CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine — Michelle Lilienthal tied the Maine resident women’s course record for the TD Beach to Beacon 10K road race in 2013 — save for the fact that she wasn’t a resident.
A year later, that has changed as the result of a new relationship, with Lilienthal moving from Minnesota to Portland.
There were no such geographic complications Saturday as Lilienthal not only eclipsed the mark but also set a personal-best time for 6.2 miles as she took top honors among Maine resident women in the 17th TD Beach to Beacon.
Lilienthal, 32, held off defending champion Erica Jesseman of Scarborough with a time of 33 minutes, 38.8 seconds, topping the 34:17 clocked by Falmouth’s Sheri Piers in 2009.
“My hope was to be under 34,” said Lilienthal. “I wanted to be the first Mainer and what I cared most about was PR’ing and getting under 34 minutes. Really I was pushing hard to be under 34.”
Will Geoghegan of Brunswick, a former Dartmouth College standout, won the Maine resident men’s title for the first time, placing 16th overall in the field of more than 6,000 runners in 29:53.0.
“I wanted to be the top Maine resident, they luckily don’t count Ben True anymore,” said the 22-year-old Geoghegan. He was referring to the Maine men’s course record holder (29:10.3) who now lives in New Hampshire and placed third overall in Saturday’s race in 27:49.8.
“I was second here last year and thought it was attainable, and I also thought if I was feeling good I might be able to break 30.”
Geoghegan hadn’t run much competitively since suffering a fractured metatarsal (foot bone) this spring but still overcame the other in-state hopefuls just two days after he returned from a trip to Ireland.
“This is my first serious race of the summer and I didn’t prepare for this the way I generally prepare for a race,” he admitted. “I haven’t really been doing any workouts, just distance runs because I just wanted to come in here and see what I could do and have fun because it’s such a fun event.
“With any race, once you’re a day or two out you’re as prepared as you’re going to be so you just have to relax and try to be mentally ready on race day.”
Geoghegan ran at a fairly consistent pace while averaging 4:49 per mile.
“I went out in 4:36, which was pretty fast, and I felt like every mile was getting slower so I ended up pretty close to that 30-minute barrier but I was able to sneak under it,” said Geoghegan, who will compete at the University of Oregon next season while pursuing a master’s degree.
“I wasn’t able to race at all this spring and started easy running again in mid-June so I’m still transitioning into doing my first workouts. I’ll probably be pretty sore after today.”
Jonny Wilson of Falmouth, a top-three Maine men’s finisher in each of the previous three TD Beach to Beacons, was second in 30:26.9, followed by Henry Sterling of South Freeport (31:39.4), Robert Gomez of Portland (31:45.5) and Spencer McElwain of Bangor (31:46.4).
Lilienthal is predominantly a marathon runner, having competed in the 2008 and 2012 U.S.Olympic Trials. She already qualified for the same event in 2016, but was looking forward to her second TD Beach to Beacon.
“I hadn’t run it before last year, and this year having raced it before and done a couple of long runs on the course, just knowing the ups and downs and turns did help a lot,” said Lilienthal, a former All-Big Ten runner at the University of Wisconsin who plans to run the New York City Marathon in November. “Usually I go by the mantra ‘ignorance is bliss,’ I don’t really want to know the course, but I think for this race particularly it was helpful.”
Jesseman, who missed the Maine women’s record by 0.6 seconds last summer, broke the mark by 0.5 seconds this year.
“I’m very happy but I’m also a little disappointed because I wanted to break 34,” she said. “That was the ultimate goal but I just couldn’t do it.
“This was one of the smartest races I’ve ever run. I paced off a couple people, I had a game plan and I really don’t know how I could have tweaked it. I just didn’t have it at the end and sometimes that happens.”
Piers was third overall — and first in the Maine women’s masters division — with her time of 35:45.0, Kirstin Sandreuter of North Yarmouth was fourth in 36:26.6, followed by Kristin Barry of Scarborough (37:00.6).
Andy Spaulding of Freeport was the Maine men’s masters champion in 33:27.