Eastern States 20 Mile
Run for the Border
Half Marathon

SUN. Mar. 24, 2019
11:00 a.m.

Eastern States 20 Mile Run

Kev Molloy design

Eastern States 20 Mile


Run for the Border Half Marathon

Sunday, March 30, 2008 - 11:00 a.m.

2008 Race Report

Lucky 13 for the Eastern States 20 Mile

By Don Allison

Despite the seemingly endless winter in New England, the popularity of long distance running continues at a record-breaking pace, unimpeded by anything in its path. The news earlier in the month that the Boston Marathon had reached its entry limit of 25,000 caught some unsuspecting marathoners by surprise. It was not surprising then, that the Eastern States 20 Mile sported its biggest field ever, given that the race is situated as an ideal final long run before Boston, three weeks later.

That endless winter caused a small amount of consternation for organizers and runners, as nearly six inches of snow fell on the New Hampshire Seacoast two days before the race. By race day however, the roads were clear and the sun was out, albeit only warning the air into the upper 30s. A slight tailwind for much of point-to-point route made for pleasant running conditions at the 11:00 a.m. start, however.

As has been the case for the past several years, the Greater Boston Track Club made its presence felt at the front of the pack. David Bedoya and Brennan Bonner took control of the race from the outset, as 2007 winner Casey Caroll struggled to maintain contact and eventually faded from view. Averaging five and a half minutes per mile for the first half of the race, Bedoya tightened the screws at that point, leaving Bonner behind. Bedoya’s only company for the remainder of the race consisted of the back of the half marathon pack, which he had given a seven-mile head start. The Spaniard, now a graduate student at Northeastern, did not stick around to chat however, as he made a beeline for the finish, which he crossed in 1:48:46, the sixth-fastest time in the history of the race. Bonner was second, two minutes back, and Carroll fourth, two minutes behind Bonner. “I can’t believe it,” said Carroll after the race. “I ran two minutes faster than last year and got smoked.” On a side note, sixth-place finisher Jim Johnson became the 100th runner in the 13 years of the Eastern States 20 Mile to break two hours.

Tara Vance, a 24-year-old Tufts University graduate, led the women in 2:14:01. She won fairly easily over Falmouth, Maine’s Sherry Piers and teammate Marian Bihrle. Like many others in the race, Vance was using the race as a final test for Boston, in which she hoped to break three hours.

Others with Boston on the horizon included the inspirational Rick and Dick Hoyt, who completed the race once again, in preparation for their 26th Boston, and Bill Nawn, a 43-year-old from Bedford, New Hampshire, for whom running the route once was not enough. Nawn ran the 20 miles from the finish line to the start before the race, then competed with the others in the 20-mile, clocking an impressive 2:39. He plans to complete a similar out-and-back double at Boston as well.

The winners in the half marathon were Devin Jones (1:15:29) and Rebecca Butler (1:24:13), but the sentimental favorite by far was 80-year-old John Dicomandrea, who completed the 13.1-mile route in 2:20:32. That was good enough to not only win the 80 and over age group, but the 70 and over as well. Now in his fifth decade of coaching at Wakefield High School, Dicomandrea gets out for a daily 3.5-mile loop around Lake Quannapowit. As with the rest of the 800 runners, John was grateful for the pleasant conditions on this day, which made for fast running and enjoyable sightseeing along the Seacoast. In the end, the 13th edition of this event was perhaps the best yet. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, but a little bit of both never hurts.