Ed Rice has written a great book about Maine’s outstanding female runner, Robin Emery. Robin’s story is amazing. She started running in 1967, and fifty years later, was still running.
But her life’s story – while focused on her passion for running – is about a lot more than the races. When Robin was in school, there were no sports teams for girls, and when she started running races, women weren’t allowed to race with men.
Robin jumped into races anyway, and eventually helped lead other female runners into all of our races. Robin was even an inspiration for Joan Benoit Samuelson – who won a gold medal in the Olympics first marathon for female runners.
There are some great photos of running Robin, over the years. Robin was also a very nice person who made lots of friends and inspired many runners. And she won more than 250 women’s races.
The book is titled Robin Emery – Maine’s First Lady Of Road Racing, and was published by Down East Books.
Ed Rice is a runner too, and he became a good friend of Robin’s. Ed profiles and includes lots of other runners in the book. You may recognize his name, because Ed worked for a time for the Press Herald, Sunday Telegram, Maine Times, and Maine Public Radio. He’s also taught in high school and college and coached cross country. In 2018, Ed was inducted into the Maine Running Hall of Fame.
As a guy with the illness ALS, I am especially grateful for Ed’s support for ALS research. In 1997, he ran across Massachusetts – 162 miles in 7 days – in support of ALS research, for his friend Ginny DelVecchio who was dying of ALS. Ed co-founded, with Ginny and her husband Paul, a research fund called The Angel Fund, which today is a multi-million dollar enterprise in the greater Boston area working to find a cure for ALS. Ed even edited a book, If They Could Only Hear Me, a collection of personal essays about the fight against ALS.
In 1983, Robin told students in Blue Hill, “Running has become as much a part of me as sleeping and eating. I am in it for life, and I want to be a really fast ninety-year-old. I am addicted. Body and soul. I like myself better when I run. I can’t stop.”
She wasn’t kidding. She was 37 years old that year and had already run over 25,000 miles – equal to a trip around the world. At that time she was averaging 3,600 miles a year.
And I want you to know that you don’t have to be a runner to enjoy this inspiring story.