Rob Gomez won’t defend unofficial Maine men’s title at Boston Marathon

Posted April 18, 2014, at 3:18 p.m.

Rob Gomez of Saco, the top Maine finisher in two of the last three Boston Marathons, will participate in Monday’s 118th edition of the event — as a spectator.

Gomez recently cited training issues for his decision not to run this year’s race after clocking state-best times of 2 hours, 24 minutes and 18 seconds in 2011 and 2:22:53 last year.

The 30-year-old Waldoboro native, a two-time Class D cross-country state champion while attending Limestone Community School-Maine School of Science and Mathematics, placed 32nd overall in last year’s race and 35th in 2011, his Boston Marathon debut.

“I’m not going to run the race this year,” he said, “but I’m certainly going to be there to support all the runners.

“If I was going to run it I didn’t want to go into it at anything less than 100 percent,” he said.

Maine’s fastest woman in last year’s event, Sheri Piers of Scarborough, is registered and expected to be back in this year’s Boston field.

Piers has been the state’s fastest women’s finisher every year since 2008, when she did not run Boston in order to compete instead in that year’s U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, which were held in Boston later that month.

Piers, 42, was the fourth-fastest American woman in last year’s Boston Marathon and 20th among women’s finishers overall with her time of 2:39:25.

She was the top American women’s finisher and 10th among all women in the 2012 field after finishing that year’s race in 2:41:55.

Caribou native Spencer McElwain and Bangor’s Adam Goode, who last ran Boston in 2011, could be among the contenders for Gomez’s Maine men’s title this year.

Chief among Piers’ in-state competition could be Erica Jesseman of Scarborough, the top Maine women’s finisher at last year’s Beach to Beacon 10K as well as winner of the women’s division of the 2013 ING Hartford Marathon in 2:38:13.

Jesseman made her Boston Marathon debut last year, finishing in 2:44:35 to place 26th among women in the field, six spots behind Piers.

Bartlett competes for a cause

Lori Bartlett, the Bar Harbor police and fire department dispatcher whose effort to run the 2013 Boston Marathon to raise funds for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute was cut short by the bombings, will continue that effort when she runs in the 118th edition of the race Monday.

Bartlett, who ran the first 24 miles of the Boston course a year ago before being stopped, was one of more than 5,600 runners unable to finish last year’s race who were invited back this year. But rather than accept that invitation, Bartlett will return to Boston as part of an effort incorporated into the race that allows runners to compete in the marathon while raising funds for a variety of charities.

“There are so many memories that come to mind from last year, honestly,” said Bartlett, whose husband and daughter were near the marathon finish line last year when two bombs detonated shortly before 3 p.m., killing three people and injuring more than 260. “I want to finish it this year, to me it’s important. That was taken away from us last year.”

Bartlett hopes to raise $8,000 through the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge. Anyone wishing to make a donation on her behalf can access www.dfmc.org and click on “Support a Runner.”

Bartlett was nagged by a hamstring injury during her 2013 run but is hopeful for a better outcome this year on multiple fronts.

“You can always be in better shape,” she said. “But I feel like this year the individual part of running this race isn’t as important. A lot happened last year and Boston has gone through so much that this race is more about another purpose than it is about my time.”

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