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.
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 Samuelson’s 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
Toya with Hawi Keflezighi and Meb’s host family Bill & Dena DeSena at the post-race Lobster Bake 2014
Boston Marathon champion Meb Keflezghi (wearing his Boston Strong scarf) with Julie Nickerson
Ethiopian star Markos Geneti made B2B a reunion in 2014 as he hadn’t been with his family since April. He finished 8th.
“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 at the post-race Lobster Bake clinging to the cob
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-notch corn hole competition at Jeff and Kerri Berman’s post-race party
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
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 are a sweet but sticky hit
The boys found their way to the ice cream truck and face painter, too
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 Spring Cove hostess Candace Karu listening to another tall tale from Paul “The Ghost” Daley
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
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.