CAPE ELIZABETH — When Ruth White runs a race, she runs it all-out. That strategy usually results in a win for the Orono High junior-to-be and reigning New England cross country champion.

White bested the field of 12 runners Friday in the Beach to Beacon High School mile, setting a new course record in the process – 5 minutes, 23.2 seconds.

“I knew what (the record) was but I didn’t think I’d get it, but coming down the straightaway, I knew it was close,” White said.

It was the first time White had been to the site of Maine’s premier road race, which typically has about 6,500 finishers, including elite athletes from around the world. She’ll be back Saturday to compete in the 10K. Race organizers have pegged White as a contender to win the Maine women’s division, which in the past has been won by U.S. Olympic Trials marathoners like Sheri Piers and Michelle Lilienthal.

“I don’t think so. I don’t think I’m at their level right now, but I’m going to have fun,” said White, who has never raced a 10K on the roads. “I’m just excited to be in a big race like that. I’ve never been in something more than probably 200 people. I’ve done some road races, but they’re all pretty small.”

Parker Libby of Mt. Ararat won the boys’ race in 4:38.5. Libby, Nathan Blades of Portland and Freeport’s Henry Horne were together at the front, with a good gap on the other 10 competitors at the halfway point. But Libby, who will be a senior, established a clear lead as runners approached the finish chute in Fort Williams Park.


“I was just looking to get a solid run in, meet these guys and have fun,” Libby said. “I was sticking with them on the first lap and feeling really good, and on the downhill I felt like I could push harder and they just couldn’t stay with me, I guess.”

Blades, who will be a junior, used a late kick to get past Horne, who will be a senior. Blades finished in 4:41.8, with Horne crossing in 4:43.0.

White took control of the girls’ race midway through the first lap, quickly distancing herself from Hadley Mahoney and Emma Young, who as sophomores were key members of Cape Elizabeth’s Class B cross country championship team last fall. Mahoney, the Class B individual champion, finished second in 5:34.0, with Young third in 5:38.9.

“She got herself to the front and then pulled away. We’ve seen her before,” said Mahoney, whose seed time was less than a second off White’s. “She’s got great grit and great confidence that she just goes out to the front and sticks with it.”

The High School Mile, which was added in 2016, had not been held since 2019. The Beach to Beacon 10K was not contested in 2020 and was a virtual race in 2021.

The boys’ course record of 4:33.7 was set in 2018 by Lisandro Berry-Gaviria of Mt. Ararat. Helen Shearer of Hampden Academy held the previous girls’ record, running 5:24.1 in 2018.


For the high school runners, the B2B Mile is a unique experience. Professional race announcers Toni Reavis and Andy Schachat announced each runner, with highlights of their running resume. On the 38th anniversary of her Olympic marathon victory in Los Angeles, race founder Joan Benoit Samuelson was holding the finish line tape, along with Zouhair Talbi of Morocco, a top contender in Saturday’s race.

After the races, Samuelson made a point of chatting up the competitors and posing for pictures.

“This is the next generation who will probably go off to different schools and hopefully come back to keep the Maine running community strong,” Samuelson said.

The young runners appreciated the rare opportunity to compete in a professionally run event.

“I like the atmosphere. I mean, to have Joan Benoit and other famous people here with the young runners to help them grow, I like that,” Libby said.

Horne, who won Class B titles this past spring in the 1,600 meters, high jump and 3,200 relay, was following a family tradition of competing in the event. His sister, Lily, won the 2017 race, and his brother, Martin, competed twice.

“When I was little, I was always excited to do this race when I was in high school,” Henry Horne said. “It seems kind of professional. Just the whole run. The athlete tent. The walk-outs. It always seemed like a cool event. It was a lot of fun.”

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