(Bridgton ME) Three days after a tornado roared into sections of Bridgton, over two thousand runners raced through an area of the town hit hardest by the storm. Talk about resilience!
Beautiful weather for the 41st edition of the Bridgton 4 on the Fourth on Tuesday morning.
First-timer Rob Gomez of Windham (ME) ran away from the field that included 3-time champion Moninda Marube.
Moninda was only four second off his winning time in 2016 but, against one of state of Maine’s best runners, he was defeated by a significant twenty-five seconds (20:18).
Another first-timer, Heather Mahoney of Westford (MA), was the first woman to finish (24:14). Heather was 24th overall. Her husband, Chris, crossed 8th overall.
Two seniors from Principia College (Elsah IL), who work at Camp Owatonna in Harrison (ME), were among the top finishers. Shane Witters Hicks was 3rd while teammate Nate Richards was 6th.
In fourth place was Colby grad Silas Eastman. Silas has won this race in the past.
Osman Doolow (Lewiston ME) was another successful newcomer to this event. Osman had a remarkable high school running season in 2015-2016 winning several Maine state titles.
Robert Hollis (Farmington ME) was back at 7th again.
Nick Brown (UNH freshman) took over thirty seconds off his time last year to claim 9th.
Patrick Carty (Emmanuel College) from nearby Sweden reached 10th.
Looking for a most-improved runner? Without much research, I’ll take Anna Lastra. Anna was a good runner for Fryeburg Academy but has now moved on to run at Stonehill College (Easton MA). Last year’s time: 25:46 and 46th overall. This year’s time: 24:37 and 26th overall. Watch out for Anna if she runs the Bridgton race next year.
Mary Pardi of Falmouth, who has competed in Bridgton many times, ended up as the 3rd woman to finish.
The excitement, to me, in the Bridgton 4 on the Fourth is that you never know what runners will appear. The way that Moninda Marube had easily won the three races he had run at Bridgton had me thinking that the battle would be for second. Silly me! If I had known who Rob Gomez was I would have certainly hedged my assumption.
Rob is a graduate of Medomak Valley and Bates. He was the 5th Mainer to finish the Beach to Beacon 10K last year. He was Maine’s “Runner of the Year” in 2013 according to New England Runner Magazine. He has had two top-forty finishes in the Boston Marathon. He owns the Eastern Shore Training company. He’s into running!
The Bridgton race is serious for some but for many it is a social event. It is not uncommon for runners to move into the crowd for a high-five or a hug.
A good collection of patriotic gear was in evidence.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)