This is the time of year when we Americans begin contemplating how we can improve our lives as we look toward a new year. Often we try to motivate ourselves by making New Year’s resolutions. Those goals, which can be simple or multifaceted, are based on our desire to live healthier and happier lives.

And it seems that the older we get, the more we realize the importance of exercise, diet and emotional well-being to our long-term health.

Staying active by undertaking activities such as walking, running, skiing, biking, swimming, weight training and aerobics can help us achieve some of our most challenging health and fitness goals.

And while many Mainers have not yet discovered the next best thing as we search for the proverbial fountain of youth, there are plenty of folks whose outstanding efforts seem to defy age and time.

On Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, BDN readers will have the opportunity to speak with some motivated Mainers who, despite having logged many years and a lot of miles, continue to inspire with their hard work and athletic achievements. The Dirigo Speaks event, entitled “Competing with Age,” will be held at the University of Maine Hutchinson Center, at 80 Belmont Ave. in Belfast, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

BDN sports editor Pete Warner will lead a conversation fueled by questions about athletic achievement as we age with runner and marathon organizer Gary Allen, Trek Across Maine organizer Gail Auclair, seven-time Trek Across Maine competitor Ron Hise and Waldo County YMCA fitness director TamEra Blades.

We want you to make this event a success by joining in the discussion. We encourage you to ask about what would you like to know about how our guests engage themselves in their sports and activities. And we also want you to share your own experiences: How have you remained active, and what advice can you offer about how to combat some of the issues that confront older athletes?

You can submit questions and suggestions by clicking on the attached question form and providing your ideas and feedback.

Allen is a Mount Desert Island resident who is a longtime runner. He is the organizer of the growing Millinocket Marathon and Half Marathon and the well-established Mount Desert Island Marathon, and also co-founded the Great Cranberry Island 50K Ultra Marathon.

He set a USA Track and Field masters record for distance running and has undertaken numerous runs to increase awareness of and raise funds for various charities.

Auclair is the Sr. Development Manager at American Lung Association of the Northeast in Augusta. She works year-round with a team of five staff members planning the Trek Across Maine undertaking route development and logistics, recruitment, sponsorship and community outreach.

Hise, who lives in Belfast, is an avid cyclist who as a teen regularly rode 30-40 miles a day several times a week with friends and biked across Vermont. He later took up mountain biking and in 2010 participated with athenahealth co-workers in his first Trek Across Maine.

Ron has ridden in seven Treks, including two with his daughter on a tandem bike. This year Ron plans on riding with his daughter, 11, and son, 9, on a triple tandem. Ron also runs and has finished the Maine Marathon, several half marathons, and numerous road races.

Blades is the fitness director at the Waldo County YMCA in Belfast where she teaches cardio classes, Zumba, step, strength and other activities. She has been a fitness professional for 33 years.

These active and well-rounded Mainers are looking forward to chatting about their experiences and involvement in athletic endeavors and sharing insights into what motivates them.

Share your questions below to guide the conversation, and we hope you can join us on Jan. 10 in Belfast.

Dirigo Speaks is sponsored by AARP Maine and is a project of AARP Maine and the Bangor Daily News. Follow BDN Events at


Pete Warner

Pete is a Bangor native who graduated from Bangor High School, Class of 1980. He earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He has been a full-time member of the Bangor...