Thursday, December 12, 2013
Greg Reid / Special to the Press Herald
FREEPORT — There was no missing Erica Jesseman in the record crowd of more than 1,600 runners competing in a cool, light rain Wednesday at the 35th annual L.L. Bean 10K road race.
And off they go, a record field of more than 1,600 runners answering the call to start the 35th annual L.L. Bean 10K road race Wednesday. Erica Jesseman, recovering from Achilles tendinitis, won the women’s division and Jonny Wilson, with a fast start, was the men’s champion.
Photos by Derek Davis/Staff Photographer
Jonny Wilson of Falmouth wasn’t able to get the race record he sought, but still finished more than a minute ahead of anyone else in the L.L. Bean road race Wednesday.
Not with those knee-high lime green compression socks, or with that expression of satisfaction in the moments after the race.
It's been a long seven or eight months of injuries," said Jesseman, of Scarborough. "I'm trying to get my body back in shape, and so I'm really pleased."
Jesseman, 23, opted not to defend her title at the Bridgton 4-Miler to run this race for the first time. She completed the challenging course in 36 minutes, 44 seconds to win the women's division. Though well off Kristin Barry's 2008 record of 35:12, Jesseman did pick up her second win of the Maine summer race circuit. In May, she won the Sea Dogs Mother's Day 5K in Portland.
Falmouth's Jonny Wilson, also a Freeport first-timer, won the men's division in 31:41. He outpaced defending champion Josh Zolla of Freeport by more than a minute (32:50). Zolla's training partner, Christopher Harmon of Brunswick, finished 9 seconds back (32:59) for third.
Wilson, 24, said he had an eye on Pat Tarpy's 2010 course record of 30:52 when he bolted from the start, clocking an opening mile of 4:31. All went well until the infamous Pine Street climb.
"Mile 5 kind of cost me," Wilson said. "I knew at that point the record (bid) was kind of over, but I still did the best time I could. I think I can be at least a minute faster in a month. It's going to be a really competitive (TD Bank Beach to Beacon on Aug. 4 in Cape Elizabeth), so I've got to be ready and run faster than I did last year."
Zolla, 26, said he knew of Wilson's bid but opted for a slow start with hopes to reel him in.
"That just didn't happen," said Zolla. In 2011, a fast start led to a winning finish of 32:47. This year a slower start yielded a finish of 32:50. "In the end, the hills still stink," he said with a laugh. "You're still dead at the end. A completely different strategy but the same result."
Zolla, who coaches Freeport High's cross country and track teams, had a scare at the finish area when he heard emergency personnel were tending to one of his athletes who collapsed with an erratic heartbeat on Church Road. When his car wouldn't start, he ran to where the girl went down but the ambulance had left. Zolla said he heard the girl was stabilized and under observation at Parkview Medical Center in Brunswick.
Edgecomb native and Connecticut resident Meredith Arand, 33, placed second among women for the second year in a row in 37:54.
Carly Dion of Biddeford (38:04), who specialized in the mile at the University of Southern Maine, had the thrill of a lifetime, edging Olympic marathon champion Joan Benoit Samuelson, 55, by 5 seconds for third.
"It went really well, considering it was my fourth 10K ever," said Dion, 23. "Along the final stretch I passed Joan Benoit. So that was huge for me."
"(Dion) ran a great race," said Samuelson. This was her 27th year running the Bean race, the proceeds of which support the Casco Bay YMCA summer programs.
Despite a hectic schedule – she was home three days in June – Samuelson said, "It's always fun to run in front of your home crowd, and L.L. Bean does such a nice job with this event."
Like Dion, Jesseman had reason to enjoy the moment. She has been nursing Achilles tendinitis since before the Olympic marathon trials in January. ("Now I'm stuck with the socks," she said.) For seven months, plantar fasciitis has limited her to one long run a week, which all but kept her off the track and eliminated hill training.
Jesseman gave a nod to 2011 winner Sheri Piers, who this year opted to run the Peachtree 10K in Atlanta. Piers said the Bean race is a good test heading into the final weeks of training for the Beach to Beacon.
"I finally felt a twinge of my old self," Jesseman said. "I feel I could run about a 35:40 (in Cape). With the amount of training I've had, I'm wicked pleased with that.
"I really needed a good, hard 10K to let me know I can do it. And this race just showed me I can."
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Erica Jesseman of Scarborough proved to herself that she was ready to go hard in a 10K road race again after Achilles tendinitis.
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Joan Benoit Samuelson of Freeport finishes strong in fourth among women in the L.L. Bean 10K Road Race in Freeport.