AUBURN – Following a disappointing showing at the Beach to Beacon 10K earlier this month, Freeport runner Ethan Hemphill, who has been one of the better road racers in Maine for several years, said he was going to take a break, saving energy, he said, for some good fall races.

Apparently it didn’t last long.

“I lied,” joked Hemphill as he jogged back from the finish line of the eighth annual L/A 5K Bridge Run on Sunday.

Hemphill shattered the course record, beating Scott Brown’s 2003 course record by 30 seconds to claim the title in 15:14, taking home an extra $50 in the process.

“It’s kind of bittersweet,” Hemphill said. “Scott’s a good friend of mine, but that’s O.K.”

Hemphill’s short time off had more to do, he said, with his short memory than anything else.

Last year, Hemphill missed Brown’s mark by less than 10 seconds. This year, he took no chances.

“I wanted to give a good, hard effort today,” Hemphill said. “I ran really hard here last year and I was a little discouraged to come up a bit short, but this was a solid effort.”

So big was Hemphill’s victory that runner-up Pete Bottomley didn’t cross the line for another 1:14. Bottomley’s time was 16:28, three seconds ahead of Paul Johnson Jr. in third.

Tina Meserve’s women’s course record of 17:36, set in 2002, also fell. Kristin Barry of Scarborough made sure of that, breaking Meserve’s mark by 27 seconds, finishing the distance in 17:19.

“I was thinking about it from the start, and I was hoping to be under it,” said Barry, who had her two children in tow after cooling down.

“They offered a lot of support on that first bridge,” Barry said, pointing at her kids.

Barry’s good friend Sheri Piers placed second in 17:28.

Both records came in perfect running conditions – overcast skies, no wind and a moderate temperature.

“The conditions were ideal,” said Barry. “It was perfect for running fast.”

The course also played well into Barry’s strengths. A newcomer to the Bridge Run, Barry liked the variety of turns along the course.

“Sometimes, where there are long stretches of straight road, it gets boring,” said Barry. “It’s harder mentally that way, and there’s only that one hill along the way here, just before the second mile marker.”

Nearly 300 runners finished this year’s race, all finishing in less than 41 minutes on the course that runs from the parking lot at the Rollerdrome, across three bridges in downtown Lewiston/Auburn, and finishes near the start line in front of Dunkin Donuts.

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