AUGUSTA — Seth Hasty looked as if he were ready to run another 13 miles as he cruised across the finish line in first place at the 4th annual Kennebec River Rail Trail Half Marathon on Sunday morning.

The former Gardiner Area High School football lineman long ago transformed himself into a competitive runner and the Rail Trail has become a second home.

“I run this course every day,” Hasty said. “I know where the hills are.”

Hasty took is out slowly and waited for his fellow runners — 173 in all — to hit the first hill. “Then I just took off,” he said.

Hasty, 32, of Randolph, has run several marathons and half marathons, but this was his first on the Rail Trail. He finished the 13.1 miles in 1 hour, 21 minutes and 12 seconds. Including his warm-up and cool down runs, Hasty got in 18 miles of work Sunday, which will be logged into the 75 miles he averages each week.

“The second-place guy was real close until we hit the turnaround,” Hasty said. “I think they just went out too fast. I just ran a smart race.”

Wes Danforth finished second in 1:22:41 followed by Brian O’Connor in 1:25:26. Michelle Weissman, 29, of South Burlington, Vt., was the top female finisher, clocking in sixth overall in 1:27:56. Lawrence High track star Erzsie Nagy finished second in 1:29:20 followed by former winner Amy Oliver in 1:30:08.

“It was a nice day for running,” said Weissman, who finished fourth among women last year. “It’s a beautiful trail.”

The race began at Old Fort Western in Augusta and runners proceeded across the Calumet Bridge and down Water Street to the head of the trail. They followed the trail from there through Hallowell, Farmingdale and Gardiner, then back to the finish line at the Maine State Housing Authority parking lot.

In addition to the 173 half marathoners, 18 teams competed in the half marathon relay won by the team of Hanley-Goodwin and Pelletier in 1:42:01. Another 151 runners competed in the 5K race won by Caelan Lapointe, 19, of Hallowell in 18:42. Anne McKee, 13, was the top female finisher in 20:17.

Proceeds from the event go toward the upkeep and maintenance of the trail, which opened in 2001. An estimated average of 300 people per day use the trail to walk, jog and bike.

“We ended up with about 25 more people than last year,” race director Sarah Dunckel said. “We must have had 45 volunteers just giving their time because they love the trail. Because we’re trying to finish both ends of the trail, I think this is a pivotal year for us.”

Completion of the trail entails extending it to waterfront parks in Augusta and Gardiner.

“We’ve got a grant application to help us with this,” Dunckel said. “And we’re always trying to keep our eyes open for options to help us fund these things.”

Gary Hawkins — 621-5638

[email protected]


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