Kevin Castille wasn’t worried about a little humidity as he embarked on his first TD Beach to Beacon 10K. He lives in Louisiana, after all.

What was concerning him was that half marathon in Eugene, Oregon, that he won last weekend.

If he was sluggish, it didn’t show. Castille, of Lafayette, Louisiana, was the top masters runner Saturday, finishing in 29 minutes, 55 seconds and earning a $1,000 payday.

All because the Beach to Beacon was a “bucket list” race.

“I was just kind of playing it safe. I found a nice little group there and stuck with them. I did better than I expected,” Castille said.

At age 42, Castille is an unlikely racing vagabond, traveling the country each summer to pursue his rediscovered passion. He resumed running after spending much of his 20s selling crack cocaine.

Now, he’s one of America’s premier masters runners. He holds the U.S. masters record for a 10K of 28:58, set at Stanford in 2012.

He was the top masters finisher at the Falmouth Road Race in Massachusetts in 2012, and will run there for the third time Aug. 17.

“I learned patience and I’ve just learned to be consistent,” said Castille, who ran briefly at Louisiana-Lafayette before his detour into a life of crime. “Go easy when I have to. I’ve been healthy, so that’s a good thing. And I’m having fun, so that’s the key.”

SHERI PIERS and Kristin Barry are not sisters, though they have often been confused as such.

But the longtime training partners are definitely a Beach to Beacon tandem, and Saturday they again proved they are among Maine’s top road racers, finishing first and second, respectively, in the women’s masters division.

Piers earned $1,000 for the masters win plus another $250 as the third overall woman from Maine. Barry pocketed checks of $500 (second in the masters) and $100 (fifth Maine woman).

“We’re never here for the prize,” Piers said. “It’s not about the prize. It’s about the goals that we’ve set for ourselves. This year we had to set more realistic goals for ourselves and I think we have to be happy with what we did today.”

It’s hard not to notice that Piers’ pronoun of choice is “we” rather than me or I.

“Everything we say is we,” Barry said. “We train together. We run every day together.”

“We call each other three times a day,” Piers said. “We never run out of things to say.”

They also are both recovering from medical issues. Piers recently had surgery to remove large kidney stones. Barry was sidelined because of a hip fracture and is just now rounding into form, she said.

One thing they didn’t do was run together. Piers went out faster and finished in 35:45.0. Barry said she could see Piers ahead of her until the last mile inside Fort Williams. Barry’s time was 37.00.8.

Elizabeth Graham, 45, of Waban, Massachusetts, was the third masters woman in 38:15.7.

RACE FOUNDER Joan Benoit Samuelson traditionally greets runners – fast and slow – crossing the finish line. On Saturday, she was joined for long stretches by Boston Marathon champion Meb Keflezighi, who ran easy (for him) 4:50 miles to place 13th in 29:57.

“I’ve been doing that since high school,” said Keflezighi, born in Eritrea but raised in San Diego, where he first began running competitively. “Sometimes I’ll go back 400 meters and cheer people on, give them high fives, because we all work hard. Sometimes we have a great day and sometimes we don’t. It brings smiles to faces.”

Keflezighi said runners recruited by Beach to Beacon organizers – who pay travel expenses but no appearance fees for elite athletes – often return because they so enjoy the hospitality and ambiance.

“It’s such a great event, a world-class event,” said Keflezighi, who also took part in the Kids Fun Run and a question-and-answer session with junior high and high school runners Friday evening. “It’s more than just a race of 30 minutes. I feel privileged to be here.”

RACE DIRECTOR DAVE McGillivray handed off his walkie-talkie moments before the start and jumped into the field to run the race himself, only the second time he’s done that here. He maintained a pace just under 7-minute miles and finished in 43:13, good for 507th overall.

McGillivray turns 60 later this month and plans to continue his birthday tradition, started when he was 12, of running his age in miles. Always quick with a quip, McGillivray turned serious for a moment at the awards ceremony to thank the running community for its patience and support of the Boston Marathon “to get through this most difficult year, from April 15, 2013, to April 21, 2014.”

“We took back our race, we took back Boylston Street and we took back our finish line, and it was all because of people like you supporting us,” McGillivrary told the crowd. “So thank you very much.”

THIS YEAR’S designated charitable organization was Rippleffect, a youth development program serving the Greater Portland Area. Rippleffect’s executive director, Anna Klein Christie, accepted a $30,000 check from race organizers, including TD Bank President Larry Wold of Freeport and race founder Joan Benoit Samuelson.

