REMEMBERING WHAT WE ARE REALLY MISSING

Like many small businesses, scores of local road races have been hit hard by the Coronavirus pandemic. Ironic, isn’t it, that a sport that provides so many health-related benefits – both individually and communally – can now put us in danger by bringing us in close contact with one another?

This past weekend another of the sport’s signature summer events went silent and it made me nostalgic for all the many years of camaraderie and passion that the TD Beach to Beacon 10K has represented for so many people, both in its hometown of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, and wherever in the world its many fans and friends reside.

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The sport of road racing in general – but especially in New England where the tradition is so deeply-seated – has always been much more than simply a competition from Point A to Point B. In the olden days, before money and sponsors came into the sport at current levels, road trips and shared housing were the norm.

Thus, one of the throwback pleasures of Joanie Samuelsons TD Beach to Beacon 10K in her hometown of Cape Elizabeth, Maine has always been the tradition of housing invited athletes and guests with local families.

2020 would have been the 20th year that we would have returned to the home of Bill and Linda Nickerson, who have become such dear friends over those years – as have their children Julie and Geoff.

That feeling of family is universal among the professional athletes, too, who cherish an invitation to this most quintessential of New England races. Throughout the weekend, the pre-race and post-race activities are a reflection of the family atmosphere Joanie has engendered.

The pictures below give a glimpse of the quality of what has made the New England running community so special through the years, and why an invite to the TD B2B is so highly prized.

 

Our hosts Bill & Linda Nickerson

Our hosts Bill & Linda Nickerson

Toya with Hawi Keflezighi and brother Meb's host family Bill & Deena DeSena at Lobster Bake

Toya with Hawi Keflezighi and Meb’s host family Bill & Dena DeSena at the post-race Lobster Bake 2014

Boston Marathon champion Meb Keflezghi with Julie Nickerson

Boston Marathon champion Meb Keflezghi (wearing his Boston Strong scarf) with Julie Nickerson

B2B board of directors meet at C.E. High School on Thursday before the race to tighten the race fittings.

 

Toya with (buff) race founder Joan Samuelson in 2017

 

Toya with BAA Legends Guy Morse and Gloria Ratti

 

Many-time B2B Maine and master’s champion Sheri Piers embraces daughter Karley after the Falmouth, ME junior won the 4th B2B Girl’s High School Mile at Ft. Williams Park.

 

#1 Griffin Allaire of Wells, ME (red headband) holds his fire before finally winning the Boys HS Mile after taking 3rd in 2017, and 2nd in 2018.
Starting line not far from Crescent Beach
The three amigos, Linet Masai (#101), Joyce Chepkirui, Lineth Chepkirui of Kenya at start of 16th Beach to Beacon 10K
In 2018, Jake Robertson (NZL) strung the field out early. 1 mile 4:15 in very muggy conditions. Kenyan Shadrack Kipchirchir in 2nd, Stephen Sambu 3rd, Tariku Bekele (Eth) 4th, Amedework Walelegn (Eth) 5th, Ben True (Maine native)6th. Didn’t finish in that order.
In 2019, Alex Korio of Kenya wins his first race in the USA at 22nd TD Beach to Beacon 10K. His 27:34 clocking was the 2nd best in race history, :03 faster than Jake Robertson in 2018.

Ethiopian star Markos Geneti with his family who he hadn't seen since April

Ethiopian star Markos Geneti made B2B a reunion in 2014 as he hadn’t been with his family since April.  He finished 8th.

2012 TD Beach to Beacon 10K pro field featuring race founder Joan Samuelson with fellow Olympic Marathon champ Frank Shorter, Bill Rodgers, and TD Bank president Larry Wold.

Joanie's coach from back in the day, Bob Sevene, with race director par excellence Dave McGillivray

“Uh-huh,” thinks race director par excellence Dave McGillivray as he reminisces with Joanie’s coach from back in the day Bob Sevene (Happy recent birthday, Sev.)

