Anniversary edition

Gomez celebrates 20th Waldoboro Day 5K with record-setting run

Former race director Sprague second, Jones first female finisher
By Ken Waltz | Jun 19, 2017
Photo by: Holly Vanorse Spicer Runners, including Darren Winchenbach (112), Cameron Leach, left, Elizabeth Jones (105) and Majed Awamleh (124), take off during the start of the Waldoboro Day 5-Kilometer Road Race on June 17. It was the 20th anniversary of the event.

Waldoboro — Robert Gomez, one of the state's premier distance runners and Waldoboro native, obviously loves to come home on the run.

It does not matter that his hometown has some of the toughest, hilliest terrain in the Midcoast.

There is something about this familiar area that simply brings out his best.

That was the case again on Saturday morning, June 17 as Gomez returned home to obliterate the Waldoboro Day 5-Kilometer Road Race record and stash a cool $100 cash in his pocket for his troubles.

Click for photos from this event.

Waldoboro Day celebrated the 20th anniversary of the 3.1-mile race/walk on a new course on Saturday and, despite the peaks and valleys of the downtown area course, Gomez bolted to first overall in a blistering 16 minutes and one second.

The previous best record on a 3.1-mile course around the downtown area was 16:33 set by Evan Graves of Bar Harbor in 2003.

Many former winners returned to participate in this year's event. In fact, Jeff Sprague, a former director of the event, returned to finish second in 18:48.

Gomez is 33 years old and lives in Windham, while Sprague is 34 and lives in Portland. Gomez became the first person to win the race three times.

The first female among the 45 finishers was Elizabeth Jones, formerly of Waldoboro and now of Manchester, N.H., as the 32-year-old placed 11th overall in 23:06.

"Our top three runners were all Waldoboro natives, and it was great to see them all come back to their hometown to tackle this new course," said Lucas McNelly, one of the race organizers. "This was one of the biggest fields Waldoboro Day has ever seen and we hope to grow it even more next year."

McNelly said the Moody's Diner whoopie pies offered to participants near the end of the course were a big hit.

Borealis Breads also gave out the "Loafing Around" award to the final runner. Mary Lester, 58, of Sudbury, Mass. won a loaf of Borealis bread every month for a year.

McNelly and Jake Newcomb took over directing duties for the event, sponsored by First National Bank, from George Gould.

McNelly, Newcomb and others organizers implemented significant plans, including inviting previous first-place finishers to take part and a chance for someone (cue Robert Gomez) fleet of feet to win a $100, offered by the Jojoba Company, if they broke the fastest time recorded on the many different 3.1-mile event courses over the years.

That is a challenge Gomez accepted and conquered.

"It's one of the longest-running races in the area and we're trying to modernize it a little bit this year," McNelly said.

McNelly said the new course was flatter (so states Google Maps) and was designed to give runners a tour of the town. Traditionally, the Waldoboro Day 5K courses have been some of the area's most challenging because the downtown area has plenty of hills and valleys.

As the event website states: "Look: there's no easy way to run in Waldoboro. Waldoboro is a town built on hills. Lots of hills. Even the flat stretches have hills. We felt that a race on a day that celebrates Waldoboro should embrace what makes the town special. So there's going to be hills. You'll be stronger for it. But, there's fewer than last year (at least, according to Google Maps) and it ends on a long downhill. We're not monsters."

With Gomez winning for the third time, two people now have won the race twice — Garrett Martin and Hugh McLean.

The previous winners of the Waldoboro Day 5K were: 2016 — Cameron Leach, 17, Warren; 2015 — Daniel Bubar, 17, Waldoboro; 2014 — Mason Vermilion, 20, Waldoboro; 2013 — Tom Kennedy, 25, Waldoboro; 2012 — Grant Sorterup, 47, Waldoboro; 2011 — Gomez, 27, Saco; 2010 — Pat O’Donnell, 19, Warren; 2009 — Joshua Anderson, 18, Washington; 2008 — Henry Harding, 18, York Harbor; 2007 — Martin, 37, Bremen; 2006 — Steve Reed, 58, Wiscasset; 2005 — Martin, 35, Bremen; 2004 — Ken Gowell, 25, Newton, Mass.; 2003 — Graves, 21, Bar Harbor; 2002 — Randy Swormstedt; 2001 — No race; 2000 — Gomez, 16; 1999 — Tom MacGregor, 40 (17:50); 1998 — McLean; and 1997 — McLean.

