BREWER, Maine — It was a day better suited for drinking hot chocolate and watching football, but hundreds of hearty souls still showed up to Brewer High for the 27th annual Turkey Trot 5K road race.
University of Maine freshman Riley Masters of Veazie weathered the elements just fine, taking control of the race at the half-mile mark and cruising home from there in a record time of 15 minutes, 21 seconds Sunday afternoon.
“I really didn’t have a strategy but Judson still took it out pretty quick,” said Masters.
“Judson” is Bar Harbor runner Judson Cake, who took home runner-up honors in 15:56.
Charles Therriault of Clinton, Mass., Masters’ teammate, finished third while Erik and Steven McCarthy, both of Orono, came in fourth and fifth.
Northport’s JoAnn Nealey won her second straight Turkey Trot in 18:59.
Mount Desert Island senior Heather Spurling was second in 19:30, followed by Elizabeth and Vanessa Brunton of Winter Harbor and Brewer native Kristine Guaraldo, now living in South Portland.
“The wind out there could’ve blown the vinyl siding off a house,” Masters said.
The wind, which resulted in wind chills being in the teens with temperatures already in the low 30’s, was at runner’s backs the first half of the race, which goes out and back on Dirigo Drive, but a stiff headwind faced competitors in the stretch portion.
“The first half felt really easy [and] the second half felt really hard,” said Nealey, cross country coach at Belfast High School.
Masters and Cake went out hard and aggressive with Masters opening up a 30-second gap and giving himself a cushion heading into the brutal second half.
“I knew that the first person to get to the turnaround was going to win the race,” he said. “It was kind of a race the first mile and a half, after that it was just all about finishing the race.”
Masters’ winning time was good for a new course record on the two-year old layout.
He’s tapering some-what now that the cross country season has come to a close.
“Right now I’m just looking to keep my endurance but kind of rest up,” Masters said.
Nealey broke away from the pack early in the women’s race, and tried to run a tactical race given the conditions.
“I pretty much really tried to run a pretty even pace knowing the wind would be a factor on the way back,” she explained.
MDI’s Spurling had herself a solid race, her first since the Class B state cross country championships, and she will be among the EMITL’s top distance runners this winter.
Rounding out the top 10 finishers overall were John Bapst cross country and track coach Joe Capehart of Bangor, former George Stevens of Blue Hill runner Addison Pellerano, University of Maine runner Noah Schoneberg, Ellsworth coach Andy Beardsley of Surry and Brewer alumnus Andrew Goupee of Ellsworth.