LEWISTON – Trucks rumbled behind Kaila Fletcher as they climbed the hill from the Longley Bridge into Lewiston up Main Street.

The Edward Little High School cross country runner sat on the median between Main Street and Canal Street with her chin tucked into her palms, her elbows resting comfortably on her knees.

“Have they started the race yet?” Fletcher asked.

A time check revealed 8:23 a.m. No, the race hadn’t started.

“I have to start getting up early like this every day next week,” Fletcher said of the impending school year.

But she was not alone. The Edward Little cross country team was among the dozens of volunteers who helped at the eighth annual L/A 5K Bridge Run. Fletcher was manning the spot usually occupied by EL coach Dan Campbell, who was out of town.

“I’m here to cheer on all the runners,” said Fletcher. “It’s fun. It makes me feel really good to hear people cheering when I run, so I know how it feels.”

Meanwhile, at Mile 2, Ike Lecompte (race director Mike Lecompte’s father) and his friend Lloyd Melanson, of Vermont, poured cups of Poland Spring water into small, paper cups.

“It’s my son, I’ve got to help him out,” Lecompte said.

“We helped in this last year,” said Melanson, who on Friday celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary. “We figured we’d come down and help again this year, too. My wife likes to go up to Boothbay, so it’s a nice little trip for us.”

Closer to the start/finish line, Tom Esponnette, another of Campbell’s runners, directed the first wave of runners as they crossed the South Bridge for the first time, heading into Lewiston toward Railway Park. Duties completed, he turned his attention to the other end of Cedar St., where runners would, 15 minutes later, start to make their final charge to the finish.

For Mike Lecompte, the EL team, his family and members of L/A Trails were just some of the people he needed to make the race a success.

“It’s really a family thing for me,” Mike Lecompte said. “It’s great that they help out, but it’s amazing, too, how many other people we get. People just come together for this. It’s important for the community, and it shows some great support.”


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