Articles tagged #Gary Allen
Today's Running News
Gary Allen is going to sharing his thoughts and knowledge here in MBR’s Running News Daily under the banner “Marathon Man Gary Allen.”
In his first column I sent him some questions so we all could get a flavor of what makes this incredibly creative and talented man tick. I know I am looking forward to his writings here and I hope you are too!
So Gary, how did you discover running?
”I wanted to be a hockey player,” wrote Gary “but there weren’t enough kids on the small Maine Island I am from for a team. Then in 1972 I saw a skinny guy named Frank Shorter run into a stadium in Munich and I was like cool, you can win a gold medal just for running.”
How important is running to you?
“I have been involved with running for my entire life so assigning importance to who and what I am is like trying to describe how big the universe is to an ant. It is impossible for me to adequately portray how all encompassing running is to me as a part of my life,” says Gary.
Does being an accomplished runner help you put on first class events?
“Absolutely! The races I direct are direct reflections of what and how I expect races to be run. I would never ask anyone to do something I haven’t done so I merely apply my expectations and my creativity to every race I help to organize.”
What one race you have run stands out as number one?
“Ahhhhh I can’t narrow it down to one race. However, Boston is always high on every list. I have one more to run to make a quarter century of unicorn chasing. The Burning Man ultra (photo) is a race I love beyond words. It helped change my thinking about how races run.
“A combination of an other worldly environment and no entry fee helped to expand my thinking. NYC (19 finishes) is where I was inspired to become a race director after watching Fred Lebow in action in 1980. It is reality true, if you can make it there you can make it anywhere!
Tell us about your coaching?
“I have coached at the HS level and coached many individuals over the years but my current team is at Mount Desert Elementary School where I have been the XC coach for the past 12 years.
“My philosophy is pretty simple, make running fun and kids will want to run more and the more they run the better they get at running which is of course even more fun for them!
“One of of our key workouts is called, zombie tag. We run in the surrounding Maine woods and trails and I assign a few zombies and the rest of the team tries to run away and not get caught.
“I also love to hide pizzas in the woods and have the kids run around and find them! Apparently my methods work cause in the past decade plus we have won almost every meet we’ve run!”
What are your personal goals as a runner?
“As a race director: I want to leave our sport better than I found it.
”As a coach: I want to inspire the next generations of runners to think about running for their entire lives. Rather they run or not matters little, but I want them to always remember and to love running knowing some will go on and be involved in our sport as competitors, coaches or even as race directors.
”As a competitor: I have accomplished pretty much every goal I’ve set for myself. Of late I struggle some with the naturally selfish nature of being a long distance runner.
“The single dimensional, ‘I’m training for,’ ‘Look at me’ has become less and less appealing to me over the years.
“As you know one of my proudest achievements is joining the five decades Sub 3 hour marathon club. At this point nobody on earth has run a sub 3 hr marathon in six consecutive decades so maybe it’ll give it a shot in 2020!
“Incidentally Joan Benoit Samuelson is the only other Mainer on the list and the only woman who has done this and I wouldn’t count out Joanie to run a sub 3 for her 6th decade.
Can you give us some background info?
“For Work: Lobsterman, Boat Builder, Carpenter, Yacht captain, Farmer, Auctioneer, Coach, Inspirational speaker.”
”Some Personal Records: Marathon 2:39:10, Half Marathon 1:13:20, 50 miles 6:21.
