Michael Adams: Road Runner
Mike Adams already has a first and Chester Rotary’s Four on the Fourth road race has not even been run yet. Mike was the first Chester resident to sign up for the 44th annual race this year. Though many road races now measure distances in kilometers, Chester calculates distance, as it always has, in miles.
Entry fees and sponsorships for Four on the Fourth support Rotary’s many community activities, among them the Chester Food Pantry, the Constance Baker Motley Scholarship to Camp Hazen, the Chester Hose Company and the Chester Land Trust.
Last year, some 800 runners signed up for the race. Deborah Vilcheck, chair of the race committee and incoming president of Chester Rotary, says in past years entries have come not only from Connecticut and neighboring states but from as far away as California and Hawaii. There has even been a runner from Mozambique.
The popularity of the race is a challenge. Mike recalls the first time he ran he was lined up about three-quarters of the way back in the pack of runners. “It was hard just getting out of the traffic,” he says.
The real test, nonetheless, comes running up the hills that are part of the route in the second and third miles. Once through them, Mike says the last miles is a smoother run.
Mike began running when he felt that mid-life had left him out of shape. At first, he was not a runner at all. He was a walker, then a jogger, but still not getting the fitness results he wanted, he turned jogging into a run. He still walks, however, some 90 minutes every morning. Then he does a run outside or on a treadmill in bad weather and walks again at lunchtime.
Mike works from home, making that exercise regime feasible. He is an Account Executive at General Mills managing their food service business in southern New England.
He says that Covid, while disruptive, was something most of his business clients learned how to manage.
“Everybody still has to eat,” he points out. “The pizza guys, they did well. They were already set up for takeout.”
Mike and his wife Kim moved to Chester from Plainville, where he grew up, some six years ago, the result of looking for a place to keep their boat. They found a marina and next found a house for themselves. Now they have both a pontoon boat and an inflatable and their own dock, which runs into Chester Creek.
Mike is deputy harbormaster in Chester, beginning his second three-year term, and an ex officio member of the Chester Harbor Management Committee. The committee, he notes, has just overseen the completion of the dredging of Chester Creek, allowing not only for better access for pleasure boaters but also improved access for the Chester Fire and Rescue boat.
On a recent afternoon sitting on his terrace overlooking Chester Creek, the conversation was punctuated by a crowing rooster. Mike bought a chicken coop for Kim when they moved here and now there are 21 chickens and a stand outside their house where they sell fresh eggs. Among the differences between just-laid eggs and store-bought eggs, Mike says, are the shells, much harder in fresh eggs. “The whole appearance of the egg, the white, the yellow, is different,” Mike adds.
According to Mike there is a seasonal difference in egg production. In summer, there are usually 15 to 18 eggs every day; in winter that can go down to five. The chickens need 10 to12 hours of daylight to lay at all, so in winter Mike has to light the coop.
The chickens have company. Mike and Kim now also have two Nigerian Dwarf Goats. Mike has built some boxes and platforms for them. “They like to jump,” he says.
Mike and Kim’s house reflects their passion for collecting, often at estate sales. The mahogany countertop of the bar on their deck was an estate sale find, as are two classic antique bar chairs. The deck itself was a Covid lockdown project built by Mike and a friend from East Haddam. A huge anchor, a birthday surprise for Kim, rests at its center.
Hanging from a tree in the yard is an old children’s bicycle, not any bicycle but a John Deere bicycle. Mike and Kim didn’t buy it the first time they saw it. When they came back, the bike was gone. The seller explained a youngster had taken it for ride. “He had to get the kid off,” Mike remembers.
Mike admits to a particular fondness for John Deere equipment. There is a John Deere wagon in the front yard and a John Deere tractor in the garage. Mike got that at an estate sale too.
The tractor shares garage space with a Polaris Quad that Mike uses for snow plowing and an assortment that includes lawn mowers, golf clubs, and new pair of running shoes. Mike jokes that he has a four-car garage that he can’t get any cars in.
Mike’s best time for Chester’s Four on the Fourth is 34 minutes. He has done a number of other local races, mostly 5Ks, and saves the numbers he wore, with his times written on each. He recalls the Frosty 5K, run on New Year’s Day in Guilford. The race lived up to its name.
“It was freezing,” he recalls. His fastest time ever in a 5K was 23.48 at the Race for Chris in Essex.
Mike, now 55, doubts he will match that time again. “I’m getting older. I’m not going to do that anymore,’ he says.
Four on the Fourth, sponsored by Chester Rotary. Race starts at 9 am in downtown Chester. For information on the race, go to Rotary’s web site: www.chesterrotary.org