The fifth time was definitely the charm for Sheri Piers.
The Falmouth resident, who had struggled in her four previous Boston Marathons, had a breakthrough Monday, as she finished 11th among female runners in 2 hours, 37 minutes, 4 seconds over 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston.
She had never broken 2:40 in the past.
Piers, who earned a personal record for the marathon distance, averaged 6 minutes per mile over the challenging course.
She went through the 5-kilometer point in a solid 19:09 before clicking off splits of 37:37 at the 10K, 56:30 at the 15K and 1:19-flat at the halfway point.
Piers ran the second half of the course faster than the first, blazing through the final 13.1 miles in 1:18:04, which is not an easy task after the Newton hills come into play.
“That’s obviously what you want to try to do in any race is run a negative split,” Piers said. “[To have] done that today was pretty amazing.”
Piers and the elite women started approximately a half hour before the elite men and the rest of the field, and headwinds kept the pace slow through early portion of the race, with the leaders going through the first mile in 6:23.
Piers went through the mark in 6:30, which was fairly surprising.
“I was like, wow, this is kind of slow but hey, everybody’s staying here so I’ll stay here too,” she said.
Once Piers closed in on Kenmore Square and Boylston Street, she could still see the lead pack, which included American star Kara Goucher, who finished third overall.
“At one point at Mile 21 I looked up and this man had said to me, you’re only 30 seconds away from the lead pack,” Piers said. “I was like, I don’t know if I should be here, this is weird, I could see the police escorts and everything.”
She has certainly enjoyed success in Boston in races other than the Boston Marathon in the past as Piers finished 16th at last spring’s Olympic Marathon trials on a loop course around the city.
Piers plans on getting some well-deserved rest now, and she’ll eventually gear up for what should be a glorious summer of racing.
“I want to get geared up for the Beach to Beacon, and I’m not going to be able to do that if I don’t take a break,” she said.
Other notable local female finishers were Sub 5 track club president Samantha Matoush of Bangor in 3:26:05, Susan Plissey of Stockholm in 3:30:40, Julie Brown of Millinocket in 3:34:25, Mary Duzdik of Bar Harbor in 3:44:58, Bonnie Gallagher of Camden in 3:47:20, Ellsworth’s Michele Gagnon in 3:49:01, Mary Parsons of Hampden in 3:56:00 and Marilyn Hintz of Stillwater in 3:56:26.
Evan Graves of Caribou was the top male finisher from Maine as he finished 32nd overall in 2:26:11.
Matt Frongillo of Bar Harbor was 94th overall and 88th among men in 2:34:29, while Farmington’s Matt Dunlap was 153rd overall, 142nd among men in 2:38:24.
Other top finishers from Maine on the men’s side included David Weinstein of Yarmouth, who was 229th overall, 216th among men in 2:43:11, Ross Nickerson of Falmouth, 256th overall and 242nd among men in 2:43:59, Tim Carven of Kittery Point, 456th overall and 429th among men in 2:50:02, Dan Franek of South Port-land, 544th overall and 514th among men in 2:51:36, Knud Hermansen of Old Town, 637th overall and 602nd among men in 2:53:02 and Tom Hedstrom of Camden, 648th overall and 613th among men in 2:53:11.
Roger Marquis of Old Town finished in 3:05:41, Jim Newett of Ellsworth 3:20:23, Chuck Arrigoni of Winterport 3:32:46, Rick Lyons of Hampden 3:36:44, Matt Homich of Ellsworth 3:41:16 and Donald Audibert of Fort Kent in 3:53:26.