June 23, 2013

Running: Top July 4th races as popular as ever

By JOHN ROLFE

Here comes July 4 with its laden platter of road races around the state, among them the 36rd edition of 4 on the Fourth at Bridgton. The holiday classic is clicking off registrations the way Colin Peddie and Michele Hallet clicked off the miles in their course-record runs in 1987, in 18 minutes, 46 seconds, and 21:56, respectively.

Race director Jim Cossey said Thursday that sign-ups had hit 1,050, toward the cap of 2,100, and when you count the 525 places reserved for campers, the field could be full by month's end. To sign up, go to www.fouronthefourth.com.

The entry fee rose for the first time since 2004, but only to $18 initially, then to $20 on June 1. It goes up to $25 on July 3-4 if there are spots still open.

In 2012 the race bestowed $22,500 on the town library, plus $1,000 to the North Bridgton library, and $500 each to the town community center and Shawnee Peak's adaptive ski program. (The 4-miler is required to donate 90 percent of the proceeds to the library.)

There were just under 1,900 finishers last year, a normal attrition rate, as Silas Eastman, then 17, won in 21:33. Emily Ward, 30, of Virginia, was top woman, and 17th overall, in 24:25. Another notable finish: that of Cape Elizabeth's Pete Bottomley. Age 50, he placed third in 22:08. It was his 21st top-10 finish in 23 Bridgtons.

Those three are expected to run again, Cossey said, as are a select group who have run the race at least 30 times. Among them is TD Bank's Maine president, Larry Wold.

In Freeport, the L.L. Bean 10K on July 4 is the state's second-largest 10K and looking robust as ever.

"We are at 1,170 (registrants) and would love to hit (the cap of) 1,500," race director Jim Gott said this week, not because 1,500 is a nice number but because it means hitting the fundraising goal for the Casco Bay YMCA.

There will be 100 bibs available on race day before the 7:30 a.m. start, but take the safe route to llbeanroadrace.com and sign up.

There is no cap on the 1-mile fun run, which costs $5 and gets you a T-shirt and a Bean-boot-leather medal.

A LOWER BACK INJURY incurred while playing basketball put chief co-conspirator Andrew van Hoogenstyn in the pace car rather than on foot, but Wesley Moseman nevertheless ran the complete 60-mile Port2Port, from Monument Square in Portland to Portsmouth, N.H., last Saturday.

Moseman started about 5 a.m. and finished just after 4:40 p.m., as a dozen runners combined to cover 309 total miles in honor of their late University of New Hampshire teammate and friend, Brian Hinchee. Ro Crispin, Jon McGonagle, Skip Stiles and Nick DeCrescenzo did 30-35 miles, and Carolyn Durfee almost marathoned, with 25 miles.

THE ED SHEPARD Memorial 5K is on for 9 a.m. Sunday, June 30, in Gorham. The second-year race is on a flat, loop course from in front of Baxter Memorial Library on South Street, and was won last year by Jesse Orach in 16:46 and Cindy Hawthorne in 21:06.

Entry is $20. There are T-shirts for the first 100, and cash awards are $100, $75, $50 for the top three males and females. Register online at www.runinarace.com. For more race info, e-mail race director Mike Towle at miketowle25@ hotmail.com.

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