CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine — Gabe Proctor took an aggressive approach to Saturday’s Beach to Beacon 10K.
More than a mile into the 6.2-mile race, the Corinth resident and recent graduate of Western Colorado State University was one of just four Americans still hanging with the leaders, a 10-man group featuring several Kenyan distance specialists with Olympic and additional world-class pedigrees.
Then again, Proctor has quite a running pedigree of his own, having won both the 5,000 and 10,000-meter runs at this spring’s NCAA Division II outdoor track and field championships in Pueblo, Colo.
And while the 23-year-old Proctor soon fell off the pace set in part by eventual race winner Micah Kogo of Kenya, he nevertheless finished ninth overall and third among all Americans in the 6,244-runner field with a time of 29 minutes, 27.4 seconds.
“I started out with the leaders for the first mile, and then during Mile 2 they started breaking away from me,” said Proctor, whose best 10K on the track is a 28:58 clocking earlier this year in California. “It was really tough trying to stay with them but I just tried to maintain contact as long as I could.
‘I guess I had a second wind at about 5K and made another surge, but I wasn’t prepared for that last mile. I knew there was a hill there but I didn’t know it was that long.”
While Proctor listed Gunnison, Colo. — home of Western Colorado State University — as his hometown on his race entry form, his connection to Corinth spans the last three years.
In 2000, United Methodist pastor Jim Proctor and his wife adopted Gabe and his younger sister and brother, Sam and Joanna. Jim Proctor moved his family from Vermont to Corinth in 2010, though Gabe has been in college since then and has not spent a lot of time in the central Maine community.
And Proctor won’t be around Maine much longer, having joined the elite athlete program at the Mammoth Track Club in Mammoth Lakes, Calif.
Among the other members of that club, which specializes in high-altitude training, is Deena Kastor, the 2004 Olympic marathon bronze medalist and the U.S. record holder in the marathon and half-marathon.
Kastor, ironically, also was in Saturday’s TD Beach to Beacon field, finishing as the top American woman in the race and breaking the women’s masters division course record with her seventh-place overall time of 32:28.2.
“I joined the Mammoth Track Club in early July and I’ll be going out there in a week,” said Proctor. “I’m pretty excited.”
Proctor plans to run professionally both in indoor and outdoor track as well as in road races with an eye toward the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.
“I think I’m going to do all of that, focusing on the 5- and 10K and moving up to the marathon eventually,” he said. “But It’s been a long season, so I’m just looking for a long break and then starting over again.”
Masters averts wardrobe malfunction
The job of professional runner isn’t all about running, it’s also about representing sponsors.
Veazie native Riley Masters admittedly is new to professional running, having signed with Brooks Running earlier this summer.
And the All-American indoor miler at the University of Maine and the University of Oklahoma had to scramble to handle the representation duties of his new career at the TD Beach to Beacon 10K.
“I signed with Brooks so I’m running competitively for them and they’re sponsoring me, and we have a specific race kit we use,” said Masters, referring to team uniforms and other gear used at races.
“But when I was in Europe last week I just had an unfortunate time and left my passport at a hotel and left my wallet in Europe and I ended up leaving my kit in Europe, too.”
That missing kit included Masters’ Brooks running singlet, which features the company name prominently.
“It was [Friday] night when I first realized it, and then it was more like [Saturday] morning when it clicked that it might be a problem,” said Masters. “But fortunately I had bought a Brooks singlet with ‘Maine’ on it at the runners’ expo [Friday].
“That was the one I wore today, I just threw it on because I was like, ‘I have to wear something that says Brooks on it.”
Masters proudly pointed out the words on his substitute singlet when he neared the TD Beach to Beacon finish line as the top Mainer in the race with a time of 30:19.3
“It said ‘Brooks’ and ‘Maine’ so it was a cool singlet to wear, but I might be in a little trouble for not wearing my official kit,” said Masters, who plans to stay in Maine for a brief time before moving out to Seattle, Wash., home of Brooks Running’s headquarters.
“It’s kind of a funny story with how it worked out, but I think the fans were loving it coming down the stretch with me pulling on the Maine jersey.”