CARIBOU, Maine — Not unlike most marathons, the inaugural Caribou Marathon course offered some real challenges, but Erik McCarthy still was able to capture his first victory at the distance.
The 35-year-old Old Town runner clocked the 26.2-mile course in 2 hours, 36 minutes, 5.6 seconds. His time was nearly five minutes faster than runner-up Evan Graves of Caribou, who came in at 2:41.03.
He and Graves were stride for stride at the midway point and beyond, but McCarthy was able to create some separation at the 15-mile mark to take control.
“It was tough and there were a lot of good hills in there,” said McCarthy, whose previous best time for a marathon was 2:38, “but I’ve been putting in the work and it was nice to see it pay off.”
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McCarthy said the enthusiastic crowd throughout the downtown portion provided a boost.
“The crowd in Caribou is great and it made it fun,” he added.
The women’s winner was Tracy Guerrette of Bangor, a 35-year-old St. Agatha native who conquered the course in 3:03.24.6. She was third overall behind McCarthy and Graves.
“I knew it was going to be challenging with a lot of hills, but living up here in northern Maine, I enjoy the hills,”the former Wisdom High School and University of Maine Black Bears basketball standout said.
“Anytime you got two loops for a marathon, it mentally is very challenging, but the course is beautiful and I really enjoyed it,” she added.
The remainder of the overall top 10 included: Joey Bard of Caribou, 3:11.27; Jennifer St. Amand of Dexter, Minnesota, 3:24.46; Keith Lind of Augusta, 3:29.32; Jonathan Hogue of Ellsworth, 3:30.35; Audrey Machowski of Wales, 3:31.26; Alex Praschma of Cambridge, Massachusetts, 3:36.03; and Rebecca Geib of Bar Harbor, 3:37.21.
The race served as a qualifier for next April’s Boston Marathon.
In the half-marathon, Curtis Wheeler of New Sweden was the winner in 1:19.30.3. He was followed by Justin Fereshetian of Mars Hill in 1:23.38 and Caleb Chapman of Mapleton in 1:28.19.5.
The first woman to finish was Presque Isle’s Stephanie Graves, whose time was 1:40.33.5. The runner-up was Kimberley Wright of Mapleton in 1:41.04.7 and third was Louise Connely of Edmunston, New Brunswick, in 1:43.25.6.
Relays and a kids’ race were also a part of the event.