BOSTON — Neither Chris Harmon of Portland nor Christine Hein of North Yarmouth ran the times they had hoped Monday during an unusually warm Boston Marathon, but each smiled broadly after reaching the finish line on Boylston Street.
Harmon, 29, turned in the fastest time of any man from Maine for the second year in a row. But at two hours, 43 minutes and 57 seconds he was more than five minutes slower than his 2016 performance, in large part because of a lingering flu bug coupled with temperatures in the low 70s.
“This is such a great race that just finishing, that’s the goal,” Harmon said. “When I died on the hills, all I said was, ‘I don’t care how I finish, I’m just going to finish.'”
Harmon placed 267 among all men and was among 10 Maine runners to break three hours of the 193 who started the race in Hopkinton.
Hein, 42, was the only Maine woman to break three hours. She covered the 26.2-mile course in 2:55.28 to place 53rd among all women and – for a frustrating third year in a row – sixth among female masters.
The top five masters receive prize money.
“I’m sick of it!” she said with mock disgust. “Fifth wins a thousand dollars.”
Hein was one of three Mainers invited into the women’s elite field, which took off at 9:32 a.m. – 28 minutes ahead of the first wave. Sheri Piers of Falmouth and Kristin Barry of Scarborough, respectively the past two top finishers from Maine, both decided not to run after encountering setbacks in training.
That left Hein to uphold Maine strong tradition of women at Boston that began with Joan Benoit Samuelson and continued with Emily LeVan, Piers, Barry and Falmouth’s Mary Pardi.
“Where did everybody go?” Hein said. “No Sheri, no Kristin, and no Mary. Although I saw Mary (on the sidelines) at Mile 19 and got a good smile from her.”
Hein struggled in the hills of Newton and slowed considerably over the final three miles. Repeating the names of her children and husband, she said, lifted her spirits and pulled her through.
And when the men’s leaders, with all their accompanying hoopla, overtook her on the second hill in Newton?
“It’s such a rush,” she said. “You’re like, ‘I’m not hurting’ when you watch what they’re doing. It was a nice little pick-me-up because you know, when you think you might be on television, you kind of have to look not terrible.”
The second Maine woman was former University of Maine basketball player Tracy Guerrette, 36, of Saint Agatha. She finished in 3:05:02, good for 148th among all women.
The second Maine man was Robert Ashby, 48, of Brunswick, who completed his ninth Boston in 2:46:22.
“I’m not a heat runner, so it was tough for me,” he said. “But it was a good run. Boy, it’s nice having the large crowds on the sidelines. I just ran the Hyannis Marathon six weeks ago and you’re kind of out there by yourself. There’s a big difference running this one.”
Stefan Sandreuter, a 2016 Colby College and 2012 Greely High graduate from North Yarmouth, had never been in Boston on Patriots Day. Because of the heat, he dialed back thoughts of a sub-2:40 marathon and made it through in 2:51:23.
“Going over Heartbreak Hill was a lot of fun,” he said. “That might sound a little weird, but I like the hills. Colby has a lot of hills. Greely had a lot of hills. I’m used to that, and the crowds along there were great.”
Adam Goode, 33, of Bangor started back in the first wave’s fifth corral to help pace some pals who hoped to break three hours. They stayed together until the halfway mark, when Goode maintained his pace and finished in 2:58:43.
He said bobbing and weaving through the crowd of runners, particularly at water stops, was a new experience for someone used to starting among runners who are faster.
“When you’re in the front, it’s like playing a cover set in a bar band, it’s awesome,” he said. “When you’re in the fifth corral, it’s like you’re at a Springsteen concert as one of the fans. Just seeing that is a totally different perspective.”
Joan Benoit Samuelson, Maine’s 1984 Olympic gold medalist, didn’t run Boston on Monday because her next marathon will be at Sugarloaf next month, marking her first marathon on native soil. She’s doing it along with Michael Westphal of Great Cranberry Isle. Last April, Westphal completed Boston for the first time in 30 years, despite being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2006.
“Michael, I’ve never run a marathon in Maine,” Samuelson told Westphal after he reached Copley Square last year. “When I do, it’s going to be with you.”
The fact that both will turn 60 this year and that Westphal’s sister, also named Joan, was one of Samuelson’s biggest rivals in high school further intrigued Samuelson. She is running to raise both awareness of Parkinson’s and money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation, a nonprofit funder of Parkinson’s drug development.
Kathrine Switzer, running on the 50th anniversary of her seminal race in 1967 as the first woman to officially complete Boston, crossed the line in 4:44:31 Monday afternoon. She wore the same bib number – 261 – an official tried without success to rip from her half a century ago, and finished within 25 minutes of her ’67 time despite walking through every water stop and stopping for eight interviews along the way.
The Boston Athletic Association announced it will retire Switzer’s number Tuesday in honor of her place in history both for the race and for the advancement of women’s rights.
Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or