BANGOR, Maine — Riley Masters has an impressive list of accomplishments on his athletic resume.
He helped lead Bangor High’s indoor and outdoor track and field teams to state championships his junior season, earned many individual accolades in his high school career and enjoyed an outstanding freshman running season at the University of Maine.
He even played in the Senior League World Series in his hometown in 2006.
One thing had been missing before Saturday: winning the Walter Hunt Memorial 3,000-meter road race, which Masters has been running since he was 6 years old.
That goal is now crossed off the checklist as Masters blasted off the starting line on upper Wilson Street in Brewer, running uncontested from that point to the Pickering Square footbridge in downtown Bangor in 8 minutes, 16 seconds, beating his nearest competitor by 32 seconds.
Masters barely missed the two-decade-old course record of 8:10 shared by Tim Wakeland and Gerry Clapper.
Finishing second was Jeff Sprague of Waldoboro in 8:48 while Surry’s Andy Beardsley was third in 8:58, Bangor’s Joe Capehart fourth in 9:11 and Jerod Hayes of Dover-Foxcroft fifth in 9:12.
UMaine also dominated the landscape in the women’s race, as Black Bear runners went 1-2 and claimed first-place honors for the second year in a row.
This time, it was Brenna Walsh of Nova Scotia, finishing in 10:18, followed by teammate Jennie Lucy of Bangor in 10:29.
Third place went to Anne Favolise-Stanton of Columbia Falls in 10:30 while Dana Parrot of Tampa, Fla., was fourth in 10:32 and Renee Murray fifth in 10:38.
Despite cloudy skies and a few showers throughout the race, more than 500 runners completed the event and thousands of spectators lined the course to provide support while they waited for the parade to begin.
Even though Masters didn’t get the course record like he had hoped, he still had a couple of reasons to smile.
“I ran a [personal record] both for the mile and the 3K too, so I can’t complain,” he said. “I haven’t raced in a week, so I’ve got to be happy with that.”
Masters cruised through the fast first mile in an astounding 4:05, which put him on pace to clip 8:10, but the Joshua Chamberlain Bridge, which is slightly uphill, slightly derailed those hopes.
“The bridge is a little deceiving, people don’t realize how long it is,” he said. “That bridge took a lot out of my legs.”
Masters, who last competed at the U.S. Track and Field Nationals in Eugene, Ore., June 27, was happy to finally break through at one of his favorite races, at which he came in second last summer.
“This is the one race that I’ve never won, so it feels great to get it out here, especially in my hometown,” he said. “This is the one thing that was missing, I guess, so it feels good to finally get that off my chest.”
The women’s race was a lot closer, as Maine teammates Walsh and Lucy were neck-and-neck through the mile before Walsh eventually pulled away.
Having never run this race before, Walsh didn’t exactly know what to expect coming in.
“It was a good experience,” she said. “I didn’t really know much about the course, I heard it was mostly downhill so I figured I might as well take advantage of that.”
She took advantage of the downhill stretch on Main Street in Bangor, chasing down some male runners while widening her gap over Lucy, who ran a fine race to finish second.
It was Lucy and Masters who convinced Walsh, who like her teammates is starting to get ready for the fall cross country season, to give the race a go.
“I figured I may as well put a race in there. My legs were getting a little antsy,” she said. “I didn’t really plan to run particularly fast.”