Tuesday, December 10, 2013
From staff reports
CAPE ELIZABETH - The TD Bank Beach to Beacon 10K is one race Tony Nogueira won't miss -- and not just because he has great success at it.
Christina Kouros, a Cape Elizabeth resident, pushes up a hill on Shore Road while being passed by runner Micah Kogo, the overall winner.
Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer
"It's a beautiful race," said Nogueira. "The people are friendly. And the lobster is nice."
Nogueira, an art teacher from Jersey City, N.J., won his eighth men's wheelchair division championship Saturday morning, completing the 6.2-mile course in 23 minutes, 39 seconds. Patrick Doak, a three-time division champion from Carlisle, Mass., finished second in 24:50.
"Races like this, that's what makes me stay in the sport," said Nogueira. "The calendar goes around, it's like, 'Oh, I've got Beach to Beacon to train for.' Races like this help you stay motivated and in shape. This is what it's all about."
Nogueira admits that it gets tougher now. He is 43. But this year he was in total control, especially after the race turned back onto Route 77 off Old Ocean House Road. "That's where he really gapped me," said Doak. "I'm a better hill climber, he's better on the flats. Usually we have a nice teeter-totter race. This year, I was never in the lead."
Nogueira said he plans to keep coming to the Beach to Beacon as long as he's healthy enough to train. In addition to the competition, it allows him to reunite with people like Russ Connors, the wheelchair race director. "Russ, he's like family," said Nogueira. "It's like coming back to see my uncle when I come here."
Connors arranged for Nogueira to stay at St. Bartholomew's Church on Friday night when no other rooms could be found. "It was a last-minute thing," he said. "I hadn't been to church in a while, so I think maybe it gave me inspiration to do better. Maybe I'll go back to church."
CHRISTINA KOUROS, 16, of Cape Elizabeth was the women's wheelchair division winner, finishing in 53:33. She was the division's only competitor, but that didn't matter to her.
"It was very hard," she said. "There were a lot of hills. You have to learn to use the downhills to get up the hills."
Kouros had been wanting to compete in this race for a long time. This year, after joining Cape Elizabeth High's Nordic ski team and outdoor track team, she said, "I wanted to challenge myself."
ERICA JESSEMAN, who finished second in the Maine women's race, is now turning her attention to the marathon. She will compete in Hartford on Oct. 15, hoping to qualify for the U.S. Olympic marathon trials in Houston in January.
She wants to join training partners Sheri Piers and Kristin Barry at the trials.
"It would mean a lot," she said. "Those two are very inspirational to me."
MIA RAPOLLA, the former Gorham High three-sport standout who's heading to UMass to play lacrosse, ran the Beach to Beacon for the first time and finished in 42:33.8. She ran with former Cheverus star Liana Rubinoff, who finished in 42:33.2.
"It was so much fun," she said. "At the mile mark, we turned around and jogged backward for a couple of steps and all you could see was people. I definitely want to do more."
JAMES KOSKEI of Kenya completed his ninth Beach to Beacon and won the men's masters title for the third straight year with a time of 30:27.5.
Each year, Koskei, 42, comes in with the same strategy.
"I usually come to win," Koskei said, laughing. "My mind tells me, you want to win the race."
But, he added, "I like the race. I like my host family, because they are very happy. They tell me every year, 'come this year, come this year.'
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