Wilson wins 4 on the Fourth

By Wayne E. Rivet
Staff Writer

Jonny Wilson was looking for a good “workout” as he prepares to run the Beach to Beacon 10K race in a few weeks.

Bridgton proved to be a great test.

Battling humidity and a tough climb on Mile 2, the 23-year-old from Falmouth won the 35th annual Bridgton 4 on the Fourth in 20:19.

“My goal was to come out here and give it a good effort,” said Wilson, who recently graduated from the University of Richmond. “Right now, I’ve been doing some heavy training. I used this as kind of a workout because my main goal is to train for the Beach to Beacon.”

Wilson was pushed by multi-Casco Days winner Richard Klauber, 21, of Thomaston, Conn., who placed second in 20:36. Christopher Harmon, 23, of Scarborough was third in 20:56.

Defending women’s champion Erica Jesseman eyed to set a new course record, but weather conditions put the brakes on the 22-year-olds’ hope.

“It’s a hard course,” she said. “You don’t realize that after the first mile, the rest is uphill. Halfway through it, I realized it was really hot and really muggy. It was not perfect conditions, but I felt pretty (poorly) in it too. My mind was telling me I can’t do this, but I was able to finish.”

Jesseman, a graduate of the University of New Hampshire, fell short of the mark of 21:56 set by Michele Hallet in 1987. The Scarborough runner finished in 22:11, which was better than her winning time of a year ago at 23:06.

Fellow Scarborough resident Kristin Barry, a former Bridgton race champ, was second in 22:42 while Sarah Rebick, 36, of Denmark was third in 24:16.

For complete race results, check The News’ website (www.bridgton.com) or the race’s website (www.fouronthefourth.com).

This Fourth marked the highest turnout in the race’s history as entries neared the 2,000 cap number. In all, 1,910 runners registered, while 1,850 finished on Depot Street. Race Director Jim Cossey noted that there were some no-shows.

2011 was packed with some interesting side stories including:

Another man’s run. Tom McNulty, 54, of Raymond was unable to run the local race, so he decided to run a four-miler thousands of miles away from home.

McNulty is on active duty with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. The chief warrant officer mapped out a four mile “out and back” course, which he ran with some fellow servicemen. To add the local flavor, Cossey sent a 2011 4 on the Fourth race t-shirt to  McNulty back on June 20.

McNulty ran his race on July 2 because of assigned duties on the Fourth.

“I ran the race this morning at 0445 with some members of my unit. I ran the four miles in 35:30, unofficially of course,” McNulty said in an e-mail to Cossey. “It was 80 degrees with a headwind of about 15 knots, not too bad since it was 100 degrees with sustained winds of 35 knots four hours later. Oh, what fun.”

Special guests. Five members of a Coast Guard cutter, based in Norfolk, Va., took part in the race, after arriving in Portland the day before.

Online, way to register. 1,847 runners had registered when the pre-registration race database closed out at noon on July 3.  Of these, 1,281 were online registrations, 117 were paper registrations (mailed in or dropped off), and 449 were campers.

During Race Day registration, 181 bibs were sold – including several known-in-advance no-shows.  Total registrations were 2028, and there were 68 no-show bibs left unused.  With only 1,998 bibs available to be sold/used, 30 no-show bibs were sold to runners. Available bibs ran out at approximately 7:40 a.m. 1849 racers finished the race.

The race offered for the first early pick-up of bibs and t-shirts for pre-registered runners on Sunday, July 3.  693 runners picked up their bibs on Sunday –– approximately half of the 1400 pre-registered (campers not included in this number) runners.  This substantially reduced the Race Day crowding race workers experienced in the past.  Early pick-up of bibs and t-shirts is clearly something Cossey will offer again in 2012 and subsequent years.

New records. New records include the most ever total registrations and finishers.  Another first for the race was the use of “net time” (time from crossing the start mat to crossing the finish mat) as the basis for finish placement.  In the past, only gun time was used for finish placement.  With the use of  “net time,” start pack delay time is eliminated.  Gun time is used for placement of the top five male and female finishers.

Last year, there were 1,757 finishers, a record.

Participants came from 33 different states and the District of Columbia and eight foreign countries.

Record stands test of time. It was 24 years ago when Colin Peddie arrived late for the 4 on the Fourth, but still managed to set the course record, 18 minutes, 46 seconds.

Although several elite runners have made strong bids to rewrite the race’s record book, Peddie’s name still holds the top spot.

Peddie, who still competitively runs, was the honorary starter for the 2011 Bridgton four miler. The University of Virginia grad now lives in Weston, Mass. and owns/operates six Marathon Sports stores.

“I really love what I do,” Peddie said as he walked from the starting line onto Main Street toward the finish line.

According to his company’s website, “Marathon Sports is a collection of individuals bound by a common thread: the love for all things that promote a positive, healthy lifestyle. We stand by the motto ‘keeping your life in motion.’ We believe that the act of movement — walking, jogging, running; any activity in which the human body is the vehicle — is a fundamental element of personal well-being. And we believe you should be able to do these things in comfort. This is why, for over three decades, we have been committed to making sure the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other is as easy as it sounds.”

Marathon Sports was founded in 1975, and went under the sole ownership of Colin Peddie since 1992. Today, the company employs 75.

Peddie looked forward to making his return to Bridgton, and he remains a little surprise that his record has stood the test of time, at least for now.

Other race notes. All available current year t-shirts were sold, and all but 14 of past-year t-shirts were sold.  The only ‘in-stock’ t-shirts left are 11 2009 cotton t-shirts of which 10 are youth medium and one is small, and three medium shirts from 2007.  The market in several dozen spare vintage t-shirts from as far back as the 1980s was brisk.

Opening with a different beat. During the pre-start ceremonies, a trio of local singers — Anne Polak and her daughters, Julie and Sarah Handspicker –– sang the seldom-heard fourth verse of the “National Anthem.”

Please follow and like us: