Charitable cause brings deaf, 56-year-old Maine Running Hall of Famer to New York City Marathon

Posted Nov. 02, 2012, at 1:21 p.m.
Last modified Nov. 02, 2012, at 5:52 p.m.
O.J. Logue (top) and John Murphy complete a leg of the Andy Palmer Relay through Eden on Mount Desert Island in June 2002. Logue will be running to raise money for the Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech in Northampton, Mass., when he competes in the New York City Marathon on Sunday.
O.J. Logue (top) and John Murphy complete a leg of the Andy Palmer Relay through Eden on Mount Desert Island in June 2002. Logue will be running to raise money for the Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech in Northampton, Mass., when he competes in the New York City Marathon on Sunday. Buy Photo

O.J. Logue’s athletic career sports enough personal successes to merit his induction into the Maine Running Hall of Fame in 2006.

But for the former Orono High School and University of Southern Maine track and cross-country standout who in 1981 competed for the United States in track and field at the Deaf Olympics in Cologne, Germany, running isn’t always about winning.

“Running for charitable events was more satisfying than running for myself,” he said.

Logue ran a 30-mile solo benefit run in February 1982 that raised more than $9,000 for the family of Adam Hodge, an 8-year-old battling leukemia, and he was a five-time veteran of the Rowdies 400 mile relay charity event.

Now at age 56, Logue may be far removed from elite competition, but he still retains the compassion to run for others. He had intended to show that on Sunday when he planned to participate in the ING New York City Marathon, but the race was cancelled late Friday afternoon by city officials and the event’s organizers.

The cancellation followed days of pressure from politicians and the general public in the wake of damage caused to the city by Hurricane Sandy.

Logue, the former associate dean of academic services for the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Maine, was going to run in the race to raise money for his new employer, the Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech.

Those schools, with five campuses on the East Coast from Boston to Jacksonville, Fla., work to provide children who are deaf or hard of hearing with the listening, learning and spoken language skills they need to succeed.

“The legacy of Adam Hodge lives for me in this race,” said Logue, who is the director of the Clarke Schools’ Northampton, Mass., campus. “And now I work with deaf children from all over and what an inspiration they are for me.”

Logue was going to be accompanied during the marathon by his 24-year-old daughter Amanda Hudson, a classical tenor trombonist who is a student at the Juilliard School in New York City.

Before learning of the cancellation, Logue said he did harbor mixed emotions about participating in Sunday’s race given that it comes less than a week after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the city along with much of the neighboring East Coast, leaving a reported death toll of more than 40 in New York City as well as billions of dollars in damage and millions of residents without power as of Friday afternoon.

“I am torn about going into the presence of such a disaster, but I also feel like it will be a tribute to all the citizens of New York and the children and families that have been caught up in it,” said Logue. “So I’m going to go ahead and run with my daughter and make the most of it that we can with a lot of sympathy and consideration as well for what has happened there.”

Logue has overcome deafness, speech impairments and severe asthma to run 30 previous marathons, an achievement highlighted by being the first Maine resident to finish the 1981 Boston Marathon, in 2 hours, 26 minutes and 6 seconds.

That followed a high school athletic career in Orono during the early and mid-1970s when he starred on three state championship track and field teams and captained the Red Riots’ cross country, indoor track and outdoor track squads.

As a sophomore at the University of Southern Maine he qualified for the NAIA national championships in cross country.

Logue went on to become one of Maine’s top road runners, and in 1981 he became Maine’s first Deaf Olympian after placing among the top three finishers in the 5-kilometer, 10K and 25K races as the U.S. Trials.

At the Deaf Olympic Games in Germany, Logue set personal records while finishing sixth in the 10K (31 minutes, 36 seconds) and seventh in the 5K (15:01). He also placed sixth in the 25K race.

Logue also qualified for the 1985 Deaf Olympics in Los Angeles but had to drop out of the marathon due to a bad ankle that he had broken earlier that year. He made his third U.S. team for the New Zealand games in 1989 but did not compete because of a family illness.

Logue underwent knee surgery in January 2011 with the idea that he wouldn’t run another marathon, but those plans changed earlier this year. Hudson won a lottery entry for this year’s New York City Marathon, and Logue came up with the idea of a charitable run to benefit students at the Clarke Schools.

Logue is conducting his fundraising effort through Crowdrise, an online site for charities recently used by the Mount Desert Island Marathon to raise funds for various charities.

For more information or to donate to Logue’s cause, access http://www.crowdrise.com/teamclarkenyc2012/fundraiser/owenlogue.

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