CAPE ELIZABETH — Jeff Caron gets paid to talk running.

The former Auburn resident, who enjoyed a stellar long-distance running career at both Edward Little High School and the University of Maine, has the perfect job with the Greater Boston Running Company.

“I love it because it’s something I know, and it comes second-nature to me,” Caron said. “People pay me to talk about it.”

Running quick times in the Beach to Beacon 10K has also become second-nature for Caron. While roughly a minute slower than his best time on the 6.2-mile Cape Elizabeth course, Caron’s time was easily fast enough to lead the local running contingent competing Saturday in the record field of 6,000 runners.

“It wasn’t too bad,” Caron said. “I knew based on my training for the last six weeks that I was kind of in a down cycle. I wanted to run well, but I knew it wouldn’t be a PR. I just wanted to run consistent and have fun out there.”

Caron’s time of 31:54 was good for 21st place, three spots in front of women’s champion Irene Limika of Kenya. Tyler Jasud of Rumford was the next fastest Maine runner, placing 40th in 32:55.

Running the Beach to Beacon is a yearly endeavor for Caron, who estimates he has competed in eight or nine of the 12 races. He said that no matter where he is living or what kind of shape he is in, the race is always on his summer must-do list.

His current residence of Watertown, Mass., made returning to Maine easy, even if he wasn’t in tip-top shape.

“This race helps me get the best out of myself,” Caron said.

Caron, 26, says he finds the prospect of running a marathon enticing, but he is in no hurry to jump up in distance in the immediate future.

“I know it’s going to come. I know it’s in my future,” Caron said. “I want to try to do a good half marathon before I jump up to a full marathon. I want to focus on the 5K and 10K more because I know I have a lot of unfinished business there.”

Ivey’s new approach

Mandy Ivey of Paris placed fourth in the women’s division in last year’s race, but it was a costly effort.

It cost her most of her junior season of cross country at Colby College, when she hit the proverbial wall and was forced to shut down before the end of the season.

With her senior year approaching and now the captain of the White Mules cross country team, Ivey took a different approach for this year’s race. 

Ivey, 21, treated it more as a training run. While this year’s time was nearly two minutes slower (39:08), Ivey was pleasantly surprised to learn that she was back in the top five in the Maine women’s division.

It promises better things ahead for the former Oxford Hills High School champion.

Around the course

James Kwambai, the third fastest marathoner in history when he ran a 2:04:29 last spring in Rotterdam, appeared to lack the foot speed needed to stay with the leaders for the entire distance. Kwambai dropped back and finished ninth in 28:55. … Gov. John Baldacci competed Saturday. The governor was timed in 55:21, which placed him 2,067. … The Beach to Beacon hit some significant milestones this year. Joan Vecchio of Morris Plantation became the 50,000th finisher in the history of the race. With a record 5,613 finishers this year, the most ever for a Maine road race, the race also celebrated its 45,000th finisher in Adam Potter of Wells, who was this year’s 260th finisher. … According to race organizers, Drue Rowean of Cape Elizabeth recorded the 300,000th mile in race history. … Maine Handicapped Skiing was awarded $30,000 as this year’s race beneficiary. Several athletes from the organization competed in Saturday’s race. … Despite forecasts to the contrary, the race maintained its perfect record of not raining at the finish line. It did rain at the start of the 2004 race, but ended before the runners reached the halfway point.

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