Klein Christie said Rippleffect was chosen as the race beneficiary after a “highly competitive” application process.

“It’s a huge honor and I have to say the organizers have been amazing partners and incredibly accessible,” Klein Christie said. “Larry and Joanie are always there to support us. We’ve become part of this incredible community.”

Among Rippleffect’s adventure-based activities are kayaking trips in Casco Bay to Cow Island.

Klein Christie said the donation will go toward scholarships to ensure the program’s participants reflect all of Greater Portland’s residents.

ROBERT HALL, 19, of Scarborough had a run to remember. The Syracuse University sophomore won the male 15-to-19 age group and finished 40th overall in 32:51, a roughly 25-second improvement over his 2013 time. He also found himself experiencing what it was like to have front-runner attention as he ran alongside women’s overall winner Gemma Steel and runner-up Shalane Flanagan.

“I was running stride for stride with Shalane for about two and a half, three miles,” Hall said. “Then I looked to my right and it was Shalane, (fourth-place woman) Jordan Hasay and Gemma and a bunch of Kenyans and it was really cool. It was a little annoying because of the flashes and stuff from the cameras, but it was still pretty cool.”

Hall said seeing Maine natives Ben True (third overall) and Will Geoghegan (11th) among the leaders was also significant.

“Being a Mainer myself, it’s awesome seeing other Mainers excelling and running under 30 minutes,” said the former Class A cross country and 1,600-meter track champion. “Those are crazy times.”

DOTTIE GRAY has traveled from Kirkwood, Missouri, to Cape Elizabeth to run this race 14 times, she said. Saturday, she was honored as the Johnny Kelley Award winner as the oldest finisher. Gray, 89, finished with a net time of 1:56:34. Running alongside Gray was her granddaughter, Helen Gray-Bauer, who’ll be a senior this fall at Waynflete School. Also on hand supporting her efforts were daughter Mary Gray, daughter-in-law Karen Bauer, and granddaughter Roz Gray-Bauer.

Dottie Gray said she has only missed the Beach to Beacon because of a death in the family and once because she was competing in the Senior Nationals track meet. She prefers 5-kilometer races now.

“I told Joanie (Benoit Samuelson) I’d like her to find a beach nearby where she can run a 5K race,” Gray said.

FOURTH-PLACE Maine women’s finisher Kirstin Sandreuter couldn’t accept a cash prize because it would jeopardize her collegiate eligibility. But after finishing fifth in 2013 among Maine women, Sandreuter knows an appropriate alternative.

“Last year I ended up donating it, so that was good. So that’s what I’ll do,” Sandreuter said.

Sandreuter, 18, will be running cross country at Cornell University in the fall after starring at Greely High.

KAREN RAND MCWATTERS wanted to be just another volunteer near the finish line. She got her wish. Few noticed the smiling woman as she walked gingerly on the uneven lawn to her post at the elite massage tent.

A year ago, she and her husband Kevin were Joan Benoit Samuelson’s guests. Rand McWatters had the honorary job as the race starter amid cheers and a few tears. Formerly of Westbrook, Karen was a victim in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. Her close friend, Krystle Campbell, standing next to her at the finish line waiting for Kevin, died in the first blast. Rand McWatters lost her lower left leg.

“We wanted to come back,” said Rand McWatters, who has a new flesh-colored prosthetic. “Everyone was so kind and thoughtful last year.”

Rand McWatters had a good view of the finish line. Her husband helped guide runners after they crossed the finish line. Rand McWatters has been biking recently and taking longer walks. She hopes to enter next year’s race as a walker.

“I’ll be with her,” said Samuelson.

THE OFFICIAL starter of this year’s race was former Runner’s World publisher George Hirsch, who at age 80 also ran the race after hitting the starting horn. He won his age group in 57:41, a 9:17 pace, 13 minutes ahead of the second finisher in his age group.

“Here’s how humid it was,” Hirsch said. “I ran a 10K just a month ago in Queens. This was over three minutes slower and I felt I ran just as hard. But humid or not, we were lucky the sun didn’t blast out at us.”

The singer of the national anthem at the start of the race was Robert Moody, the musical director of the Portland Symphony Orchestra. Moody also jumped into the starting line as a runner after his performance.

CHRISTOPHER SOKOLOWSKI of Cambridge, Massachusetts, ran the race barefoot. Sokolowski, who ran for years in minimalist running gloves on his feet, said it was his first race running barefoot – and remains an experiment.

