Weather cooperates, runners dazzle at Maine Marathon
PORTLAND—When a mighty downpour, accompanied by powerful thunder and lightning hit the area Saturday night, it looked as if the Peak Performance Maine Marathon, Half Marathon and Relay's run of good luck was about to come to an end.
But Sunday morning, all was tranquil and the record field that took part in the 18th version of the race (which began in Portland and traversed Falmouth, Cumberland and Yarmouth, then back again) took advantage.
All three races set records for participation, with nearly 1,000 finishers in the marathon, 1,858 in the half marathon and 67 relay teams.
"It was a great day to run and for volunteers," said race co-director Howard Spear. "We've had 12 years in a row with no rain. Our numbers were up so much. It's the first time we've had 1,000 finishers in the marathon."
Ellsworth's Louie Luchini and Scarborough's Kristin Barry rewrote the men's and women's records in the half marathon. Luchini's time was a new benchmark of 1 hour, 6 minutes, 56 seconds. Barry finished with a time of 1:17:53, beating the record held by Olympic champion Joan Benoit Samuelson.
A third record was set in the marathon relay by Nor'easter Run, which finished faster than the men's marathon champion for only the third time ever. The team consisted of Freeport assistant cross country coach Josh Zolla, Steve Monsulick, Robert Gomez and Brendan O'Keefe and had a time of 2:20:57.
The local team 4 runners, featuring David Edwards, Greely High athletic director Mike Griffin, Dan Edwards and Mike Cirillo placed third in the relay and was first among the male masters with a time of 2:57:22.
The men's marathon was won by New Yorker Jeremy Adler (2:38:57).
Heather Goodfellow, of Halifax, Nova Scotia, won the women's marathon in 2:59:16.
"We had some nice groups from out of state and everyone had a good time," said Spear. "We probably had 550 volunteers and the parking issue went well with so many people."
This year's race beneficiary is the Center for Grieving Children. Spear said it will take a couple weeks to determine just how much money was raised. A year ago, the Center received $50,000 from the race.
Looking ahead, the 19th annual event will be contested Sunday, Oct. 3, 2010. Spear said that there might be a couple changes between now and then.
"We may not do weekend registration next year," he said. "We hope to hit our cap the first week of September. We might also tweak the return course a little. It won't affect the Falmouth or Yarmouth turnoffs. We're trying to make it easier on the Portland side. It's still in the planning stages."