Runners are certainly some of the more well-rounded athletes you’ll find in any sport.
I, as you may all know, am one of them, having jumped right into the journalism fire after enjoying a great high school career at Brewer High School, and still find time to run 40 to 50 miles a week even while holding down my many reporting responsibilities at the Bangor Daily News, and on this Web site.
Melody Lam is a fine example of a renaissance athlete.
Lam, a Mt. Blue senior who won her second consecutive Eastern Maine Class A cross country championship in Belfast last weekend in 19 minutes, 37 seconds over 5,000 meters, and she’ll look for another effort against even stronger competition at the state meet at Twin Brook Recreation Center in Cumberland.
Lam and the rest of the Class A girls kick off a full day of racing at 10 a.m.
As we all know, Lam is one of the top runners in the state, but we’ve also gotten to know her writing skills over the last couple of years, as she wrote daily blogs last season for Milesplit, and enjoyed it so much she started her own personal blogging Web site at melodyonthelam.blogspot.com.
Lam’s blogs have really opened the eyes to many how demanding a sport cross country is.
“I think it gives people and idea of the intensity of running, even if you’re not involved in it,” Lam said last weekend.
Sam Seekins of Erskine Academy has joined Lam in sharing his experiences throghout the year.
As we all know, cross country is arguably one of the most demanding sports a high school athlete can take on, as it involves dedicated summer training, demanding track and speed workouts, and battles through muck and mire, over hill and dale, and through numbing winds.
And oh by the way, two-hour practices after school, and if you factor that into school work and a social life, that’s quite the day for a 14-to-18 year old.
“I write about the hard work we do and all the risks we take and our hard work so [people] really understand the commitment side to it,” Lam said.
Lam’s blogs have been a fun read over the last couple years – I have even started my own Web page on the same blogger site Melody uses – and she shares her experiences on and off the trails, and what really goes into the mental aspects of cross country, such as pre-race preparation.
“It’s good for parents to read it to because if they don’t know anything about cross country, then its good for them to get an idea of what their kid’s going through and all the determination they’re taking,” Lam explained.
All that aside, Lam will be amongst a talented Class A field this weekend which includes sophomore phenoms Abbey Leonardi of Kennebunk, Fiona Hendry and Emily Durgin of Cheverus, Gorham senior Rachel Wilkinson and fellow Eastern Maine competitors Kathleen McMahon of Brunswick and KVAC champ Kate Spies of Mount Ararat.
“The states course, it’s pretty tough, so I’m not really sure what to go for for time,” Lam said. “But I’ll probably still be looking to go sub-20.”
Lam’s Cougars finished second in regionals, four points behind Mount Ararat, but Lam wasn’t complaining.
“At KVAC’s we were nine points behind Mount Ararat and [Saturday] we were four points behind them,” she said. “Looking at the jumps we made, hopefully at states we can pull through.”
Addie Cullenberg and Gwen Beacham joined Lam in the top 10 at regionals, while Shelby Aseltine, Louisa Stanicoff, Emily Reed and Amy Hilton enjoyed solid races as well for Mt. Blue, which wasn’t complaining when regionals were originally rained out.
“We were really excited because we’d been sick, so when we heard the race was called off it was like, we have another week to prepare and to feel better,” Lam said.
No matter what she does at Twin Brook on Saturday, there’s no doubt the meet from Lam’s viewpoint will be interesting and a great read.