CAPE ELIZABETH – Joan Benoit Samuelson once again ventured out onto the course of her baby, the TD Beach to Beacon 10K road race, joined this time by Bill Rodgers, Frank Shorter and Leon Gorman, three men she said had a profound influence on her life.

Rodgers and Shorter are two of the greatest marathon runners in U.S. history. Gorman is the former president of L.L. Bean.

The three runners let Gorman pace the group over the 6.2-mile course. Time was not important — they finished in a leisurely 1:10:07. And they had plenty of time to talk.

“Little vignettes of our lives and how our lives have benefitted from sports,” said Samuelson. “Everybody did extremely well. The people around us got a little high from passing us. We passed some of them. And we played cat-and-mouse with others.”

Shorter, running Beach to Beacon for the first time, said the group kept talking to make sure everyone was handling the heat and humidity.

“We were just running steady,” said Rodgers, the only runner to win four Boston Marathons and four New York City marathons. “We stopped for our water breaks. We stuck together as a group.”

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There was a scare at the finish line when the 77-year-old Gorman was brushed by another runner and fell to the ground. He was taken to the medical tent, where he received treatment. “He’s fine,” said Samuelson, who noted he had already returned home.

Overall, said Shorter, “it was really a fun time.” 

SO IF SAMUELSON ran Saturday’s race with former Olympians Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers and Leon Gorman of LL Bean fame who did her husband run with? Their daughter, Abby?

“No, no, I couldn’t keep up with her,” said Scott Samuelson, 54. Abby Samuelson, 24, finished in 318th place, her dad in 1,028th, a very respectable effort for a former pole vaulter. He ran with friends.

Scott Samuelson doesn’t run the race every year. “Only when I can get a bib number.”

Some years he can’t. 

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THERE WERE over 6,100 finishers in the race, a number that was celebrated by race officials.

“The goal has always been 6,000 finishers,” said David Weatherbie, the race president.

“It’s another watershed mark,” said Samuelson. “We’ve been just below 6,000 for years. To go over it is impressive. It takes a collective effort from everyone, and I think it really shows the commitment of the community.” 

LARRY BARTHLOW, organizer of the elite runners, said the medical tent “looked like a war zone,” but Dr. Michael Baumann, co-medical director, said medical volunteers treated 66 runners, which is on par with past races.

Baumann said he expected more people to seek medical attention at the end of the race because of the heat and high humidity, and added the majority of runners who sought medical attention had heat-related issues and needed to be cooled down rapidly.

One person was transported to a local hospital for abdominal pain, which Baumann said may be unrelated to the race.

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The medical tent was staffed by 104 volunteers. 

DOTTIE GRAY raised her arms as she crossed the finish line, but barely slowed down as she made her way down the chute. The 87-year-old completed her 13th Beach to Beacon and said she felt good. Her goal was to finish the race standing up.

“When I saw that finish line … wow,” she said. “It’s such a beautiful course. I just love it. It’s my favorite run.”

Gray, a mother of six from Shrewsbury, Mo., started playing tennis at 44 and running at 54. Two of her grandchildren, Roz and Helen Gray-Bower, ran the race for the first time. Gray said they called out “Hi, Grandma” as they passed her on the course.

Gray said she has a few more Beach to Beacons in her future: she wants to run into her 90s. 

YOU COULDN’T miss Kasey Bromee as she crossed the finish line: she was the one wearing the Wonder Woman outfit.

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What she wore wasn’t important. That she was running, and who she was running for, was very important.

Bromee, 34, from Cape Elizabeth, was representing The Center for Grieving Children, the official race charity. The center received a $30,000 check and was allotted 50 bib numbers, to be given to runners who would raise money.

Bromee was one of them. Her husband, Rob, died in May from a brain tumor. Since then, she and her children, 9-year-old Cooper and 6-year-old Sadie, have attended The Center for Grieving Children for weekly sessions.

“It’s become a big part of our lives,” said Bromee, who ran with her mother, 62-year-old Candy Hutchison of Rockport. The two finished in 1:24:07. “We did a lot better than I thought we would.”

She said it was important for her to be part of the race.

“When I saw the center was the chief beneficiary, I didn’t even think about it, I had to do this,” she said. “For me it wasn’t about competing. It was about having fun. We’re raising money for the center. It was important for both of us that I do it.” 

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RENEE BAILLIE likes anonymity when she begins a race. She likes attention when she finishes.

“I’m really a brunette, you know. I dyed my hair this week. I like flying under the radar. Maybe when I go to my next race, people still won’t know who I am,” said Baillie, pictured at right.

They’ll know. Unless she switches hair color from bleached blond to bottle green or candy apple red.

Baillie, of Bend, Ore., followed Margaret Wangari-Muriuki and three other Kenyans across the finish line. The petite runner with the impish grin was 39 seconds behind the winner and was the first American to finish. “Sometimes, people don’t see me, especially if I’m running with men. I want to say, ‘hey, don’t miss me. I’m right here.’ “

No worries Saturday. Her hair was a beacon.

THE RACE LOGO is likely to remain the same through the 20th edition of the race in 2017 after TD Bank renewed its principal sponsorship of the race for another five years.

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Similarly, Dave McGillivray signed on for another five years as race director.

He tends to view events such as the Olympics from an unusual perspective. He and his son Luke watched the 250-kilometer men’s cycling road race on television on the first weekend of Olympic coverage, and it came down to a thrilling sprint between a rider from Kazakhstan and another from Colombia.

“He was sitting at the edge of his chair,” McGillivray said. “He’s like, ‘Dad, look at that! Look at those cyclists!’

“And I said, ‘The heck with the cyclists, Lukie, do you see those barricades! Look at that fencing, Lukie! And the paint at the finish line is awesome.’ ” 

AS THE RACE course curves left in its second mile and approaches the Kettle Cove Creamery, runners needing a lift were treated to upbeat music coming from the 1972 jukebox of Bill Hewitt, a longtime Cape Elizabeth resident who moved to his current home on Webster Avenue three years ago.

“We lived on Fowler so we were on the shuttle route,” he said. “All we saw were buses, so no one could appreciate it.”

With help from a 100-foot extension cord leading to his garage, Hewitt shared his jukebox collection of 45 rpm records such as Born to Run, Margaritaville, Dance to the Music, Nowhere to Run and Devil with the Blue Dress with more than 6,000 appreciative listeners. 

– Staff Writers Glenn Jordan, Steve Solloway, Mike Lowe, Gilliam Graham and Leslie Bridgers contributed to this report.


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