Posted by: David D. Daggett | March 7, 2011

The Elite Observer

The Elite Observer

        Gary Allen has quite a record going. He is one of very few people who has run a sub- three hour marathon in five different decades. We were privileged to have him as the annual banquet speaker for the 33rd anniversary of our track club.

The Elite Observer

         An hour and twenty minutes after Gary was introduced, it was hard to believe that this was his first time on the road as a speaker. His life lessons laced with stories were so engaging that, except for bedtimes, we could have gladly heard an hour more.

        Gary’s story is becoming legendary. He was born, raised, and lives on tiny Cranberry Island off the Maine coast. The longest road on the island is 2 miles. Gary has run over 75,000 miles up and down this road. So far, he has run 79 marathons, with 62 of them in under 3 hours. He is the only member of the five decades club whose fifth decade time, 2:51:03, was faster than his first decade time of 2:52:41 back in the ‘70’s.

       He is also the race director of the Mount Desert Island Marathon in nearby Bar Harbor, Maine. Gary’s passion for running and for people has made this race the Runner’s World magazine’s winner for “Most Scenic” marathon, and runner up for “Best Overall.”Those are pretty high marks, particularly for a home grown type race in a far away type place.

       Mostly though, Gary loves people and he loves running. He loves “observing life in action” and along the way has had some remarkable experiences. For example, he ad hoc escorted Lance Armstrong through his first marathon and ensured a sub three hour result. He is friends with the running superstars such as Dick Beardsly, Joan Benoit Samuelson, and Frank Shorter.

      Cindy and I enjoyed chatting with Gray before and after the dinner. I think we have a friend in Maine, and I wouldn’t be surprised to catch us at some point on that two mile stretch of asphalt. Perhaps we’ll learn more about people than about running.



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