Brewer coach helps transform, unite Maine track, cross country community

By Pete Warner, BDN Staff
Posted May 15, 2014, at 3:12 p.m.

BREWER, Maine — Glendon Rand shudders to think what his life might have been like had he not been introduced to running.

Former Brewer High School coach Bill Lopotro suggested that Rand try track and field as a sophomore.

“I always felt very fortunate that I kind of stumbled upon running,” Rand said. “The first couple of years of high school, I didn’t have any real major life goals or any plans of what I was going to do after high school.”

By the end of his junior year, Rand had developed into one of the best distance runners in the state and began setting athletic and academic goals.

“As a result of having success running and meeting guys on the team that I’m still friends with today — they were very academically oriented and had aspirations to go to college — I took that path,” he said.

Rand, who had an outstanding career as a runner at Brewer and competed at the University of Maine, has been a fixture on Maine’s track and field and cross country scene ever since.

After graduating from UMaine, he returned to Brewer High, where he has taught science since 1986. He has coached outdoor track for 27 years, cross country for 20 seasons and did an eight-year stint as the head indoor coach.

Somehow, Rand has found the time and energy to help unite the Maine cross country and track and field community through his efforts behind the scenes.

In 1993, he developed the sub5.com website, which was the first to publish schedules and results for meets and road races from across Maine.

Using the FinishLynx automatic timing system developed by former Witches teammate Doug DeAngelis, Rand joined his former coach, Dave Jeffrey, in creating Brewer Timing Services.

Rand also initiated the annual Maine High School Cross Country Festival of Champions held in Belfast, which is the largest high school athletic event held in Maine.

“Sometimes, track and cross country don’t get as much recognition as some of the other sports,” said Jorma Kurry, the outdoor track coach at Falmouth High School.

In March, Kurry presented Rand with the Maine Track and Cross Country Coaches Association’s Achievement Award at the group’s annual meeting. He said no such honor had been bestowed in many years.

“The [Sub5] website has brought together all sides of the running community from all over the state,” said Kurry, who also praised Rand for his professionalism and poise.

Rand recalled that he and his Brewer teammates would run across the Penobscot River once a week to the Bangor Public Library, where they would scour newspapers from Portland and Waterville to check up on their downstate competition.

That sparked his desire to start the Sub5 website, where information from Maine meets would be available to everyone at the click of a mouse.

Through his efforts introducing meet management software, which is used statewide, Rand helped transform the compilation and dissemination of accurate, organized meet results.

“[Brewer Timing Services is] sort of recognized across New England as people you can always count on to get the meet done efficiently and accurately,” Kurry said.

Rand pointed out that the level of FinishLynx timing and results compilation used by Brewer Timing Services rivals what is used at the international level.

Jeffrey, who handles the day-to-day operation of Brewer Timing Services, said it was Rand who worked out the bugs of the meet software as they tried to implement it.

“He may be the smartest guy that I know,” Jeffrey said. “He has the ability to cut through all the layers and get right to the heart of the matter.”

The XC Festival of Champions, which Rand said was initiated with the help of Dale Nealy and Jo-Ann Nealy of Belfast, celebrates its 13th anniversary next fall. It was started in part because Maine runners, at the time, were not allowed to compete at the New England Championships.

Last October, 70 teams and 1,700 runners converged on the Troy Howard Middle School for the meet, which brings together athletes from across New England and the Canadian Maritimes.

“It’s in a class by itself. There’s nothing like it, not only in Maine but maybe in New England,” Jeffrey said. “[Rand] had this vision of what would work and what kids would want to do.”

Behind the scenes, Rand has served for 15 years as liaison to the Maine Principals’ Association cross country committee. In that role, he tries to keep administrators, principals and athletic directors up to speed on issues affecting the sport.

He also is the chair of the Orrington School Committee, which means he attends meetings of the Brewer School Committee and the Alternative Organizational Structure 47 (Orrington and Dedham).

On many spring afternoons, Rand can be found overseeing a group of more than 100 Brewer track and field athletes at the Brewer Community School track.

He is pleased that two of his three sons, Luke and Colby, have followed in his footsteps running at Brewer High. He knows first hand the impact the experience can have on a young person.

“He constantly talks to the kids he coaches about what running can do for you and how it can change your life,” Jeffrey said. “It certainly has made him who he is.”

Rand said the time and energy he devotes to various running-related pursuits are an attempt to show his appreciation for what the sport has done for him.

“You always look back on decisions you make in your life and how your life might have turned out differently,” Rand said. “My life would be a lot different if I hadn’t found the sports of cross country and track and field. It becomes part of who you are, so you try to give back in any way that you can.”

 

http://bangordailynews.com/2014/05/15/sports/brewer-coach-helps-transform-unite-maine-track-cross-country-community/ printed on September 18, 2014