BOSTON — Sheri Piers lingered in the sunshine on Boylston Street between the Boston Public Library and the Old South Church on Monday, half a block beyond the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

She turned her back on the waiting medal, water and shiny blanket, looking instead at the route she had just run, searching arriving runners in vain for the familiar face of her friend and running partner, Kristin Barry.

A year ago it was Barry who finished as the top Maine woman after Piers dropped out. This time Barry didn’t feel right from the get-go and told Piers to continue without her.

“Then I was like, well, I’m going to try to have fun,” Piers said. “And I did. I tried to enjoy the crowd and just soak up everything I could because I knew this was it. This was the last one, my last Boston.”

The 44-year-old from Falmouth, the top American woman in 2012, finished the race in 2 hours, 52 minutes, 25 seconds – good for 29th overall and fourth among female masters.

Because one of the masters women with a faster time started with the general field rather than with the elite, Piers took home third-place masters prize money of $2,500.


Hilary Corno, 40, of Encitas, California, won the masters division in a time of 2:48:49.

The first Maine man across the line was Chris Harmon, 28, of Portland in his Boston debut. A graduate of Scarborough High in 2006 and the University of Maine in 2010, Harmon said these days he’s simply a lawyer who runs for fun.

“I had a little setback about a month ago,” Harmon said of a bout with tendinitis in his knee. “So while everybody else was tapering, I was still building up mileage so I could even do a marathon.”

Harmon finished in 2:38:22, good enough for 97th overall but more than five minutes off his first attempt at this distance last fall at the Maine Marathon.

The toughest part of his day turned out to be the walk from Copley Square to Back Bay Station so he could catch the Orange Line to Jamaica Plain, where the sister of his fiancee lives. A police officer swiped an MBTA card to let Harmon through the turnstile. Other kind-hearted souls escorted him to an elevator and ushered him to a seat on the train car.

Harmon said he also noticed a festive mood throughout the day, three years after two bomb blasts killed three people and injured 264 others.


“It was really nice to see the city take back the race,” Harmon said. “Everyone was celebrating. Everyone was happy.”

Particularly so during the quarter-mile stretch that runs through Wellesley College, whose undergraduate women create a scream tunnel.

“It was unbelievable,” said Robert Ashby, 47, of Brunswick. “I’ve never seen anything like it. So many girls had signs out, screaming ‘Come give me a kiss, please! I’ll marry you!’ … I’ve run (Boston) a whole bunch of times and it was louder than I’ve ever heard it.”

Ashby spoke while leaning against an ambulance parked well behind the finish line. He wore a Dirigo running shirt, as did Ryan Jara, 28, of Gorham. Jara, a Michigan native who moved to Maine a year and a half ago, was the second Maine resident to finish, in 2:45:24.

Ashby was third in 2:47:50. Behind Piers, the second Maine woman was Christine Hein, who used to be Christine Irish.

“I got married two years ago,” said Hein, 41, of North Yarmouth. “I’m a little slow on changing my name.”


She finished just out of the women’s masters prize money in 2:57:49.

Barry, of Scarborough, sent Piers ahead at Mile 4 and made it to Mile 8 before dropping out. They didn’t see each other again until meeting in a hotel lobby.

“This isn’t how I wanted to finish,” Barry said. “But it happens.”

Other prominent Maine runners who started but didn’t finish included Maine Marathon champion Evan Graves of Caribou, who cruised through the halfway point in 1:17 and continued through Mile 18, and Mary Pardi of Falmouth, one of the five Mainers in the elite women’s field. She dropped out after reaching the half in 1:28.

Erica Jesseman of Scarborough, the fifth elite Maine woman, pulled out of the race Sunday because of a tender hamstring.

Among those who did finish was Michael Westphal, the 58-year-old with Parkinson’s disease from Cranberry Isles who was profiled in the Maine Sunday Telegram. Paced by his brother, Rolf of Cumberland, Westphal clasped hands with Rolf as they finished in 3:38:59.


“My medications were working all right but it wasn’t completely effective,” he said. “I walked a few times, just to get my feet under me and get my wind back. I didn’t want to fall (as he did twice near the finish of his Boston qualifying run last June on Great Cranberry Island.) They say if you fall at Boston they might get medical people on you. I didn’t want to be hauled off the course.”

Westphal’s weekend began with a trip to New York for a Friday night awards dinner for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. Westphal, who raised $38,000 last year and $13,000 for running Boston on Monday, was a guest speaker and met the actor.

“Nice guy,” Westphal said. “Very nice and very sincere.”

Sherry Missig, 65, of Yarmouth ran her first Boston in 4:28:22 after qualifying for the first time last fall at the Mt. Desert Island Marathon. Peter Burke, 48, of Westbrook, was another Boston newbie.

“Brutal but awesome,” Burke said. “Coming down and seeing thousands of people spread out in front of you, with all those colors and all the languages you hear along the course, it’s just beautiful.”

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