CAPE ELIZABETH – The TD Bank Beach to Beacon 10K is one race Tony Nogueira won’t miss — and not just because he has great success at it.

“It’s a beautiful race,” said Nogueira. “The people are friendly. And the lobster is nice.”

Nogueira, an art teacher from Jersey City, N.J., won his eighth men’s wheelchair division championship Saturday morning, completing the 6.2-mile course in 23 minutes, 39 seconds. Patrick Doak, a three-time division champion from Carlisle, Mass., finished second in 24:50.

“Races like this, that’s what makes me stay in the sport,” said Nogueira. “The calendar goes around, it’s like, ‘Oh, I’ve got Beach to Beacon to train for.’ Races like this help you stay motivated and in shape. This is what it’s all about.”

Nogueira admits that it gets tougher now. He is 43. But this year he was in total control, especially after the race turned back onto Route 77 off Old Ocean House Road. “That’s where he really gapped me,” said Doak. “I’m a better hill climber, he’s better on the flats. Usually we have a nice teeter-totter race. This year, I was never in the lead.”

Nogueira said he plans to keep coming to the Beach to Beacon as long as he’s healthy enough to train. In addition to the competition, it allows him to reunite with people like Russ Connors, the wheelchair race director. “Russ, he’s like family,” said Nogueira. “It’s like coming back to see my uncle when I come here.”

Connors arranged for Nogueira to stay at St. Bartholomew’s Church on Friday night when no other rooms could be found. “It was a last-minute thing,” he said. “I hadn’t been to church in a while, so I think maybe it gave me inspiration to do better. Maybe I’ll go back to church.”

CHRISTINA KOUROS, 16, of Cape Elizabeth was the women’s wheelchair division winner, finishing in 53:33. She was the division’s only competitor, but that didn’t matter to her.

“It was very hard,” she said. “There were a lot of hills. You have to learn to use the downhills to get up the hills.”

Kouros had been wanting to compete in this race for a long time. This year, after joining Cape Elizabeth High’s Nordic ski team and outdoor track team, she said, “I wanted to challenge myself.”

ERICA JESSEMAN, who finished second in the Maine women’s race, is now turning her attention to the marathon. She will compete in Hartford on Oct. 15, hoping to qualify for the U.S. Olympic marathon trials in Houston in January.

She wants to join training partners Sheri Piers and Kristin Barry at the trials.

“It would mean a lot,” she said. “Those two are very inspirational to me.”

MIA RAPOLLA, the former Gorham High three-sport standout who’s heading to UMass to play lacrosse, ran the Beach to Beacon for the first time and finished in 42:33.8. She ran with former Cheverus star Liana Rubinoff, who finished in 42:33.2.

“It was so much fun,” she said. “At the mile mark, we turned around and jogged backward for a couple of steps and all you could see was people. I definitely want to do more.”

JAMES KOSKEI of Kenya completed his ninth Beach to Beacon and won the men’s masters title for the third straight year with a time of 30:27.5.

Each year, Koskei, 42, comes in with the same strategy.

“I usually come to win,” Koskei said, laughing. “My mind tells me, you want to win the race.”

But, he added, “I like the race. I like my host family, because they are very happy. They tell me every year, ‘come this year, come this year.’

Nuta Olaru, 40, of Romania won the women’s masters title in 34:06.8.

AT THE MEDICAL TENT, Dr. Chris Troyanos noted that the highest number of runners seeking postrace medical treatment were being doused in ice baths and drinking cold water, on a morning that got hot and humid as the race wore on.

More than an hour and a half into the race, Troyanos estimated that the medical staff had treated at least 75 runners for hyperthermia, or overheating — a number that he said is “somewhat normal” during August races.

“It’s a hot-weather race,” Troyanos said of the Beach to Beacon. “In conditions like these, a runner’s body temperature goes up, and you don’t want it to get above 104 degrees or you could have potential organ damage.”

Troyanos said that there were no major medical issues among the runners, and that the medical staff, which included doctors, nurses and EMTs, treated everything from blisters to muscle strains and falls and scrapes.

“But the biggest thing we’re treating is heat-related issues,” Troyanos said.

THE CHIP TIME for Dave Jackiewiecz of Portland was just under an hour, 59:50. His gun time was considerably slower, which meant it took him more than eight minutes to cross the starting line after the opening air horn.

There was a reason for that. He ran inside a homemade lighthouse fashioned from bedsheets, wood strapping and wheels, and wanted to give people plenty of time to spread out before he began stalking them.

“I like to race in costume and make it fun for everybody,” said Jackiewiecz, 30, who plans to run inside a giant beer bottle at the Portland Trails 10K Trail to Ale race in September.

“I lot of people loved it,” he said. “Some people hated it because they were getting passed by a lighthouse.”

Mike Galvin, 47, of Cape Elizabeth, was one such runner.

“He passed me at the four-mile mark,” Galvin said with a rueful shake of his head. “I could hear him coming.”

With a foghorn blast? No, Galvin said, squeaky wheels.

DOTTIE GRAY of Shrewsbury, Mo., received a warm welcome from race founder Joan Benoit Samuelson that included a photo and an embrace after Gray crossed the line for the 12th time in 14 years and earned the Johnny Kelley Award as the race’s oldest finisher. She’s 86.

Accompanying Gray over the final three miles was her granddaughter, Helen Gray-Bauer, 14, of Cape Elizabeth.

Gray missed one year because of a funeral and another because she was attending the National Senior Games in San Francisco. Earlier this summer she competed in the National Senior Games in Texas and ran seven events, five on the track at distances from 100 to 1,500 meters, and two on the roads, a 5K and a 10K.

Gray started running at age 54. Her time Saturday was 1:31:26.

“I played tennis for 10 years,” she said. “And before that I raised six kids.”

THREE CAPE ELIZABETH residents chose an alternate route from beach to beacon. Starting from the rocky beach at Trundy Point, Kathy Lualdi, Alina Perez-Smith and Gary Long swam the three miles to Ship Cove inside Fort Williams Saturday morning in about an hour and 20 minutes.

“It was absolutely gorgeous, better than any race I’ve every done,” said Perez-Smith, 40, a veteran of open ocean swims.

Lualdi, 45, and Long, 49, both gave up running because of knee injuries. When their planned kayak escort couldn’t make it to the Shore Acres neighborhood before the roads closed Saturday, the trio figured their planned passage wouldn’t happen.

Emily MacDuffie, a 20-year-old junior at Swarthmore who swam for Cape Elizabeth High, overheard their lament and offered to paddle her kayak for them. They were soon joined by the Cape Elizabeth WETeam, which annually takes to the water before the race in case of an emergency call that couldn’t otherwise be answered until the roads reopened.

“You can’t do it without the WETeam,” Lualdi said. “They kept us from getting run over (by powerboats) three times.”

– Mike Lowe, Rachel Lenzi and Glenn Jordan contributed to this report.