Knee pain four years ago led Sokolowski to try minimalist and barefoot running. Now, at age 46, he runs 20 to 25 miles a week barefoot, except when the temperature is below freezing.

“I’m just looking to maintain my fitness,” said the 5-foot-7, 136-pound Sokolowski. “You hear plenty of stories of people who are much bigger doing just fine. Your body gets used to it. It’s going well. But it’s still an experiment.”

NO ONE was hospitalized and runners’ injuries were minor, according to race medical staff. Of about 6,000 runners, 41 were treated at the medical tent. The vast majority showed hyperthermia, when the body’s temperature exceeds 104 degrees, said Dr. Michael Baumann, the race’s medical director. Hyperthermia patients were placed in an ice bath. Only a few runners showed orthopedic ailments, said medical coordinator Chris Troyanos. Temperatures hovered between 70 and 72 degrees and humidity was high, rising from about 84 to 90 percent according to the National Weather Service, which measured readings at the nearby Portland International Jetport.

BEACH TO BEACON always brings out a few runners who don colorful costumes. This year was no different. Jennifer Rice, 30, of Portland decided to dress as a muscle-bound Viking. After moving to Portland from Philadelphia a year and a half ago, Rice said she figured the costume would win her some fans.

“I just figured if people don’t know you, they’d cheer for you if you wear a costume,” Rice said. “I’ve run half marathons in Philadelphia and always wear a costume there.”

Rice’s costume came complete with padded muscles, a tank top, a braided wig and a large Viking hat.

“I’m so hot right now. I’m burning up,” she said at the race finish.

RUNNING IS NOT the only focus for women’s champion Gemma Steel. She also illustrates children’s books co-written by her twin sister, Louise. Their latest title, “Spots vs. Stripes,” was recently published.

ALEXI PAPPAS was elated to finish among the top 10 women and to cut 23 seconds off the personal best she set at Beach to Beacon in 2013. She was even happier to have avoided the stomach troubles she had at last year’s race. The winning formula? A chocolate chip cookie from Scratch Baking Company in South Portland, consumed about 10 minutes before the starting gun fired.

“It gave me a sugar boost,” she said. “But more than that, it was just a little bit of awesomeness to make me feel like this day was going to rule.”

Will Geoghegan, the Maine men’s winner and a fellow Dartmouth College graduate, had a different prerace meal: peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread.

“Since high school, maybe freshman or sophomore year,” said Geoghegan, a Brunswick High graduate. “Not right on the line, but maybe half an hour before.”

THE BICYCLE COALITION of Maine offered bike-to-bus shuttle service for the second year. Volunteers took racers from the finish at Fort Williams Park to the start by bus, allowing them to leave their bikes at the finish for an easier exit after the race.

Last year, 80 runners took advantage of the free service. This year the number nearly doubled, with 150 racers choosing to ride their bikes.

The coalition plans to grow that number in years to come. Coalition board member Fred Robie said the plan is to eventually offer the service to spectators.

The volunteer bike shuttle team also provided hula hoops to runners as they waited for the start.

“We offered this at the Sierra Nevada Beer Festival at Thompson’s Point last night. So some of us are tired today,” said board member John Brooking of Westbrook.

BLAKE RUSSELL, 2008 Olympic marathoner and mother of two, achieved her goal of a top-10 finish – finishing 10th in 33:11. In June, Russell, who is 39, qualified for the 2016 Olympic marathon trials with a 1:12 finish at the Garry Bjorkland Half Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota. “It means a lot to be here still running well in my late 30s,” she said.

But the challenge of the humid conditions and the stacked field paled in comparison to the challenge of corralling her kids, ages 5 and 11/2, on the six-hour plane ride from California, which she detailed on her blog, blakerussellruns.com.

Her young daughter “threw things, laughed, cried, read books, ate books, and force-fed us Cheez-Its to name a few,” she wrote.

THIS WAS Desiree Linden’s first time at Beach to Beacon. “It’s such a hometown race, the community is so involved, and as soon as you step off the plane here you feel like you’re part of it,” said Linden, who finished 10th at this year’s Boston Marathon and was the runner-up in Boston in 2011. “It’s just so different than anything else I’ve ever experienced.”

– Staff writers Mark Emmert, Steve Craig, Deirdre Fleming, Glenn Jordan, Steve Solloway, Jennifer Van Allen and Matt Byrne contributed to this notebook.