Craig Robinson, who grew up in Scarborough but now lives outside of Boston, has been regularly checking Portland weather forecasts for Sunday morning.

He likes what he sees – sunshine and temperatures in the 50s for most of the morning, when he’ll make his marathon debut.

The 27th Gorham Savings Bank Maine Marathon, Half Marathon and Marathon Relay is set to begin at 7:45 a.m. Sunday with roughly 3,700 registrants taking part in three events stretching from Baxter Boulevard to Yarmouth.

A 2013 graduate of Bentley University who works in commercial lending in Boston, Robinson plans to run his first marathon with two roommates from college.

“We trained together this summer,” he said. “We’re all first-timers.”

Robinson and one of his old roommates are members of the Battle Road Track Club, formerly known as New Balance Boston, whose coach, Kevin Curtin, also coached them at Bentley. Robinson has a couple half marathons under his belt, and figured 27 is a good age to step up to the 26.2-mile distance.

Maintaining a 6-minute pace would result in a marathon time of 2 hours, 37 minutes, 19 seconds. To qualify for the Boston Marathon, Robinson and his buddies need only finish in three hours.

“Hopefully we have a decent buffer,” Robinson said. “But again, we’ve never done this before.”

Somebody who’s run a boatload of marathons, but never this one, is Bryan Morseman of Bath, New York. When Morseman, 33, won the Mount Desert Island Marathon last fall in 2:28:18, it marked his 53rd victory in 83 marathons since his debut in 2008.

In March 2015, Morseman ran – and won – three marathons in eight days. The first came on a Saturday at the Montgomery Marathon in Alabama (2:24:40). The following day, Morseman stopped in North Carolina and won the Tobacco Road Marathon in 2:32:39. A week later, he traveled to Virginia Beach and won the Shamrock Marathon in 2:24:10.

“His resiliency is incredible,” said Mike Rohl, who coaches cross country and track and field at Mansfield University in Pennsylvania – Morseman’s alma mater. “He was an average college runner, maybe 4:45 for the mile and 16-something for the 5K … but his career goal was to be a marathoner post-collegiately.”

Morseman works as a precious metals clerk for a dinnerware manufacturer. Rohl said much of Morseman’s motivation to run as many marathons as he could was to earn money to cover medical costs for the youngest of his two sons, Leeim, who was born with spina bifida.

Morseman’s biggest payday was $5,000 for fifth place in the 2015 Pittsburgh Marathon. His purse for those three victories in eight days totaled $5,750.

“Whatever it was, every penny of it went to his son’s care,” Rohl said. “He’s smart about where he goes. He goes where he can win money.”

Morseman’s career prize money, according to the Association of Road Racing Statisticians website, adds up to $76,145.

Although he’s registered for the Maine Marathon before, Morseman never has raced in Portland.

This year’s top prize remains $1,000, but organizers are now paying five deep instead of three, with $800 for second place, $600 for third, $400 for fourth and $200 for fifth. The top five women earn the same. Payouts for the half marathon are half those amounts.

Another change this year is the race beneficiaries. Instead of one charity receiving $50,000, the race is awarding $20,000 each to three: The Locker Project, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Maine and Greater Portland Health.

Neither of the 2017 Maine Marathon champions are planning to defend their titles. Tracy Guerrette of St. Agatha is entered in the half marathon, and Andrew Van Hoogenstyn, a 2002 Scarborough High graduate living in Connecticut, is not registered. Christine Hein of North Yarmouth appears to be the favorite in the women’s field.

Chris Harmon, a Scarborough High grad now living in Westbrook, plans to return for his third crack at the Maine Marathon. He was runner-up in 2014 (2:32:55) and third in 2016. Currently recovering from plantar fasciitis, Harmon said he’s hoping for a time that will qualify him for the 2020 Boston Marathon.

“Maine’s great,” he said of the marathon. “I just always have a good time doing it. It’s familiar and there’s always a ton of people cheering on the sideline. That helps you get through the tough parts of the course.”

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH


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