The main course

The main course at the post-race Lobster Bake clinging to the cob

B2B legacy runner Jeff Berman (he's run all 17) with Ethiopia's Patrick Makau, 4th in 2014 B2B and former marathon world record holder who ran his first B2B

B2B legacy runnerJeff Berman hosted Kenya’s Patrick Makau in 2014, the former marathon world record holder who ran 4th in his first B2B 10K

Top end bean bag competition at Jeff an Kerri Berman's party

Top-notch corn hole competition at Jeff and Kerri Berman’s post-race party

Hanging on the wall at "Beach to Bacon", the annual gathering at Kirk and Nancy Pond's place

Hanging on the wall at “Beach to Bacon”, Kirk and Nancy Pond’s annual race-day gathering as the ice cream truck draws a crowd along the lane

B2B's oldest finisher Dotti Gray, 89, of Kirkwood, Missouri with daughter Mary (left) and daughter-in-law Karen Bauer both of whom live in Cape Elizabeth

Beneath the Pond’s party tent at Beach to Bacon, B2B 10K’s oldest finisher Dottie Gray, 89, of Kirkwood, Missouri  — multiple time Johnny Kelley Award winner — flanked by daughter Mary (left) and daughter-in-law Karen Bauer both of whom live in Cape Elizabeth

Beach to Bacon treats

Beach to Bacon treats are a sweet but sticky hit

The boys found their way to the ice ream truck, too

The boys found their way to the ice cream truck and face painter, too

Such faces

Such faces!

BAA executive director Tom Grilk with board member Gloria Ratti, wife Nancy, and Joanie at Candace Karu's host family party

Boston Athletic Association executive director Tom Grilk with BAA board member Gloria Ratti, wife Nancy, and Joanie at Candace Karu’s host family welcome party

Bob Barnaby (left) with hostess Candace Karu and Paul Daley

Bob Barnaby (left) with Spring Cove hostess Candace Karu listening to another tall tale from Paul “The Ghost” Daley

Close neighbors at Bill and Linda Nickerson's place

Close neighbors chatting us up at Bill and Linda Nickerson’s place off Shore Road along mile 4 of the race course

Big tent at post-race Lobster Bake

Big tent at post-race Lobster Bake

They have been wonderful years at the TD Beach to Beacon 10K.Thanks to Joanie and Cape Elizabeth for being such gracious hosts.

In these challenging times, we salute all the volunteers and sponsors and board members who work so hard to make the sport what it is and what we pray it will be soon again. Till then, stay safe and stay well. Let’s meet up again in 2021.

END

 

 

7 thoughts on “REMEMBERING WHAT WE ARE REALLY MISSING

  1. Great memories, Toni. I miss B2B, and seeing you and everyone else there. Same goes for Falmouth. Fingers crossed for a return to normal.

  2. Toni, great comments and pics, and must agree with all, but can only hope that a vaccine (and its use by 99% of the public) can quel (sp?) this horrific virus.
    Just a side note on the picture with Dottie Gray, she’s a multiple Missouri state record holder for the older ages, one of the first women to be a Master’s runner in MO, and is the mother-in-law of Garry Gribble, who was the founder/owner of (at one time) 5 local running specialty stores in his name. There’s now 4 stores and he sold them about 5 years ago to Running Specialty Group after 35+ years in business. He hired me 7+ years ago and kept me gainfully and fully employed for my “semi-retirement” gig. He’s one to remember, along with the Bob Ronkers and Bob Wallaces and others.

  3. Made me nostalgic, and I’ve never run that race! But it made me nostalgic for all the races I did run, many on the East Coast, sometimes staying with a welcoming host family. I miss those days, as I know all of us who have long been involved in the running community do. And although I’ve always been an optimistic person I’m finding it very hard these days to believe that we will ever be back to “normal.” I am beginning to have my doubts that there will ever be another Boston or Chicago or London or NYC Marathon, or any big event with thousands of people. The smaller races may very well survive, but I’m not sure about the larger ones and it makes we terribly sad. “Those were the days my friend, we thought they’d never end…”

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