On Saturday, September 9, the inaugural Southern Maine XC Classic was held on the course behind Narragansett Elementary School, bringing together runners, a cadre of local volunteers, and spectators from the region. Gorham High School Head Coach Jason Tanguay served as site director after being approached about hosting a meet by 2016 Regional’s Meet Director, Mike Griffin. Griffin assisted as the meet director for the Gorham event.
John Rogers, of Portland’s Fleet Feet Sports, spearheaded a sponsorship effort for a regional meet. Tanguay, along with Griffin and Rogers, has worked for nearly a year organizing this event, which required “mass gathering” permits in anticipation of over 1,000 people in attendance.
Quick facts: Six high school races, 22 girls’ teams (293 runners), 23 boys’ teams (414 runners), and over 100 volunteers, including six Volunteers in Police Services (VIPS). While this was primarily a high school event, approximately six kids, thirty middle-schoolers, and twenty adults were offered the opportunity to participate in their respective kids’, middle school, and adult races, surrounded by all the energy of a high school invitational.
Tanguay anticipates this early season event to continue contingent upon sponsorship, which is currently funded for another two years. He said, “This established a good foundation and, hopefully, it grows.”
While there were 700-plus runners present, volunteers were hustling, but not harried, suggesting good planning and implementation. Tanguay was quick to solicit coaches’ feedback via an email survey for future planning purposes.
As far as the Rams boys’ and girls’ performances, in which the girls won the overall team title, Tanguay commented, “I am excited about both the boys’ and girls’ start of the season. The name of the game between now and October is doing our best and staying healthy.” In a sport where training and racing are necessarily overtly designed to build and peak for late-season racing, the coach added, “We still have work to do.”