CAPE ELIZABETH — Lisandro Berry-Gaviria liked everything about the third annual Beach to Beacon boys’ and girls’ high school mile Friday.

There was the morning press conference with elite runners. There was the big crowd watching the race. There was the prestige. And there was the winning.

Berry-Gaviria, who will be a junior this fall at Mt. Ararat High in Topsham, won the Beach to Beacon boys’ mile in a course-record time of 4:33.7, coming back in the final 150 meters to surge past Griffin Allaire of Wells.

Helen Shearer, who is going to be a junior at Hampden Academy, also set a course record in the girls’ mile. She was third after the first loop but came on strong to win in 5:24.1, beating defending champ – and former record holder – Lily Horne of Freeport.

It was a hot, humid, draining race for the 18 boys and 13 girls participating. But as Berry-Gaviria said, “It could have been worse. At least it wasn’t raining.”

The event was quite eye-opening for the runners, especially the first-timers. It included a national anthem singer, individual introductions, a large crowd of fans and a couple of well-known runners – Molly Huddle and Ben True – starting the race and then presenting medals.

“It was an awesome experience,” said Berry-Gaviria, a first-time runner. “I’m so glad I did it.”

Shearer, who did not run the race last year, was an underdog, wearing bib No. 7. She was third – behind Ashley Irby and Horne – after the first loop on the Fort Williams course and took the lead with about 300 meters to go.

“I just wanted to run my hardest and push myself,” said Shearer. “I just knew I wanted to go out and give all I had or I wouldn’t be happy with myself.”

Irby, who is from Bermuda, went out fast and Horne thought to herself, “I better go out fast, too.” But she was cognizant of other runners right behind them, including Shearer.

Horne caught Irby at the top of the hill leading into the final stretch.

“Then Helen passed me and surged,” said Horne. “It was awesome. She just took off and it was like, ‘Whoa!’ It was pretty impressive.”

Horne said she used last year’s win as a confidence boost going into the high school season. Berry-Gaviria said much the same.

“More than anything, this is more of a beginning,” he said. “It’s such an awesome event … We get a big fuss made over us. It’s such an awesome race.”

Berry-Gaviria was seeded first in the race and took off fast. But Allaire, who was third behind Berry-Gaviria and Deering senior Alex Troxell after the first loop, caught up with them.

At the top of the hill, with about 600 meters to go, Allaire took the lead. “He made a hard move and was leading until about 200 to go,” said Berry-Gaviria. “Then I passed him.”

“I tried to make my move at the end of the hill. I came in with that plan,” said Allaire. “The first lap I just wanted to stay close.

“I was pushing hard and he came at me. I was just trying to stay ahead of him but he’s pretty good.”

For the runners, this was a different experience and certainly not one they will soon forget.

“It’s fun,” said Shearer. “I’ve never been to a big professional race like this. So I was really excited to come and I’m really excited to see all the runners tomorrow from across the seas. I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

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