FREEPORT — Patrick Tarpy crossed the finish line of his first L.L. Bean 10K Road Race with no other runner in sight Sunday morning. He wore a blue shorts, a white singlet that read Texas across the chest (“It was the first singlet on top of the pile.”), and an unmistakable look of disappointment.

No matter that he won the race by more than two minutes or that he broke the course record by more than a minute. Tarpy, a 28-year-old native of Yarmouth who recently moved back to Maine after living in Rhode Island since college, had fallen shy of his own expectations.

“This is OK,” he said. “I’m sort of happy with it.”

Hunched over with sweat dripping from his face, Tarpy allowed that he was hoping to run a minute faster.

“It was a harder course than I thought,” he said. “I’m getting ready for the Beach to Beacon in five weeks and I wanted to see where I was in my training.”

He took a deep breath.

“I can see,” he said, “I’ve got a little more work to do.”

The 33rd edition of the L.L. Bean 10K featured a record number of finishers (1,132) and a familiar women’s winner (hometown favorite Joan Benoit Samuelson) as well as Tarpy’s blazing time of 30 minutes, 51 seconds under an unrelenting sun and temperatures that climbed from 74 when the starting gun fired.

Samuelson figures she has taken part in this Independence Day tradition every year since 1985, not long after settling in Freeport.

At 53, the former Olympic gold medal winner has become something of an ambassador for her sport, which helps explain why she agreed to run the Firecracker 5K in Little Rock, Ark., on Saturday, fly home, then rise early Sunday morning (after arriving home past midnight), throw on a fuchsia singlet and make it to Bow Street by 7:30 in order to keep her streak alive.

“I wasn’t practicing what I preach,” she said after finishing 21st overall, the first woman across the line in 38:25.

“I tell people not to run races back to back. But I couldn’t pass this one up.”

Women’s runner-up Caitlyn Clark, a 25-year-old from Worcester, Mass., made the trip north in order to run with the woman who inspired her.

“Growing up, I had posters of her on my wall,” said Clark, who finished in 39:03, good for 31st overall. “I always told my coach, I’m going to be like her.”

Clark went out fast and held the lead for more than two miles until she was joined by Samuelson.

They ran together through Mile 4, when Samuelson surged up a hill and Clark, who ran at Assumption College, could not keep pace.

“I tried to catch up with her again,” Clark said, “but what are you going to do? She’s an Olympian!”

Hardly infallible, though, as Samuelson was quick to point out the red laces drooping across her right running shoe. It had become untied in the second mile and Clark’s presence and Samuelson’s own competitive nature prevented her from stopping to remedy the situation.

“You’d think after all these years,” Samuelson said to a visiting runner from Nova Scotia who wanted to shake her hand, “I’d know how to tie my own shoes.”

The first Samuelson across the line Sunday was 20-year-old Anders, who recently completed his sophomore year at Bowdoin.

He finished seventh in 35:30, beating his mom by nearly three minutes, with three other Freeport residents ahead of him.

Josh Zolla, 24, was second in 33:05. Andy Spaulding, 39, was fourth in 34:00. Ethan Hemphill, 37, was sixth in 35:27.

Zolla, an assistant track and cross country coach at Freeport High, had never finished higher than eighth in his hometown race. Upon seeing Tarpy at the start, any thoughts of winning evaporated.

“I saw him show up,” Zolla said, “and said, ‘Well, it’s a race for second.”‘

Mike Griffin, a graduate of Scarborough High and Springfield College, stayed with Zolla for much of the race before dropping to third in 33:16.

Neither of the 2009 winners returned to defend their titles.

Ryan Woods, who held the previous course record of 32:01 set in last year’s fog, remained home in North Carolina.

Sheri Piers of Falmouth showed up in Freeport Sunday but only to support other runners. She and training partner Kristin Barry of Scarborough registered for the event, but decided to pull out after racing three consecutive weekends, with diminishing returns.

“We’re going to be ready for Beach to Beacon,” Piers promised.

Proceeds from the race benefit a YMCA scholarship fund for summer campers in the Casco Bay region.

IN THE STATE’S other big Fourth of July road race in Southern Maine, the Bridgton 4 on the Fourth, Scarborough native Erica Jesseman and Bar Harbor visitor Phil Richert, ran to victory.

Jesseman, who recently completed her junior year at the University of New Hampshire, finished in 23:06, good for 11th overall.

Richert, a Minnesota native who ran at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and has a summer job in the Acadia National Park gift shop on Cadillac Mountain, broke the 20-minute barrier (19:58) to win by more than a minute over Illinois teenager Noah Graboys (21:02), who registered as part of Camp Wigwam in Waterford.

The Bridgton race also set a record for participation, with 1,757 finishers.

“With the temperature and the humidity — I’m guessing it was 85 to 90 out there,” said race director Jim Cossey, “it was pretty sweaty.”

Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:

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