”My family settled on Great Cranberry Island in the 1670s. I am 12th generation. It’s a small offshore Island off the coast of Maine. It’s probably the most unlikely place to become a runner as the main road is only two miles long. I built my own house by hand from trees growing on my land. I dug my well with a shovel figuring they used to do it that way so why couldn’t I?” (Sun 16) ⚡AMPby Bob Anderson
Just four years after it started, a race that was meant to breathe some new life into a former mill town continues to balloon, with this weekend’s Millinocket Marathon and Half expected to draw more than twice as many runners as last year’s race. Some 2,600 runners are slated to run the mountainous course on Saturday, up from about 1,200 who came from across the country to run it last year. The races, which are 26.2 and 13.1 miles long, will start at 10 a.m. at Veterans Memorial Park in Millinocket. re than twice as many runners as last year’s race. Racers don’t need to pay a registration fee; instead, organizers have urged them to support local restaurants, shops and hotels. They started the race in 2015 with the goal of bringing economic activity to a region that was battered by the closure of two paper mills. Like last year, a number of local establishments are stepping up to feed and entertain the runners and their fans, offering spaghetti dinners, a variety show, an artisan fair, an ugly sweater party and other events from Friday afternoon to Saturday night. “Everything that’s happening is just being done better,” said Gary Allen
, the race’s founder. “The town is becoming more and more actively involved with dinners and breakfasts and dances, and actively looking at it as an opportunity to welcome people to their town. Just as runners train for competitions, I think the town is becoming an expert in hospitality and welcoming people.” (Thu 6) ⚡AMP
Whether he’s designing race courses or participating on them, running has taken Gary Allen
all over the country. This month, the Great Cranberry Island resident has had to make travel arrangements for a different reason. Allen was named the MarathonFoto Road Race Management Race Director of the Year on Thursday and inducted into the Maine Running Hall of Fame on Sunday. The two ceremonies took the founder of Crow Athletics and the Mount Desert Island Marathon from one end of the Eastern Seaboard to the other in just a matter of days. “It was definitely a tremendous honor to receive both awards, and it was even more humbling to be at both ceremonies in the same week,” Allen said. “Going from place to place for those few days was definitely a very busy time — I almost missed by connecting flight [back to Maine] — but it was worth it because it was a fun and special week.” Early last week, Allen made the trip to St. Petersburg, Fla., where he was named Road Race Management Race Director of the Year. In a press release prior to the ceremony, Road Race Management President Phil Stewart cited Allen’s work directing the MDI Marathon, which has received national attention from both Runner’s World and New England Runner for its scenery, design and atmosphere. The award, four-time Boston Marathon winner and 1976 United States Olympic team representative Bill Rodgers once said, is essentially “the gold medal of race directing.” Allen was nominated by friend O.J. Logue. He had no idea he was being considered, but the committee of directors, athletes, media members and others in the running community deemed him worthy. “The running community and the state of Maine have greatly benefited from [Gary’s] tireless energy and vision put forth into action,” Stewart said. “Gary has the extraordinary ability to create a concept and act upon it in a meaningful way. … His accomplishments and energy are legendary in Maine.” Three days later, Allen was named to the Maine Running Hall of Fame at Governor’s Hill Mansion in Augusta. The MDI Marathon itself was also included among the 10 inductees. In addition to his work with the MDI Marathon, Allen has received notoriety in recent years for his creation of the Millinocket Marathon. He created the race as a way to boost the Katahdin region’s local economy. Gary is also going to be sharing his insights and knowledge in his regular writings for My Best Runs in Running News Daily under the Marathon Man banner. (Fri 30) ⚡AMP
Long-distance runners have a reputation for being as wacky as they are driven. Gary Allen
