AUGUSTA — Andy Spaulding makes it sound so easy.

“You take aptitude, mix it with a desire to be good and then mix in having a great mental makeup for competition,” he said.

The 51-year-old Freeport resident has displayed that fortitude time and time again the past 35 years as a distance runner in the Pine Tree State. And he has passed that mantra onto younger generations.

That desire to strive to be the best — and continue to give back to the sport that gave him so much in return — was a driving force behind his induction into the Maine Running Hall of Fame on Sunday, Nov. 13 at Governor Hill Mansion.

Spaulding, a 1990 Searsport District High School graduate, joins the likes of Joan Benoit-Samuelson — and others — in the 21st class of inductees since 1989.

Spaulding, inducted with Kelly Bennett Brown, Ralph Fletcher, Gladys Ganiel, Louis Luchini, Kevin McDonald, Glendon Rand, Maureen Sproul and Tim Wakeland, said he is happy to have been able “to be in with such a cool, talented group of people.”

“I’m happy, excited … and I’m fulfilled,” he said. “I think that’s the word. Running is a hard gig. It’s not an easy sport to be good at and it takes a ton of persistence and fortitude to be good at it and have a long career at it.”

Spaulding said: “I was so fired up and just loving every minute of the couple hours of socializing before we got into the actual inductions.”

“The greatest feeling is one of, feeling like, ‘Wow I’m now, on some level, a peer with those people who have done so much for our sport.’ Whether they’re in the Running Hall of Fame because of their running achievements or the things they’ve given to the sport. Or, and I think I’m in this category, a little bit of both.”

Spaulding began running cross country as an eighth grader alongside his father, Bruce, and turned it into a longstanding run of excellence in the sport.

He helped SDHS win the state Class C cross-country championship as a junior in 1987 and went on to finish third in the state meet as an individual his senior year.

“When we ran the times, only [Class B] Cape Elizabeth beat us that year and only by a point or a couple points,” he said. “It would have been pretty amazing to have an all-class meet and to have had the chance to beat everyone.”

Spaulding also won the 3,200 meter state Class C championship in outdoor track and field his senior year.

Collegiately, Spaulding continued at the University of Maine, where he placed third in the North Atlantic Conference 10,000 meters and sixth in the New England Outdoor Track and Field Championship 10,000 meters.

After college, Spaulding’s passion turned to marathons where he ran a bevy of high-profile 26.2-mile races, including a personal record of 2:27:54 at the 2000 Las Vegas Marathon.

His other notable PRs include 14:41 in 5K races, 30:19 (track) and 31:06 (road) in 10K races and 1:07.50 in half-marathons.

Spaulding also was the top Mainer to finish the TD Beach to Beacon in 2001 and 2002 and also has notable victories in the Hancock 10-miler, Camden 10K, Midwinter Classic 10M, Bridgewater 4 on the 4th and the Oxford Hills 8K.

In 2002, Spaulding also co-founded the Dirigo Running Club with Barry Logan, Ethan Hemphill and Todd Coffin, the latter of whom also is in the Maine Running Hall of Fame.

While Spaulding said being a co-founder of the Dirigo Running Club “is in its own category,” winning the Maine Division of back-to-back Beach to Beacon races in 2001 and 2002 “was personally just incredibly fulfilling,” particularly given the $1,000 prize that goes to that runner.

“While Maine and most states don’t really have a true state championship for open road racing, the Beach to Beacon to us, because of that Maine Division money, it’s as close as any state is going to get. It’s a weird wrinkle. It’s a race within a race,” he said.

While Spaulding said he “ran a great race in 2001,” he vividly recalled his 2002 finish where another Maine runner, Bob Winn, “had me dead to rights.”

“He had me by like 12 seconds with just over 800 meters to go, and I really rallied. Those both were cool moments for me. To run great races [and] to execute when stakes were highest.”

The majority of inductees — as did Spaulding — thanked the running clubs, coaches and peers who helped them along their long journeys. But Spaulding also made it a point to encourage others to encourage the growth of running in Maine “and give back as much as we can.”

While he has never had an “official” coaching job, Spaulding hopes to get involved in that capacity in the future.

“One of the things I love about running is whether you’re trying to run 13:20 like Louis Luchini and make an Olympic team or whether you’re trying to complete your first 5K and maybe you’ll be lucky to run 33 minutes. It still is mentally and physically trying. And the sense of feeling and accomplishment is very high as well,” Spaulding said.

And, a return to pounding the pavement himself is not out of the question.

Among his many racing accomplishments, Spaulding has participated in the USATF National Club Cross-County Championships nine times in various divisions since the early 1990s nationwide, highlighted by a 15th-place finish in 2011.

Should he make the decision to return to running form, Spaulding hopes to participate for a 10th time down the road.

“I feel like maybe I’ve got one more [running] comeback in me,” he said.

The athletic apple did not fall far from the tree either as a new era of excellence is underway for the Spaulding family.

His 15-year-old daughter, Josie, and 16-year-old son, Will, participate in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track. Will recently helped the Freeport boys win their second straight state Class B cross-country title.

And Spaulding’s 16-year-old son, Eli (Will’s fraternal twin), has made a name for himself on the golf course. And then some.

Eli has won the Maine Principals’ Association schoolboy Class B golf championship and Maine Junior Golf championship two years running, along with winning the 31st annual New England Interscholastic Golf Championship on Monday, Oct. 31 at the Mohegan Sun Golf Club in Baltic, Conn.

Spaulding said his son “has always been good,” but his game went to another level as he approached high school “and just immersed himself into golf.”

“We’ve been incredibly lucky,” said Spaulding. “There are two places in Maine I think you could be this lucky. You could live [in the Midcoast] and have Cole Anderson to look up to and see what the real deal looks like. Not real deal Maine, like a national class golfer. And the other place is to be a member at Brunswick where we happen to be members and Eli is really good buddies with [U.S. Open qualifier] Caleb Manuel.”

Needless to say, the relationship has paid dividends on the links for the 16-year-old.

“He’s gotten stronger, he’s now hitting it a lot farther and he’s hitting a ton more birdies,” said his dad. “My game has also gotten much better by extension. But it is so fun.”

Aptitude, mixed with a desire to be good and a strong mental makeup for competition.

The Spauldings have those in spades.