anatomy” star Patrick Dempsey, inspired organizers to keep the momentum behind community health alive, Cain said.

Samuelson, a Cape Elizabeth native, won the Boston Marathon in 1979 and again in 1983, breaking the world record. At age 27, she scored the gold medal in the first women’s marathon at the Los Angeles Olympics.

Kearney has worked with the United States Olympic Committee for more than 17 years, most recently leading a team that helped to coordinate the U.S. Olympic team’s participation in the Beijing games.

Following talks by the Olympians, Cain and three other physicians will discuss a less glamorous side of running. Aging knees, bunions, gastrointestinal disorders and other issues can prevent people from lacing up, but all can be accommodated in a running program, Cain said.

“Running is something almost anyone can do,” he said. “All you need is a decent pair of shoes and some socks and you can just go out and run.”

The event is the first in a planned series on sports and community health in Auburn. Organizers haven’t settled on a topic for the next seminar, but the public can rest assured that no extreme or niche sports are in the mix, Cain said.

“Nothing on luging,” he joked.

“Hit the Ground Running” will be held on Tuesday, April 3, at the Hilton Garden Inn Riverwatch in Auburn. Doors open at 5 p.m., followed by the formal program from 6 to 8 p.m. For more information, visit www.cmogroup.org or call 783-1328.

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