Friday, March 7, 2014
CAPE ELIZABETH - They are not twins, not even related. Yet Kristin Barry and Sheri Piers share many of the same goals, think alike and, yes, finish each other's sentences.
Sheri Piers, left, and Kristin Barry reach the finish line together. Officials named Barry the winner of the Maine women's division.
Derek Davis/Staff Photographer
"It's almost intuitive," said Barry. "She does the first half of something, I do the second."
Saturday, they also finished the 13th TD Back Beach to Beacon 10K road race together.
The pair crossed the finish line in stride, holding hands with arms raised in triumph after completing 6.2 miles on a perfect day for running. Both finished with the same net time, but Barry, a 36-year-old from Scarborough, was declared by the judges as the winner of the Maine women's race-within-the-race. Barry's official gun time was 34 minutes, 34.9 seconds, while Piers, 39, of Falmouth, finished in 34:35.2.
"We honestly don't care who wins," said Barry, who won the race in 2008. "If we both run well, we're happy."
"We wanted to (finish together)," said Piers, who won the race last year, setting the Maine women's record of 34:17. "We train so hard together. We're pretty much the same.
"I'm actually happy with the way it turned out."
It was Barry who made sure they finished in tandem. Piers struggled in the final mile, running a step behind Barry as they approached the finish line. "The minute she said, 'Come on,' to me," said Piers, "I said, 'I'm coming.' "
Barry reached back and grabbed her hand and they came in together. It's not the first time they've done that: in 2007, they finished the Philadelphia Marathon together, both qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, and this year they crossed the line together at the New York City Half Marathon.
They are almost inseparable.
"We talk on the phone all the time," said Barry.
"Fifteen, 16 times a day," said Piers. "When you spend as much time together training as we do -- every morning from 4:30 to 6:30, 7 each morning -- you might think you'd run out things to say. But we don't."
And they've talked about this race for a while. This was the first year when both were healthy, and they wanted to put on a good showing. Other runners knew they would.
"They work so hard," said Scarborough's Erica Jesseman, who finished third among Maine women in 35:48.6. "They're my idols. I pretty much knew, we all knew, they were going to be way ahead. I had my race, they had their race. And I felt good."
Jesseman, a senior at the University of New Hampshire, ran most of the race with Peter Bottomley and Dave Weatherbie of Cape Elizabeth. "I stayed with them the first 5K," she said. "I ran with them, and it really helped me because some times I go out too fast. Having them really helped me."
Having someone to run with is always a bonus, just ask Barry and Piers. They'll take a short break, then jump back into training for the New York City Marathon, 13 weeks out.
When Barry was told she was pronounced the winner, she still wanted to share it with Piers. And Piers was ecstatic with Barry's win.
"We're happy no matter what," said Piers. "We had a great day together. That's what we wanted."
Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: