PORTLAND — Cheryl Higgins didn’t need to worry. Her son remembered it was Mother’s Day.
Louie Luchini just had some business to take care of Sunday morning in Portland.
For the fourth straight year, Luchini won the Sea Dogs Mother’s Day 5K, finishing in 15 minutes, 3 seconds.
“I’m going to go back (to Ellsworth) and take her out to dinner. And maybe to a baseball game sometime,” Luchini said
The male and female winners of the race receive season tickets for the remainder of the 2013 schedule. Luchini said he’s always put the tickets to use.
“We use them all the time. The Sea Dogs are great and a lot of fun to watch,” Luchini said.
Saco’s Rob Gomez entered Hadlock Field through the entrance in center field just seconds later, close enough have Luchini checking over his shoulder as he came down the third-base-line warning track.
Gomez finished in 15:08. He was also second to Luchini in 2012.
Gomez said he was hoping to win to give his mom, Connie Gomez of Waldoboro, a special treat.
“I was hoping she’d be able to throw out the first pitch in the next couple days,” Gomez said, referring to another winner’s perk. “I guess I’ll have to make her breakfast instead.”
The 13th Sea Dogs 5K had a sold-out field of more than 3,000 entries and as the mass of runners made their way past Hadlock Field it looked like very few had been deterred by the light rain.
Proceeds from the event benefit Maine breast cancer patients and research.
Women’s winner Erica Jesseman is a marathoner by trade. The 24-year-old from Scarborough competed in the 2012 U.S Olympic Marathon Trials and her primary focus is trying to make the Olympic marathon team in 2016.
“I wasn’t even planning on doing this race but my mom, who’s done so much for me, she asked me to do it,” Jesseman said. “I really wanted to do it for her and in honor of her.”
After finishing sixth overall in a personal best time of 16:42 — 61 seconds faster than her 2012 time — Jesseman was wearing a big smile and once again thanking Kathleen and Eric Jesseman for their parental support.
“I live with them. I’m only 24. I’m going to grad school (at St. Joseph’s). I have a great relationship with them. I don’t have to pay rent. It works out well,” Erica Jesseman said.
When she learned that throwing out a first pitch for a Sea Dogs game was in her future, Jesseman said, “I think we should make her do that because I don’t want to do it.” Kathleen Jesseman didn’t seem too sure about taking the mound but she was clear about what her daughter’s presence in Maine’s second-largest road race meant.
“We’ve had a lot of friends who have had breast cancer so it’s a very, very good cause,” Kathleen Jesseman said. “It meant a lot to us for her to do this.”
Gretchen Speed of Brookline, Mass., was the second fastest woman in 19:09 with Jen MacDowell of Portland third among the 1,513 female finishers in 19:21.
The old women’s course record of 16:59 was set in 2009 by Sheri Piers of Falmouth.
On Sunday, Piers’ role was to help encourage her 10-year-old daughter Karley through the demanding course. Karley Piers won the girls’ 14-and-under age group in 23:48. Sheri Piers finished a few strides back in 23:49.
“I’ve run this race so many times and a few years ago I said, ‘it’s Mother’s Day. Why would I want to put myself through the pain?”‘ said Sheri Piers, a mother of three. “So I’ve come to watch it and enjoyed watching it and now that (Karley) has started running, I’ve started running with her instead.”
Among the early finishers was 15-year-old Jason Higginbotham of Brunswick, 14th overall in 17:44. He was waiting for his mother, Janice Jaffe, who would finish in a very respectable 25:25, 364th overall and third in the women’s 55-59 group. Higginbotham said he has a lifetime connection between running and his mother.
“I started running because she used to do marathons when she was younger and she had to give it up when she had me,” Higginbotham said. “So now, since we found out about this race, every year we come out and run it. It’s just become a tradition.”
Among the more impressive age-group winning efforts were Erik Bropst, 14, of Freeport taking the boys’ 14-and-under in 18:58; 20-year-old Colin Cundy of Phippsburg running 16:50 in the men’s 15-24; Tamlyn Frederick of Brunswick’s 20:00 in the female 25-29; and Tunde Schwartz of Portland going 20:44 in the women’s 40-44 group.
Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at: