With a starting temperature
of 53 degrees that would rise 10 degrees in the next hour but with a cloud
cover that kept the sun off runners, the men’s first mile went out in 4:30.
At the very back of this
lead pack was former champion Khalid Khannouchi. On his shoulder were Kenyan
women Lineth Chepkuri and LA Marathon winner Edna Kiplagat.
The women’s time was 4:44.
Chepkuri had been ripping up the roads, winning the Sallie Mae 10K, Peachtree,
etc. so this was an expected match-up. Also within striking distance as the
next mile was run in 5-flat was 23 year-old Ethiopian Wude Ayalew.
After the men’s pack hit
halfway in 14:01, Peachtree winner and World Cross champion Gebre Gebremariam
of Ethiopia threw down the gauntlet.
When he hit Fort Williams
Park for the final 800m stretch leading to Portland Head Light and the finish
line, Gebremariam was accompanied by the Kenyan duo of Alan Kiprono, 20, and
Wilson Chebet, 25.
Coming off the track and
with superior closing speed Gebremariam hit the line in 27:40 (3rd fastest in
the 13 years of B2B and immediately told elite athlete liason Larry Barthlow
that he had more in reserve, that the first half had been too slow.
In the fifth mile of the
women’s race, Chepkuri pushed to a small advantage over Kiplagat, which she
lengthened during the rolling hills of the sixth mile.
However, as Kiplagat fell
back, Ayalew strode up to Chepkuri. The denouement?
As race announcer Toni
Reavis asked the crowd later. “How would you like to break the course record,
run 31:06 and finish second?”
Chepkuri’s time and the new
women’s record is now 30:59.4 (5-flat pace).
Heidi Westover, 29, of
Walpole, NH was the first US runner, 8th overall in 34:11. Two places behind
her was the first Maine finisher ($1K), Kristen Barry, 36, of Scarborough, who
intentionally crossed the finish hand-in-hand with friend and training partner
Sheri Piers (who holds the ME record of 34:17).
Now working in finance at
Bath Iron Works, Pat Tarpy, 28, of Yarmouth, was the state’s top finisher in a
fast 29:27. Tarpy ran the first half of the race with elite entrant Ben True,
who holds the ME record of 29:10.
“I had that time circled six
to eight weeks ago as a goal, but it wasn’t realistic today. I hit halfway in
14:33 and he was about three seconds ahead. From there I went back and forth
with Nate Jenkins until the last hill by the park. I surged there and I guess
it must have worked.”
Tarpy finished in 29:27 with
Jenkins a few ticks back. Dayton’s Christine Reaser, 44, had hoped to place
among the top three Maine Masters but had a blowout day to win the whole
shebang in 39:18 (4-seconds ahead of Whirlaway’s “Sim” Piergentili).
“I just felt like a race
horse out there,” said Reaser. “It was one of those days when everything came
6,000 finishers this proved to be true.