Heat Overwhelms Runners in Old Port Half Marathon Sunday

Laura Johnson Placed 2nd in the Womens’ Overall Half Marathon With a Time of 1:30:34. She Lives in the Old Port.

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 1,471)

Three thousand runners from Texas to Maine descended upon the Ocean Gateway Terminal today for the third running of the Shipyard Old Port 5K  Half Marathon race. Some half marathon runners were surprised by the modified course that took them through hillier terrain than previously, along Commercial Street that was “bad” and that the repeated Back Cove loop should be eliminated.  Furthermore, the modified course was generally along a route that had no shade on it to protect runners from the heat and high humidity.  The course was modified because of construction to the Falmouth bridge. On the ABC nightly,  national television news, it was reported that five runners in a half marathon in Portland required hospitalizataion for heat exhaustion.  The Portland Press Herald reported briefly today that dozens of runners were treated for heat exhaustion on site.  Erik Bouchard, race director, was not available for comment following the award ceremony in front of the Ocean Gateway Termnal.

Fortunately, some racers came for other reasons as well.  Doug Conomy, who came up from Washington, D.C. said:  “This is one of the few races in the summer.  I’ve been training for it for the past three months.”  Kent Fefter and his famly came from New York because “we wanted an excuse to come to Maine.”  Kevin Campbell, Memphis, said he’d never been to Maine before so they decided to “kill two birds with one stone.”

Experienced marathon runner, Laura Johnson, 31, took second place in the half marathon, although she did not know at the time how many women racers that included.  Her time was 1:30:34 for the thirteen plus mile race.  Johnson said she has run the Boston marathon twice, but likes doing local races better.  Originallly, she’s from Bangor, but moved away and came back to Portland a year ago.  She intends to run in the Maine marathon in the fall but is not out to qualify for Boston again.  Johnson’s mother is a runner as well.

Numerous vendors were on site in front of the Ocean Gateway Terminal giving out samples of their products.  One of the vendors was Ed Crockett, owner of Eli’s Soda.  By the end of the race he expected to hand out between 500 – 1,000 samples of his cold and appreciated sodas.  Crockett said that handing out a  healthy drink like this “is a flashback to my youth on Kellogg Street” where he grew up.