Pete BottomleyThe following race recap was written by Pete Bottomley, the Director of Sales & Marketing at Coast of Maine Organic Products, Inc. Pete is a masters runner for Dirigo, R.C. and competes in mostly middle distance races in Southern Maine. He ran his first marathon this past April in Boston, and this past weekend traveled out to Ohio to compete in the USATF Club Cross Country National Championships. Pete is also the race director and primary fund raiser for the New England Mile.

Dirigo splashed onto the front pages of the National running scene this past weekend at the USATF XC NATIONALS in West Chester, Ohio.

Dirigo Masters Team after USATF Cross Country ChampionshipsOur team was represented by Christine Reaser in the Women’s Masters and Todd Coffin, Dan Franek, Mark Goettel, Mike Payson, Rob Pierce, Tom Ryan and me in the Men’s Masters. I don’t know how to describe the course other than to say it looked like the Alaskan tundra, but more stark and the permafrost was melting! The recent 3-4 inches of slushy snow obscured the bumps and ruts in the prairie trails on which we would race the next day.

We went to bed wishing we had brought 1” spikes and hopeful that the snow would be gone by race time.

In the morning, the snow was still there and we headed over to the course telling each other that this situation was actually perfect for us Mainers!!!

Christine ran an inspired race and caught the 2nd place runner with a long surge in the final lap. With 100 to go up the slushy uphill finish, the two battled back and forth about 4 times to the end. Christine wound up a stellar 3rd place and earned the silver for her age group.

On the men’s side, we approached the race with a fine strategy devised by veteran competitor Rob Pierce….. If we could score less than 75 points, we would probably win, according to the historical results. Armed with that knowledge, we set off through the slop with confidence. At about the 5 mile mark, there were 4 of us together in the 20’s with Payson and Franek up ahead somewhere….. If we had any oxygen to do the math in our heads, we might have even realized we were having the race of our lives as a team, but…… Well, it was hard work!

We ended up putting 6 guys within 1:01 across the line and we scored 71 POINTS! Alas, the team from California, whose name we cannot utter, had all the stars lined up, so to speak, and came out ahead of us.

It was the greatest team experience ever! As is often the case with team events (especially when you get into the Masters ranks!) you can’t all be on your game on the same day, and Todd and Tom didn’t get the individual results they wanted, but these two ran their hearts out and never said a negative word.

We’re all thrilled to have had the chance to represent Dirigo and Maine. Next year – SPOKANE!

(Results: Masters 6kMasters 10kOpen 6kOpen 10kPress Release)