is proof positive of both. As coach of the Mount Desert Island Middle School cross-country team, he trains his squad mostly by playing zombie invasion games behind the school. He has a screaming-loud stocking hat for every occasion. He’s ebullient and sometimes long-winded but knows how to affect reticence with an authenticity that would make any fellow Mainer proud. He treats everyone like his new best friend and begins each conversation with, “Hi. I’m Gary Allen.” Allen has run a hundred marathons and won his age group in more than a few. In fact, he is one of a few worldwide who have run a sub-three-hour marathon in five different decades. He’s the founder of the Mount Desert Island Marathon and the Great Run, a six-hour ultramarathon where competitors simply run back and forth on Great Cranberry Island as many times as they can. But none of that means much to the 4,500 people who call Millinocket, Maine USA home. When they talk about a marathon, they’re talking about the one Allen first organized last year — the one that put the town on the long-distance map after Runner’s World picked up the story. The one that has more than 1,000 people clamoring to fly across the country for the opportunity to run here on December 10. Like most of Allen’s schemes, this one started on a whim. Around Thanksgiving last year, he read yet another newspaper article characterizing Millinocket’s economic woes. “It’s not like I set out to find a little town to help. It’s more like a little town found me.” There’ve been a lot of those articles since the Great Northern paper mill closed here in 2008. In the years since, Millinocket has become a symbol for the failure of America’s manufacturing monotowns. That doesn’t sit well with locals here. And it rubbed Allen the wrong way last fall too. Millinocket needed a boost, sure. But not a handout. So Gary Allen decided to do what Gary Allen does best: he organized an impromptu marathon. This race was open to all and charged no entry fee. Instead, Allen suggested that participants take the money they would have spent on registration and spend it in Millinocket. He didn’t advertise any of this except to post it to his Facebook page. Nonetheless, about 50 of his friends agreed to show up for what may well have been America’s first flash-mob marathon. Allen mapped the course on Google Earth. It’s a gorgeous one: a lazy loop with lots of views of Katahdin and several miles on the iconic Golden Road, a 96-mile stretch of gravel connecting Millinocket and the Canadian border, before it drops back down into town for a finish at Veterans Memorial Park. Allen warned participants that they’d need to be totally self-sufficient during the race. He printed out slips of paper detailing how to stay on the course. After they were done running, he figured they could have lunch or do some holiday shopping, then fuel up their cars and head home. Millinocket might not even realize they’d been there. But word got out around in close-knit Millinocket. By the time Allen rolled into town, local businesses had emblazoned signs welcoming the runners. Locals set up a water station around the 5-mile mark and stood for hours guiding runners on the course and directing traffic. A cheering section assembled at the finish. In other words, the marathon flash mob got flash-mobbed by the town they were supposed to be helping. And in that moment was born an unlikely love affair between one of Maine’s most charismatic runners and a town looking to get back on its feet. After last year’s race, townspeople asked Allen if he’d organize another one. He agreed. And he said he thought he could make it bigger, better. Earlier this year, he returned to Millinocket with a surveyor who could certify the course as an official Boston Marathon qualifier — the only one in the country without an entry fee. As it turned out, Allen’s hastily drawn loop on Google Earth was less than 50 yards off the exact required distance. While Allen and the surveyor were in town, a total stranger offered the two men a house to stay in for as long as they needed. That, says Allen, is the spirit of Millinocket — and Mainers in general, for that matter. For decades, the town was known as the “Magic City,” a nod to how it seemed to have sprung up overnight in what had previously been untrammeled wilderness. Millinocket, founded in 1901, is but a blip. And like the Greek goddess Athena, it seemed to emerge fully formed from the mill itself — first as dozens of tar-paper shacks and rooming houses; soon after, as an Anytown, USA, with a bustling main drag and orderly blocks of houses. (Photo by Michael Wilson) (Wed 28) ⚡AMPby Kathryn Miles
Michael Wardian won the 2018 Great Cranberry 100 Mile today clocking 15:29:59. An absolutely incredible run by Michael who just ran the fastest hundred miler ever recorded in the state of Maine. Michael posted this on FB. “Huge thank you to Gary Allen and the entire team at Crow athletics for such an incredible race. My sister, Mariele helped me so much from crewing, recording my splits, and even running a few laps. She kept me focused and determined. Also, I would like to give a heartfelt shoutout to all the other athletes, crews, volunteers and residents for cheering for me and each other 50 plus times. It was a battle but we did it.” (Sat 18) ⚡AMP
How fast was Amy Hastings Cragg at the Tokyo Marathon
Sunday? Think about this. Only four separate American women have ever run faster. Ever. Here are the top seven times: 2:19:36 Kastor, Deena USA London 4/23/06, 2:20:57 Hasay, Jordan USA Chicago 10/8/17, 2:21:14 Flanagan, Shalane USA Berlin 9/28/14, 2:21:16 Kastor, Deena USA London 4/13/03, 2:21:21 Benoit, Joan USA Chicago 10/20/85, 2:21:25 Kastor, Deena USA Chicago 10/9/05, 2:21:42 Cragg, Hastings, Amy USA Tokyo 2/24/18. from Gary Allen posted on FB. (Tue 27) ⚡AMP
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