CAPE ELIZABETH – There’s something to be said for perseverance.

Alvetina Ivanova, who finished third at the TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon in 2004 and second in 2005, not only improved this year, she blew the field – and the course record – away.

Arms raised to a spectacular, nearly cloudless blue sky, Ivanova crossed the finish line of the 10-kilometer race at Fort Williams Park in 31:25.7, shattering the old mark set by Catherine Ndereba in 2001 by 7.1 seconds.

“This was (a) fast time,” Ivanova said in broken English as she accepted her award at the podium. “This was (my) best time. I am very happy.” Ivanova had every reason to be happy. Not only did she break Ndereba’s record, she shattered it. Edna Kipligat of Kenya, who finished second Saturday, was 57 seconds behind. Luminita Talpos of Romania was third in 32:26.3, and Susan Chepkemei, who won the race in 2004, was fourth at 32:39.1.

“I was not expecting the time at all,” said Ivanova.

Countrywoman and fellow top-10 finisher Tatiana Chulakh translated for Ivanova, who said she dreamed about her finish Friday night.

“I saw in my sleep that I finished in place No. 2,” Ivanova said. “I came in first instead.”

The Russian is in the process of shortening her competitive runs. In recent years, the former marathoner and half-marathoner has taken on more 10-kilometer races. She arrived in the United States last Thursday with fresh legs, electing to skip the Bix 7-miler a week earlier.

“This is (my) first year training only short distances,” said Ivanova. “I am special training just for that now, and I am not running marathons this year.”

For the rest of the women’s middle-distance running community, that might be a scary proposition.

Nyariki completes comeback

Tom Nyariki could easily have given up racing three years ago, and no one would have blamed him. The 1996 Olympian was the victim of a car-jacking in 2003, during which the Kenyan lost his right eye.

Undaunted, Nyariki returned to competitive racing last year at the TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon race. Last year, he finished third. This time around, Nyariki finished the job.

Pulling away steadily from both three-time defending champion Gilbert Okari and last week’s Bix 7-miler winner Lawrence Kiprotich, Nyariki posted a winning time of 27:47.5, 16 seconds better than Kiprotich and 21 better than Okari.

“Tom Nyariki is now back,” he said with a smile.

Nyariki, who wore his dark sunglasses to the podium, doesn’t run with those glasses, and said that his lack of vision in his right eye still causes problems sometimes.

“Sometimes when my leg is up, there is something,” said Nyariki. “It was something with my balance.”

Still, Nyariki ran his fastest time since his injury Sunday, and overcame some sneaky running by Oakri in the early going.

“He was trying to confuse (us),” said Nyariki.

Okari, who later divulged he had injured his hamstring in Mile 1, started weaving back and forth on the road between Miles 2 and 3.

“I was trying to create some space,” said Okari. “When he passed me, he told me, ‘Let’s go,’ but I couldn’t.”

Okari said that this was the first hamstring injury he could remember having.

Following the three Kenyans to the line were four more fellow countrymen, including road racing legend John Korir (fifth place) and former Beach to Beacon champion James Koskei (seventh).

Ed Moran, an NCAA track and field star who is starting to run in more road races, posted the best American finish, taking eighth place in 28:43.0, 55.5 seconds back of Nyariki.

“The event is brand new for me, and it’s a great atmosphere,” said Moran. “It’s a beautiful course, everyone seems to get into it, and it’s one of those things I came, and I decided I was going to put it on the line. I’m hoping that there’s a learning curve, in that I feel that it being my first ten thousand meter race, things are only going to go up.”

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