August 8, 2010

Maine Men
Nothing retiring about Tarpy's finish

Former elite runner Pat Tarpy wins his division in 29:28, shaving four seconds off his best time.

CAPE ELIZABETH - In 2007, back when running was his job, Pat Tarpy broke 30 minutes in the TD Bank Beach to Beacon 10K.

click image to enlarge

Pat Tarpy of Yarmouth runs close behind Ben True, formerly of North Yarmouth. Tarpy won the Maine men's division, while True competed in the elite division.

Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

Those days he trained as an elite athlete full-time, running 100-plus miles a week, meticulously planning his life around road racing.

On Saturday, with that lifestyle behind him, Tarpy ran away with the Maine men's title, cruising to victory in a blistering 29 minutes, 28 seconds.

He has worked in finance at Bath Iron Works for just about a year, but still runs about 80 miles a week.

Saturday, he bested his 2007 time by six seconds.

Phil Richert, 23, of Bar Harbor crossed the line exactly a minute later in 30:28, and Westbrook's Robert Gomez, 27, finished third in 31:05.

"That's a tremendous race," said race president Dave Weatherbie. "To be working full time and still running a 29:30? He proved that his method is working.

"That's awful fast."

Tarpy's biggest challenge on Saturday was running his own race.

His would-be challengers -- Stanford graduate Louis Luchini of Ellsworth and Georgetown graduate Levi Miller of Belfast -- are injured and did not compete.

Tarpy had hoped to stay with Ben True, the Maine record holder in the event who raced as an elite on Saturday.

But just before the halfway mark, True pulled away. Tarpy could see his bright green singlet only in the distance.

"I went out and sat on him a few miles," said Tarpy. "He's a good runner. I had hoped to stay with him, but it was only for about 3.5 miles.

"Overall, I'm happy, though."

Tarpy ran much of the 6.2-mile course alongside Nate Jenkins of Andover, Mass. The pair has run dozens of races side by side through the years, but will likely remember Saturday's finish well.

About 10 yards beyond the finish line, Tarpy stopped, bent down to click his watch and was rear-ended by Jenkins, who rammed into him and fell to the ground.

The two exchanged pained looks and a few words, but made up about 20 minutes after the race, smiling and shaking hands.

"It happens," said Tarpy.

Last month Tarpy won the L.L. Bean 10K in Freeport in a course-record 30:51.

He had been shooting to break 29 minutes in the Beach to Beacon, which would have bested True's Maine record of 29:10 set last year.

"I would've loved to have beaten Ben. But I'm really happy with my race," said Tarpy. "It can go pretty wrong quick."

He is planning to run the Hartford Marathon in the fall.

Richert, meanwhile, wasn't sure of his competition in the Maine division.

He just moved to Maine in May and is training in Bar Harbor while working at Acadia National Park in an information booth near Thunder Hole.

Saturday's 10K was a personal record for him.

"I was off the lead pack a little bit, then ran by myself," said Richert.

"I didn't really know what the Maine residents looked like so it wasn't hard to run my own race. I just ran by myself. I was hoping to break 30 but faded in the second half."

Gomez, who won five 5Ks in July, said he knew Tarpy would be tough to keep up with and focused on his own race.

"He's an absolutely terrific runner," said Gomez.

"He ran a hell of a race. I saw him a little bit in the first mile, but then he was gone.

"The first mile for me was surreal. It seemed like I was walking."

Gomez did know who Richert was -- the two had chatted on a running site online.

"He ran a terrific time. I went out with him, but he pulled ahead and I was never able to reel him in," said Gomez.

Gomez is training for the Houston Marathon in January.

Staff Writer Jenn Menendez can be contacted at 791-6426 or at:

jmenendez@pressherald.com

 

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