CARIBOU, Maine — Kevin Alliette made the nearly 400-mile drive from Methuen, Massachusetts, Saturday to take a crack at qualifying for the 2018 Boston Marathon.
Not only did he reach the qualifying standard, but Aillette also claimed the overall championship at the second annual Caribou Marathon on Sunday.
It was quite an accomplishment by a guy who is not a big fan of running the 26.2-mile distance.
“I don’t like [marathons],” said Alliette, a former collegiate track and field runner at UMass-Lowell who now teaches and coaches at Methuen High School. “I was a miler in college and now prefer 5K races.”
Still, Alliette, competing in his fourth marathon over the past decade, completed the course he considered “challenging in places” in a time of 2 hours, 49 minutes and 40.5 seconds.
“There were stretches where it was good and there were some hills that would just knock you out,” he said. “There was one at 23 miles that was a pain in the butt. The downhills went by quickly and you didn’t really get much back from them.”
He admitted to cramping up at the final water stop [by the Fort Fairfield Road bridge] and having to stop and do some hamstring stretches before continuing.
The atmosphere of the race was pleasing to the 36-year-old.
“People were in lawn chairs sitting out, older people, younger people,” Alliette said. “There were kids giving you high fives. It was great.”
Chris Hamel of Kensington, New Hampshire, a longtime buddy who traveled up with Alliette, was the runner-up in 2:57:13.7. Christopher Bustard of Cambridge, Massachusetts, came in third in 3:02:39.
While Aillette isn’t a big fan of marathons, the women’s winner, Rebecca Geib of Bar Harbor, can’t get enough of them.
After placing fourth at the inaugural event, Geib claimed the victory on Sunday in 3:29:58.4. She took up running in 2014 and has now competed in 12 marathons.
“I’ve become obsessed with them,” said the 28-year-old. “I Iike to travel throughout the state and race on all the courses Maine has to offer.”
At the Sugarloaf Marathon in May, she came within a minute of hitting the qualifying standard for Boston, but on Sunday, Geib said she “crushed it” in reaching the mark.
She said the change from the two-loop course offered last year made it easier mentally and that training runs on the hilly terrain in Bar Harbor also helped.
Rebekah Thornton of Portland was the women’s runner-up in 4:05:31.3 and Stephanie Ramirez of Cambridge, Massachusetts, finished third in 4:35:47.3.
Last year’s inaugural men’s and women’s marathon winners, Erik McCarthy of Old Town and Tracy Guerrette of Bangor, did not compete.
In the half marathon, local runners dominated the top of the standings. Evan Graves of Caribou, last year’s marathon runner-up, logged the winning time of 1:16:33.1.
Graves, who opted for the shorter distance because he is getting ready for the Maine Marathon in Portland Oct. 1, said he was able to fight through a head cold he’s been battling for several days.
“I know the course having already run it a couple times, but still some parts snuck up on me,” he said. “There was a hill at around the 8-1/2 mile mark and I kind of felt it, but I just had to take it one mile at a time and gut it out.”
P.J. Gorneault of Caribou placed second in 1:20:02.6 and Curtis Wheeler of New Sweden, last year’s half marathon winner, took third in 1:22:26.1.
The race for the women’s title featured a close finish between Marie Beckum of Caribou and Kayla Buck of Mapleton, but Beckum prevailed by less than 10 seconds.
“I didn’t even know she was there until a half mile left,” Beckum said. “I had passed a girl at mile 8 and thought that was it, but [Buck] was right there, so I knew I had a tough quarter mile left to get the win.”
Beckum came across in 1:33:53.5, while Buck’s time was 1:34:02.6. Placing third for women was Gabrielle Wheeler of New Sweden in 1:36:31.5.
This year’s marathon featured 51 competitors, while the half marathon featured a field of 131 runners. Including the kids’ race and the relays, 373 participated in all.
Harrigan’s Harriers, consisting of Mary Harrigan and Dan Harrigan, both of Caribou; Caitlin Harrigan of Brighton, Massachusetts, and Lauren Harrigan, Eamonn Harrigan, Caitlin Malloy-Harrigan and Chris Grass, all of Portland, won the marathon relay.
The Dynamic Durost Duo, made up of Shane Durost and Anna Durost of Wallagrass, took first in the half marathon relay.
George Ferland of Stockholm was the overall winner of the one-mile kids’ fun run in 4:58.08, while Hannah Chartier of Fort Fairfield captured the victory for the girls in 6:21.7.
This story was corrected at 2:35 p.m. on Sept. 21, 2017, to reflect the correct order of finish in the women’s overall division. Rebekah Thornton of Portland was the runner-up in 4:05:31.3 and Stephanie Ramirez of Cambridge, Massachusetts, finished third in 4:35:47.3.