CARRABASSETT VALLEY — A Sugarloaf Marathon rookie and veteran recorded the same result on Sunday as Patrick Moulton and Amanda Labelle captured victories in the 29th annual road race Sunday morning.
Both runners overcame dreary , wet conditions and cruised away from the pack and down Routes 27 and 16.
Moulton completed the 26.2 miles from Eustis to Kingfield in 2 hours, 26 minutes, and 9 seconds to win comfortably in his Sugarloaf debut while unseating two-time defending champion Gabriel Helmlinger of Cambridge, Mass., who earned second in 2:38:32.
Rounding out the top five men’s finishers were Jason Bigonia of Newcastle (2:40:50), David Herr of Cannan, Vt., (2:43:49) and Christophe Schmidt of Evanston, Ill., (2:47:59).
Labelle took home her third straight women’s title in 3:03:34, while runner-up Magen Ellis of Orono took second in 3:16:15.
She was followed by Jennifer Piesek of Cumberland in 3:18:23, Christine Irish of North Yarmouth in 3:18:23 and Maggie Lumbanko of Durahm, N.H., in 3:21:27.
The two runners claimed the top spots in the marathon in the largest field of the event. In total, 1,011 runners, representing 34 states and provinces, competed in the marathon and Sugarloaf 15K. Runners came from as far as California, Florida, Idaho and Minnesota to compete in the races.
Louis Luchini of Ellsworth crossed the line in 46:17 to win the accompanying Sugarloaf 15K while Judson Cake of Bar Harbor took second in 46:59, with Robbie Gomez of Saco claiming third (48:57), Erik McCarthy of Orono fourth (49:59) and Farmington’s Jeff Jones, a past winner of the Bangor Labor Day 5-mile race, fifth in 50:05.
Michelle Cook of Cumberland emerged as the women’s champion with a time of 1:01:03, while runner-up Susan Plissey of Stockholm was more than two minutes back at 1:03:32.
Rounding out the top five were Sarah Martin of Farmington (1:03:49), Samantha Matoush of Bangor (1:04:17) and Margaret Capehart of Bangor (1:05:24).
In the marathon, Moulton was running against the wind and rain and by himself from the start, as the Pelham, N.H., native jumped out to a big lead and never relinquished it.
“I was pretty much by myself the whole race,” said Moulton. “It was fun, it’s a beautiful course, it’s definitely a fast course.”
Moulton was participating in his first marathon since winning the BayState Marathon in Lowell, Mass., last fall, and was able to take advantage of Sugarloaf’s fast course.
“I’m not in the best shape I’ve ever been in,” he admitted, “(but) I was pretty pleased with it. I clicked pretty even, I went through the half in like 1:13, and I didn’t really slow down.”
Moulton was 25th overall at the 2007 Boston Marathon, and generally competes in the New England Grand Prix series, a series of 5K and 10K races selected by USA Track and Field and contested all over New England.
Labelle, another former champion in the Bangor Labor Day race, hasn’t exactly gone a while in between marathons, as she competed in the Boston Marathon earlier this spring.
“I didn’t know how recovered I was and I don’t think I was as recovered as I hoped to be,” she said. “I ran some between then and now but not as hard.”
Aside from possibly destroying a pair of socks, Labelle didn’t have much trouble with the rain, which started to fall about two-thirds of the way through the race.
“I don’t even know when it started,” she admitted. “It was nice, I like running in the rain.”
In the 15K, Luchini didn’t have the usual pop in his legs after running a 5-mile race in his native Ellsworth on Saturday, and that reflected early in the race.
“I was running with Judson and Robert Gomez for a while and I didn’t feel so great so I didn’t want to set the pace or anything,” said Luchini, who represents District 38 in the state legislature.. “I ended up probably taking the lead after six miles.”
The Sugarloaf Marathon is Maine’s oldest continuously run marathon and is a qualifying race for the Boston Marathon certified by the United States Track and Field Association.