It’s an annual trip that includes a little bit of business and a little bit of pleasure.
For the husband-wife running tandem of Sheri and Wayne Piers of Falmouth, Patriots Day weekend not only offers a chance to get away for a weekend, but an annual 26.2-mile ritual.
Sheri Piers, one of Maine’s top road racers, headlines a throng of 182 Pine Tree State folks who will participate in Monday’s Boston Marathon.
The last time Piers was there, she was on American running’s grandest stage, competing in the Olympic marathon trials.
And she excelled, finishing 16th in an elite field and recording a time of 2 hours, 38 minutes, 46 seconds, which helped earn Piers a starting slot in the corral of elite female athletes.
“I’m so excited to be part of the elite start, because to be able to run with all those amazing runners [and] not have to fight the crowd, that’s going to be really exciting for me,” Piers said.
Which can be tough, as runners starting in the other corrals usually have to weave for position early in the race before establishing a pace.
“I’ve been in the sixth corral, fourth corral, and even [in the] second there’s a lot of elbowing, it’s tough,” Piers said.
Sheri Piers is participating in her fifth Boston Marathon while Wayne is running in his third.
“It’s a running weekend,” she said. “This is kind of our weekend away.”
Piers’ Boston training jumpstarted in January, and included a half-marathon in Sarasota, Fla., in February.
However, things hit a speed bump at the New Bedford (Mass.) half marathon later that month, as Piers pulled her right hamstring in that race.
But a local running friend was quick to come to her rescue.
“Mike Gaige does massage therapy, he’s fantastic at what he does. He’s really been crucial for me,” said Piers, who added that the hamstring feels “pretty good.”
Piers was maintaining a regime of 120 miles per week which included two days of speed work and long runs which varied from 17 to 24 miles.
She’s hoping to conquer a course that has not been nice to her in the past.
“I just mentally have a difficult time on this course, I’ve never really run well on it,” Piers said. “I’m hoping this year is going to be the year for me.”
Other local runners include Evan Graves of Caribou, Gary Allen of Cranberry Island, Don Audibert of Fort Kent, Mark Brooks of Hartland, Julie Brown of Millinocket, Andrea Hatch of Castine, Jeanne Butterfield of Bangor, Dedham’s Patricia Craig, Mary Dudzik of Bar Harbor, Matt Frongillo of Bar Harbor, Michele Gagnon of Ellsworth, Camden’s Bonnie Gallagher, Knud Hermansen of Old Town, Marilyn Hintz of Stillwater, Ellsworth’s Matt Homich, Lou Ingrisano of Mount Desert, Douglas Johnstone of Camden, Richard Lyons of Hampden, Roger Marquis of Old Town, Sub 5 Track Club president Samantha Matoush of Bangor, Jim Newett of Ellsworth, Mary Parsons of Hampden and Amy and Tim Tunney of Ellsworth.
The race can be viewed live online at www.UniversalSports.com.
UMaine clinics begin today
The University of Maine track and field teams are hosting a series of high and middle school development clinics for coaches and athletes, starting today.
The other clinics are set for April 29, May 6 and May 13, with all sessions lasting from 6:30-8 p.m.
The clinics will focus on technique, specifically in the pole vault, shot put, discus, javelin, high jump and triple jump, along with emphasis on starting-block work and hurdle drills.
Instructors include assistant track and field coaches Rolland Ranson, David Cusano, Kathryn Souviney and Gerhard Skall, with assistance from UMaine athletes.
There is a $5 fee for each clinic, and a waiver form must be filled out by each participant and signed by a parent or guardian if under the age of 18. The clinics meet all NCAA rules and guidelines.
B2B chooses beneficiary
Maine Handicapped Skiing, a non-profit organization that promotes year-round education and training for Maine youths with physical disabilities, has been tabbed as the beneficiary for this summer’s TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon 10K, TD Banknorth announced recently.
MHS, based in Newry, provides more than 3,700 lessons in the winter and summer and 390 volunteers help make it the state’s largest year-round program for people with disabilities..
In addition to skiing, lessons in snowboarding, cycling, golf and paddling are also offered at venues around the state.
TD Banknorth will provide a cash donation of $30,000 to Maine Handicapped Skiing. The 12th annual Beach to Beacon is set for Saturday, August 1 in Cape Elizabeth.