Intermittent fog rolled through Cape Elizabeth on Friday
August 4th reminding everyone gathered for the Beach to Beacon 10K preliminaries
that the world's most photographed lighthouse, Portland Head Light, has served
a more vital purpose since it was commissioned by George Washington in 1791.
But the lighthouse does serve as a beautiful backdrop for the finish line for Maine's premier road race. And it served as both the start and the finish of the High School Mile. The High School Mile is a companion race on the eve of the storied 10K. In its second year the race features a winding, partially hilly, mainly paved two-loop course through Cape Elizabeth's Fort Williams Park. The final half mile of the loop traverses the last portion of the 10K course so it will be familiar to those high school milers coming back for Saturday's 10K.
Winning the boy's race with a time of 4:42.9 was Sam Russ of
Lincoln Academy. The junior bested
the boys' field of fifteen runners, but had Deering's Alec Troxell on his heels
as the pair broke the Oakhurst Dairy finish line. Griffin Allaire of Wells took
the final podium spot.
On the girls' circuit, Freeport's Lily Horne claimed the top spot at 5:28.8. Emily Carty of Fryeburg, whose second place finish garnered her a podium position for the second year, followed her. Gorham's Anna Slager rounded out the top three.
While the competition was strong, the runners agreed that being part of the event was the primary goal. Many also plan to run in Saturday's 10K with groups of high school teammates, family, and friends.
Nick Dall of Waterville ran the High School Mile for the second year, and at the pre-race press conference noted that the course didn't lend itself to fast times. Competing against friends in the atmosphere of the Beach to Beacon 10K was the primary goal.
Dall, and first time High School Milers Carolyn Todd of Greely and Anna Slager of Gorham were introduced to the media along with runners known around the running world on Friday morning prior to the race and had the opportunity to have their photos taken with local legends Ben True and Joan Benoit Samuelson while sharing the dais with winners from around the world. Benoit Samuelson started the girls' race while True set the boys in motion. True will be looking to defend his 2016 B2B 10K championship Saturday morning. Joining this pair at the finish line to honor the runners were Shalane Flanagan, an Olympic Silver Medalist in the 10,000 and holder of the third fastest marathon time by an American woman, and Jordan Hasay, the 3rd place finisher in the 2017 Boston Marathon.
Carolyn Todd decided to run the High School Mile this year after learning how much former Greely teammate Katherine Leggat-Barr enjoyed the inaugural race in 2016. Todd did need a little push though; her older-by-nine-minutes twin-brother Matthew eventually registered her while signing himself up for the boys' race. Todd will be running the 10K with a group from Greely. The Rangers are moving from Class B to Class A for the 2017-18 season and Todd expects it be "very fun and a lot more competitive."
Anna Slager ran just the High School Mile. She was unable to run last year due to a March 2016 ACL injury that kept her out of competition for six months; just this spring she returned to the form that made her a three-time state champion during her freshman and sophomore years.
The race has a history of giving to charitable causes with sponsor TD Bank leading the way. Organizers found a way to bring the high-schoolers into the giving loop as Oakhurst Dairy, sponsors of the High School Mile, made contributions to charities designated by the runners for each of the participants.