BAR HARBOR — Robin Emery will speak at a special author event at the Jesup Memorial Library on Thursday, June 6, at 7 p.m. Lamoine resident Emery, who is considered a pioneer in the sport of road racing in Maine, will be at the library with Ed Rice, fellow runner and author of the new book “Robin Emery: Maine’s First Lady of Road Racing.”
Emery began running in 1967 when her nightly jog turned into a 4-mile run. When she started running, women were not allowed to race with men and there were no sports teams for girls in schools.
She had tried a range of sports as a child, from golf to football, before establishing herself in the field of running. In many races, she was the only woman running and the organizers only reluctantly let her enter.
In 1972, Emery was one of the first two women to run in the Portland Boy’s Club 5-miler, the oldest race in the state. While directors initially vetoed the women’s applications, they eventually allowed both women to race, and Emery went on to win the women’s division 13 times.
She continued to integrate races around the state and went on to inspire countless women and girls including Maine’s Olympic gold medal winning Joan Benoit Samuelson, who started running in 1974 and was the first woman to beat Emery in a road race.
At 51, Emery had won more than 250 races in Maine, two national championships, and a 10th place finish in the cross-country master’s division. Now in her seventies, Emery continues to run every day, 40 miles a week.
Rice grew up in Bangor and was a reporter for several daily newspapers, including the Lewiston Daily Sun and the Portland Press Herald. He also worked as a theater critic and arts commentator for the Portland Press Herald, Maine Sunday Telegram, Maine Times and Maine Public’s Maine Things Considered.
He is the author of “Baseball’s First Indian, Louis Sockalexis: Penobscot Legend, Cleveland Indian” and “Native Trailblazer, Andrew Sockalexis: Penobscot Indian who Followed the Maine Running Path to Glory and Tragedy.”
Rice is also an avid long distance runner who has run and completed 27 marathons and created Bangor’s popular Terry Fox 5-K Run.
Rice and Emery are both members of the Maine Running Hall of Fame.
Books will be on sale that night courtesy of Sherman’s Books. Contact 288-4245.