Some truly inspiring women

On a recent trip to Carrabassett Valley for my annual “girls” weekend with a few 50-something friends, we talked a lot about what we were doing to keep the physical effects of aging at bay. Things like “boot camp,” half marathons, water bicycles and kettle balls were mentioned. It occurred to me that a quarter-century earlier, when we were probably all at our “prime” physical condition, these are things we never would have heard of, and in my case, ever imagined.

As you read through the stories in this issue of Maine Women, you will find a lot of these things being mentioned, for sure. But, more importantly, you will read about passion, commitment, dedication, and the caring spirit that our “good sports” have in their pursuit of athletics and life. As our beautiful cover photo indicates, these women overcome many obstacles and challenges in order to achieve the success that they each have in their respective disciplines.

Meet Sarah Gahagan, a 28-year-old fitness instructor from Presque Isle who finds fulfillment in helping others to achieve their goals – even when they think they “just can’t do it.” Gahagan likes to challenge herself, but she really likes to help others to become more motivated to realize their own potential. If she lived a little closer, I would be checking out her “Outbound” program, for sure. Read more on page 7.

Kate Punderson, 42, from Carrabassett Valley, found her passion and ultimate career through her efforts to become a member of the U.S. Ski Team. Though that never happened, it certainly never slowed Punderson down, and in effect, it drove her to be a leader and example for others. Now using her talent as the head of the well-known Carrabassett Valley Academy, Punderson is an inspiration to young men and women from all over the country. In her role, Punderson also focuses on helping these students to develop their individual strengths. See page 9 for more on this.

The second most-decorated female track and field athlete to ever emerge from Bates is much more focused on her community development than on her personal achievements. Vantiel Elizabeth Duncan, 25, who hails from Topsham, is an inspiration to me. Not only does she drive herself to maximize her potential, she also drives herself to make her community a better place for everyone. Giving back is certainly an important aspect of being a “good sport.” You can read more about Duncan on page 5.

These stories, along with our regular Maine Women features, will entertain and inspire you. You may take up a new sport, or find the motivation that’s been lost, or help someone around you to do just that. Whatever you take away, thank you for reading. As always, stay tuned to us on Facebook, and watch for the next issue of Maine Women – on the stands by Sept. 25.

Lee Hews, Publisher

Lee Hews, The Publisher

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