Next year will mark the 10th anniversary of the TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon 10K road race, with the attendant expectation of celebration for such a milestone event. But gee whiz, how could you possibly top Number Nine?

On what might have been the most glorious Saturday of summer – early-morning fog burned off by cloudless sunshine and nary a hint of humidity – the ninth Beach to Beacon offered up these morsels, along with distributing nearly $60,000 in prize money:

A course record of 31 minutes, 25.7 seconds by Alevtina Ivanova of Russia to neatly complete her three-year placement countdown of three … two … one. Her paycheck: $10,000 plus a $2,500 bonus for lowering the mark set by Catherine Ndereba.

The culmination of a determined comeback from a horrific injury – the loss of sight in one eye sustained during an aborted carjacking – by 34-year-old Kenyan Tom Nyariki, who admitted he did not expect to beat three-time champion Gilbert Okari, then wound up running alone through Fort Williams Park and won in 27:45.5.

Yet another surprise winner in the Maine men’s division, with Deering High graduate and University of Maine senior Donny Drake and his four-digit bib number (2659) rising above the cream of the local crop.

Emily LeVan of Wiscasset surging to an early lead and never looking back on her way to a second straight victory among Maine women, the only favorite to fulfill expectations.

Patrick Doak of Concord, Mass., in his Beach to Beacon debut, setting a wheelchair record of 23:58 to beat six-time champion Tony Nogueira of New Jersey even though Nogueira’s time of 24:11 also bettered the old course record.

A record field of 4,813 athletes completed the 6.2-mile course, and that doesn’t include Paul Tormey of Orrington, an Army Reserve supply sergeant who embarked before dawn in Baghdad for a 10K trot around Al-Faw Palace and clocked a 49:30, which would have tied him for 1,303rd place.

– From the Aug. 6, 2006 edition of the Maine Sunday Telegram