(Bridgton) Eric Ashe of Natick (MA) was the top finisher in the 46th annual Bridgton 4 on the Fourth road race.
Heather Gallant of Wayne (ME) was the repeat winner among the women.
Nearly 1500 runners participated under sunny skies departing from in front of Food City at 8AM.
Eric Ashe was visiting his mother in Greenwood during the holiday weekend.
“I talked myself into driving over and running the race,” said Eric afterwards. “The cash price covers the gas expenses.”
Sasha/Scott Mindel (Burlington) have family on Moose Pond but hadn’t run the race before.
The two of them ran today, and both came in second.
“Our A goal was for both of us to come in first,” said Scott afterwards.
“I had seen the recent results, so I thought that I had a chance to win,” Scott added.
That optimism suffered a bit of a jolt before the race started.
“At the warmups, I saw Eric (Ashe),” said Scott. “He generally beats me, but I’ve beaten him a couple of times.”
For a mile the talented twosome stayed together. Then came the hills.
“The uphill started, and I tried to maintain the same effort,” recalled Eric. “Luckily, I was able to open a gap and keep it. I think the gap got bigger.”
“He’s much better on the uphills than I am,” said Scott. “When the uphill started today, I was hoping to keep him within close enough distance because I’m better on the downhills.”
“But Eric got too much on me and I couldn’t make a move until the downhill in the last mile,” said Scott. “It was too late by then.”
“At least it was a fun last mile,” he added with a smile.
Eric finished at 20:06 and had a thirteen-second lead over Scott.
Heather Gallant (Wayne) won last year.
“I was happy with last year’s weather and this years’ time (23:26),” she said.
2021 was rainy with temperatures in the fifties.
Heather was 15th overall today.
Heather didn’t face any serious challengers from today’s runners. Her closing time was 23:26. The next woman to finish (Sasha Mindel) closed at 24:58.
“I hung out with a couple of guys during the race,” said Heather afterwards. “I pace off them. They’re good about doing that.”
Heather said she felt better prepared this time. “I had a couple more races coming into this one compared to last year. The hills here are still memorable.”
Sasha Mindel, who had a daughter last year, was glad just to be out there running. “This is only my second race since having her,” she said. “It was the first time it felt as if everything clicked.”
All four runners I talked with enjoyed the Bridgton race and would return if they could.
Scott Mindel told me that he had run at the University of Cincinnati. “I now run for the Central Mass Striders. I do a lot of races including marathons.”
Eric Ashe attended Boston University. “I saw online that guys were doing twenty-flat here,” he said, “so I knew it would be competitive. I am focusing on marathons. I did one in Minnesota two weeks ago.”
Joseph Reynolds (3rd), Andrew Mongiat (4th), and Chris Harmon (5th) were in the top five.
Race Director Bill Graham again ran things smoothly.
The object is to have the male and female winners run through a banner at the finish line. It’s always easy with the male. The female…not always. Today was an example. Female leader Heather Gallant was close behind another runner near the finish and when the banner went up that runner (Thomad Lyons) got wrapped in it.
(The pictures should enlarge if you click on them.)