YARMOUTH, Maine — Yarmouth physical trainer Theresa Saxton will start working out at 6:30 a.m. on June 22. She expects to finish between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. No breaks.
“You eat while you run and you drink while you bike,” she said. “It’s a long day.”
Saxton has organized a solo informal Ironman event — in which she will swim almost 2.5 miles in nearby Crystal Lake, bike 112 miles and then run a marathon 26.2 miles — in recognition of the Alzheimer’s Association’s network of “Longest Day” events around the country.
The sunrise-to-sunset activities like Saxton’s are often organized at a grassroots level nationwide to raise awareness about the association and disease it seeks to research and eliminate. Most Longest Day events will be held on what is officially considered the longest day of the year in terms of sunlight — June 21 — and symbolize the strength needed to endure long days of coping with Alzheimer’s.
Saxton’s event is scheduled to take place a day later, a Saturday, to coincide with the weekend. Her event is also very personal. Her mother, Linda Sue Saxton, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 14 years ago at the age of 54. Now Linda Sue Saxton is in the late stages of the disease and is living with Theresa’s father in upstate New York, outside of Albany.
Theresa Saxton’s event also happens to fill a void in Maine’s exercise scene. The closest World Triathlon Corp.-sanctioned Ironman competitions are in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, and Lake Placid, N.Y.
Saxton has completed the Lake Placid Ironman Triathlon twice, as well as another in Florida and several half-Ironman events.
“We don’t have one [in Maine],” she said. “I’m hoping this will become an annual event and maybe build some momentum toward that. I think Maine is ready for an Ironman. It’s such a beautiful state and there’s plenty of room for an Ironman — whether or not it’s my course isn’t important.”
For the first time out, though, Saxton will go the distance herself. Although not alone, per se.
She’s inviting friends and supporters to join her for whatever portion of the challenge they can handle, and others to gather at her Main Street Fitness Success Personal Training studio to celebrate, exercise and socialize while she’s out on the course.
Saxton said she doesn’t want the 140-plus-mile distance of her workout to intimidate others in the community from taking part in whatever way they can.
“Let’s make this a community event and let’s do it together — make it accessible,” Saxton said. “I want to encourage people to do something that’s a challenge for them, be part of something big and do something for the Alzheimer’s Association.”
To donate to Saxton’s Longest Day event, visit https://thelongestday.alz.org/home/team/89404/ or contact her studio at 332-6248. Follow her course route at http://fitness-success.biz/events2/index.shtml