BRIDGTON — Rob Gomez, running the race for the first time, won the Bridgton Four on the Fourth on Tuesday morning.

Gomez, 33 of Windham, won the 41st edition of the race in 20 minutes, 18 seconds, the fastest time since 2010 when Phil Richert of Bar Harbor won in 19:58.

“I knew this was a big Fourth of July race. I had never done it but always wanted to do it and now my wife, Breagh, and I live in Windham now so it’s just a hop, skip and a jump up the road,” said Gomez. “It’s an honest course, it’s hilly. To be honest, most of Maine is hilly so it’s a Maine course.”

Heather Mahoney, 34 of Westford, Massachusetts, won the women’s race in 24:15.

Moninda Marube, 38, finished second overall with a time of 20:44. The Auburn resident won last year’s race with a time of 20:40 and had won three of the previous four races.

There are many reasons why individuals and groups come to Bridgton for the Four on the Fourth race. For Tony Myatt of Portland, the inspiration is a good friend who was in the military.

“He was in the military and he was in Iraq in 2003. We emailed back and forth and he told me about this race,” said Myatt. “We (ran this race) three or four times but he passed away two years ago so now I do it as a memory every year. I think about him every time I come up here.”

Blake Ingram, 25, has run the race a few times with his family while they are on vacation from Vermont.

“It’s fun to get out, it’s always a really nice day. There’s a bunch of people, it’s a great little town,” said Ingram.

Ingram said he runs a few races back home with his father, sister, and his sister’s boyfriend, including one on Thanksgiving.

“But this is the one we do every single year no matter what,” said Ingram.

Lori and Wayne Allen are Bridgton natives who have run the race for the past nine years to support the Bridgton Library.

“This is our ninth year running,” Lori said. “We are born and raised here.”

This year, the Allens had an added incentive – their grandson, Devin.

“My grandson, Devin, has a brain tumor on his brain stem. He’s in London going through treatment,” said Wayne.

Race director, Jim Cosey, was pleased with the turnout and weather for Tuesday’s race.

“It was not quite as big as last year, which was our 40th year anniversary race, but I’m surprised that this year on a Tuesday we have probably 2,225, 2,250 or somewhere in that range for numbers,” said Cosey. (There were 2,047 finishers). “We’ve been very lucky with the weather, it’s a blessing to have weather as good as this.”

The race committee made some adjustments to account for such big crowds in a small area at the starting line and Cosey was happy with the changes but also sees room for improvement.

“We’ll make some more (adjustments next year). We’ll have to block off the sides because we had people cut up the side on the parking lot to come in before they were supposed to,” said Cosey. “We’ll learn from the experience and make it better next year. That’s our goal every year.”

Shane Witters Hicks, 23, from Golden, Colorado, placed third overall. Anna Lastra, 19, of Bridgton, and Mary Pardi, 47, of Falmouth rounded out the top three female finishers.