As Lydia Kouletsis began training for her first marathon, her legs were giving her trouble. She didn’t want to risk them on a treadmill, and it was mid-February so she didn’t want to risk them outside either.

“So I ran laps around a basketball court at a gym for the first couple weeks,” Kouletsis said.

Kouletsis, a 22-year-old Oakland native, not only completed her first marathon, she crushed it. She was the top female finisher on June 15 at the Bay of Fundy International Marathon in Lubec, with an official time of 3 hours, 23 minutes, and 24 seconds.

Kouletsis ran in the Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon two years in a row and said she decided last summer that she wanted to push herself to 26.2 miles. Her road map was an 18-week training program she found online.

“I’ve always been a long distance runner,” Kouletsis said. “Making the jump to the marathon, I really didn’t know what to expect. The program I was (doing), you run a mile more each week. It eases you in.”

When race day arrived, Kouletsis, who is a student at the University of New England’s College of Pharmacy, had a top distance of 22 miles. She certainly noticed when she passed that mark during the marathon.

“I could feel my legs hurting,” she said. “They were so tired.”

The qualifying time for next year’s Boston Marathon is 3:35. Kouletsis beat that with more than 10 minutes to spare. She said that time was one of her goals and is considering running at Boston next year.

“I would love to, to tell you the truth,” she said. “My question about being able to run in Boston is it’s so early in the year. Being in April, you have to start training in January, and January in Maine, the (terrain) is not ideal.”

So what kind of advice would Kouletsis give to people like her, who have completed a half marathon and are thinking about going the next step?

“You commit to running five days a week, and with the distance, it takes hours,” she said. “The best advice that I could give is you have to believe that it is possible, and you have to want to do it.”

• • •

With four races in the books, the Quarry Road Summer Race Series is off to a great start. Series director Patrick Guerette said interest has increased this season from last year’s debut.

“I think it’s just more people are finding out about it,” Guerette said. “Word of mouth is the best form of advertising.”

The races are held at the Quarry Road trails on most Tuesdays through mid-August. This week’s race was a 3K and Fun Run.

“We had 81 people in the 3K, and we had 33 kids in the Fun Run,” Guerette said. “With both of them combined, I think it was our highest week ever.”

Guerette said that, seemingly against all odds, the weather has even cooperated.

“It’s been a little humid a couple races,” he said. “(Tuesday) night we thought it was going to rain. It ended up spitting at us a little bit, but we ended up having perfect racing weather.”

Through four weeks, Tony Dalisio is the men’s leader, followed by Greg Goodhue, Barry Hopkins, Patrick Cote, and Jamey Epstein. On the women’s side, Maranacook cross country coach Rosalea Kimball won the first three races and is in first place. Tracy Cote, Ashley McCarthy, Julie Millard, Julie Millard, and Jess Beers round out the top five.

• • •

Looking to run? Camp NEOFA in Montville is holding its first 5K Family Fun Run, Walk, or Roll. Race time is 8 a.m. Saturday at the camp on Trues Pond. You can print off a registration form and get more information here. … PFBF is holding its annual half marathon and 5K run or walk. The race, which benefits Camp Sunshine, is 8 a.m. Sunday. You can get more information here.

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo


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