One of Cuddledown’s own, our Marketing Assistant, Sarah Wissler, will be running in this weekend’s TD Beach to Beacon 10K race. The well-known Maine event got its start ten years ago when the first-ever female Olympic marathon winner, gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson founded the race. Based in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, and appropriately named, the 10k (6.2 mile) race starts at Crescent Beach and follows a route along the coast, winding through ocean-front neighborhoods and culminating in some rolling hills leading to one long, excruciating hill up to the finish at the iconic Portland Head Light. “That last hill is a killer,” said Sarah, “but you have the food tent pushing you on – they often have fresh blueberries and Greek yogurt – so that’s even more motivation!”
Sarah is well aware of the need for judicious fuel, and pacing, as she has run the Beach to Beacon seven times, mostly improving her times each time she races. Unlike the elite racers from throughout the world who participate, Sarah runs for pleasure. A former non-runner, she got her start in high school when a friend convinced her to do long-distance running. She came to love the team aspect of cross-country running and the challenge of trail running, and continued to run for fun and stress relief in college as well. In the past several years, she’s begun to run more frequently – at least 2-3 times/week, including running weekly with a dedicated training/racing group on Portland’s Back Cove. She even ran a half marathon (13 miles) two years ago and would love to carve out the time to train for another.
This year’s Beach to Beacon race, sponsored as always, by TD Bank, is benefiting Day One, a local nonprofit, which focuses on youth substance abuse prevention, intervention and treatment. More than over 6,000 runners participate and the spots are highly sought after. Sarah said, “I was lucky to get my slot, whereas my boyfriend, who is a much more competitive runner, didn’t even get in this year!” And more than 10,000 spectators line the route, offering encouragement, even blasting music from their homes. Sarah said, “The crowds are so friendly, and there are so many of them – it’s really motivating and makes it even more fun!”
We’ll be rooting for Sarah to have a great run and a strong finish! And a hint for future posts – she’s not the only runner we have working here – keep your eyes peeled in upcoming races around Maine for the running Pillow Man!