Gerry Clapper long will be remembered as one of the top road racers to come out of Eastern Maine.
But the Bucksport native’s status in local running record books is growing more tenuous by the week.
Ellsworth’s Louie Luchini shattered Clapper’s 25-year-old course record at the Tour du Lac 10-miler in Bucksport last Saturday, winning that race in 50 minutes, 20 seconds, a healthy 26 seconds better than the 50:46 Clapper clocked while winning his hometown event in 1986.
Clapper also shares the course record for the Walter Hunt Fourth of July Road Race, He won that 3-kilometer dash from Wilson Street in Brewer across the Joshua Chamberlain Bridge to downtown Bangor in 1988 with a time of 8:10 a year after Tim Wakeland posted the same time in winning the 1987 event.
But that shared standard also may be in jeopardy when the gun sounds Monday morning to start the 31st annual Hunt race, with Luchini and University of Maine distance star Riley Masters of Bangor expected to be the prime contenders.
Race time is 10:45 a.m., 15 minutes before the start of the annual Fourth of July parade.
Masters, the first runner in UMaine history to run the mile in under 4 minutes and the ninth-place finisher at the same distance during the NCAA Division I indoor track and field championships last winter, is coming off a second-place finish in the mile at the Maine Distance Gala held June 17 at Bowdoin College in Brunswick.
The 21-year-old Masters was attempting to become the first Maine native to break the 4-minute mile on Maine soil, but he settled for second place behind Providence College runner Dom Channon in a time of 4:03:17.
Masters is the two-time defending Hunt 3K winner, inching ever so closer to the record time each year with his times of 8:16 in 2009 and 8:13 last July — the latter coming on a day in which the Bangor High School product ripped off a 4:07 first mile.
Luchini, 30, also is a two-time Hunt champion. The former running standout at Ellsworth High School and Stanford University, now a state representative serving Ellsworth, Otis and Trenton, won in both 1999 (8:49) and 2001 (8:29).
And while the race record is the target of Masters, Luchini and several other elite runners in the field, if the male winner is timed in under 8:00 and-or the women’s champion is under 9:20, FinishLynx — a digital photofinish and timing system created by Orrington native Doug DeAngelis — will make a donation of $1,000 to a charity of the winner’s choice. And a time bonus of $100 per second will be given to the charity for every additional second the male champion is under 8:00 and-or the women’s winner is under 9:20.
Elizabeth Brunton of Birch Harbor is the defending women’s champion, posting a time of 10:08 last year to finish 23rd overall among 467 finishers, a field that was down slightly from the race record of 511 finishers in 2009.
The women’s course record is 9:28 set by former Bonny Eagle of Standish and Saint Joseph’s College star Wendy Delan in 1988.
The race, hosted by the Sub 5 Track Club, is the eighth event int he Sub 5/Trade Winds MarketPlace Road Race Series.
Three other races are also being held over the holiday weekend with the fourth annual Summer Heat 5K Trail Run kicking off the weekend Saturday morning in Winslow. The 1-mile fun run begins at 8 a.m., followed by the 5K race at 8:30 a.m. The event benefits the Winslow High cross country team.
Besides the Hunt 3K, two 5K races are being held on Monday with the Sebec Village 4th of July 5K beginning at 8 a.m. and the 9th annual Friends on the Fourth 5K Run/Walk starting at 8 a.m. in Winthrop. The Sebec race features an out and back hilly course and starts at the bridge in downtown Sebec while the Winthrop race starts at the American Legion on Bowdoin Street.