Helen Shearer and Lisandro Berry Gaviria were welcomed Friday evening as winners at the finish line of the High School Mile by Molly Huddle and Ben True. By Saturday morning both Huddle and True would take third place in the elite divisions of the Beach to Beacon 10K. This is the third year that the High School Mile, an event celebrating the achievements of Maine's best high school runners, has taken place on the eve of the Beach to Beacon 10K.
As the High School Mile has grown over three years media interest has grown. A battery of cameras and reporters met the runners this season. It's a testament to the interest in the race and the good work of race organizers. Here, boy's winner Lisandro Berry-Gaviria chats with the TV folks in front of one of Maine's most recognized back-drops.
Oakie, representing the High School Mile's sponsor, Oakhurst Dairy, was also on hand at the conclusion of the race to add to the festivities.
Shearer is a 3200 runner for Hampden Academy. She plays soccer player in the fall rather than a cross-country so her summer workouts have been on the pitch rather than on the roads and trails.
Boys winner Lisandro Berry-Gaviria does run cross country and will be looking to defend his Class A title this fall.
Helen Shearer interviewed after the race by one of the many legends at the Beach to Beacon 10K
Both runner's set new course times at 5:24.1 and 4:33.7.
But the runners weren't just greeted by famed runners and and a renowned, costumed mascot. They were also greeted by a lot more media than in past years. In 2017 the only official photographers on the line were employed by the race committee itself and MaineTrackXC (milesplit). No traditional media outlets--newspapers or TV stations--were on hand for the high school mile 2017. For the 2018 event there was a phalanx on credentialed photographers at the finish along with the Portland Press Herald and WCSH-TV.
It is a credit to the organic growth of the event as runners pass the word, but also to the race organizers for making the effort to get this event covered. The field has gotten deeper each year and the competitive level has reached championship season caliber, at least once the starting horn had sounded.
Before the race started the runners all seemed to focus in the event as a fun, celebratory event.
Joining Helen Shearer on the podium as runner-up was the 2017 winner Lily Horne of Freeport. Horne just edged third place finisher Ashley Irby at the line. Irby hails from Bermuda where she attends the Saltus Grammar School. At the pre-race press conference Friday morning Horne was introduced to the media along with Greely's Carolyn and Matthew Todd, Bonny Eagle's Christine Toy, Lisandro Berry-Gaviria of Mt. Ararat, and Alec Troxell of Deering.
Lily Horne edges Ashley Irby for second place as Molly Huddle looks on.
Horne was quick to point out that her primary motivation in coming back was for the fun and great atmosphere. She noted that her only expectation in 2017 when she'd won the race had been "the hope of not coming in last." Her summer training is more oriented toward distance as opposed to the speed work-outs that necessarily accompanied 1600 training in the track season.
The Boys podium for the Beach to Beacon High School Mile.
Many of the high school milers ran in the Beach to Beacon 10K itself. Some ran for time while others ran with friends, or used the run as a training race, a prelude to the fall sports season which opens for Maine high schools on August 13th.
Others like Brunswick's Will Shaughnessy set out to take it easy but let the competitive edge kick in and ran for time. Shaughnessy, who finished fourth in the high school mile, finished 11th in the 15-19 age group with a net time of 36.57. He was the top finisher among those boys who had also competed in the high school mile. Other high school milers with strong 10K showing were Cape's Jack Bassett and Martin Horne of Freeport.
On the girls side, the high school milers dominated the 15-19 age group top finishers. Lila Gaudrault, running in her home town, took second with net time of 40:09. Lily Horne, running in her first 10K, was third (41:10), and Christine Toy took the fourth spot (41:55).
Cape Elizabeth's Lila Gaudrault being introduced for the high school mile. She'd finish second in her age group (15-19) during the TD Beach to Beacon 10K)