The individual results from this year's 5K, with place, name, age, residence and time listed, were: 1, Gomez, 33, Windham, 16:01; 2, Sprague, 34, Portland, 18:48; 3, Darren Winchenbach, 35, Saco, 20:39; 4, Chris Shelmerdine, 18, Warren, 20:56; 5, O'Donnell, 26, Warren, 21:06; 6, Rick Chalmers, 55, South Portland, 21:10; 7, Tyler Bowman, 16, Washington, 21:45; 8, Cameron Leach, 18, Warren, 21:46; 9, Justin Laverriere, 28, Lisbon, 22:41; 10, Richard Bissett, 43, Waldoboro, 23:01; 11, Elizabeth Jones, 32, Manchester, N.H., 23:06; 12, Donald Mansius, 58, Appleton, 23:17; 13, Ronald Stevenson, 45, Thorndike, 23:25; 14, Katie Daggett, 49, Washington, 24:09; 15, Yannick Price-Prevot, 23, Waldoboro, 24:14; 16, Lisandro Gaviria, 15, Bowdoinham, 26:02; 17, Sarah Kirn, 45, Cumberland, 26:18; 18, Susanna Norwood-Burns, 40, Nobleboro, 27:28; 19, Amy Hinkley, 45, Waldoboro, 27:35; 20, Emily Maynard, 28, Philadelphia, Pa., 27:47; 21, Patricia Leach, 45, Warren, 27:49; 22, William Hinkley, 44, Waldoboro, 27:50; 23, John Clifford, 68, Waldoboro, 27:59; 24, Majed Awamleh, 43, Bremen, 28:37; 25, Shannon Martin, 65, Lincolnville, 29:24; 26, Art Warren, 82, Camden, 30:21; 27, Sheila Libby, 30, Waldoboro, 30:48; 28, Austin Adams, 27, Philadelphia, Pa., 30:49; 29, Dylan Burmeister, 10, Nobleboro, 30:58; 30, Jeffrey Burmeister, 42, Nobleboro, 30:59; 31, Linda Poli, 52, Waldoboro, 34:34; 32, Sheila Libby, 30, Waldoboro, 34:34; 33, Abigail Hilt, 25, Warren, 36:35; 34, Paige Bossow, 41, Waldoboro, 37:05; 35, Johnny Kosnow, 62, Waldoboro, 37:16; 36, Ellen Spring, 64, Thomaston, 37:39; 37, Anita Stenehjem, 27, Spokane, Wash., 38:00; 38, Garrett Stenehjem, 30, Spokane, Wash., 38:01; 39, Karen Quinn, 52, Topsfield, Mass., 42:59; 40, Ted Quinn, 52, Topsfield, Mass., 43:03; 41, Franki Delaney, 31, Augusta, 56:47; 42, Mary Ellen Barnes, 65, Wiscasset, 56:48; 43, Maryfran Johnson, 63, Stow, Mass., 57:42; 44, Julia King, 63, Ridley Park, Pa., 57:43; and 45, Mary Lester, 58, Sudbury, Mass., 57:44.

Runners, including Jeff Sprague, left, Pat O'Donnell, middle, and Robert Gomez, in Medomak Valley shirt, among others, take off at the start. (Photo by: Holly Vanorse Spicer)
Pat O'Donnell. (Photo by: Holly Vanorse Spicer)
Karen Quinn, left, and Ted Quinn. (Photo by: Holly Vanorse Spicer)
Mary Lester, left, Maryfran Johnson, middle, and Julia King. (Photo by: Holly Vanorse Spicer)
Franki Delaney and her canine companion. (Photo by: Holly Vanorse Spicer)
Robert Gomez, the first-place finisher and new course record holder. (Photo by: Holly Vanorse Spicer)
Robert Gomez, the first-place finisher and new course record holder. (Photo by: Holly Vanorse Spicer)
Rick Chalmers (107), Chris Shelmerdine, left, and Cameron Leach, right, among another. (Photo by: Holly Vanorse Spicer)
Justin Laverriere. (Photo by: Holly Vanorse Spicer)
Ronald Stevenson. (Photo by: Holly Vanorse Spicer)
Donald Mansius. (Photo by: Holly Vanorse Spicer)
Elizabeth Jones, the first female finisher. (Photo by: Holly Vanorse Spicer)
Yannick Price-Prevot. (Photo by: Holly Vanorse Spicer)
Katie Daggett. (Photo by: Holly Vanorse Spicer)
Lisandro Gaviria. (Photo by: Holly Vanorse Spicer)
Sarah Kirn. (Photo by: Holly Vanorse Spicer)
Susanna Norwood-Burns. (Photo by: Holly Vanorse Spicer)
Patricia Leach. (Photo by: Holly Vanorse Spicer)
William Hinkley. (Photo by: Holly Vanorse Spicer)
Majed Awamleh. (Photo by: Holly Vanorse Spicer)
Shannon Martin. (Photo by: Holly Vanorse Spicer)
Art Warren. (Photo by: Holly Vanorse Spicer)
Sheila Libby. (Photo by: Holly Vanorse Spicer)
Dylan Burmeister. (Photo by: Holly Vanorse Spicer)
Ted Quinn. (Photo by: Holly Vanorse Spicer)
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