SALISBURY — “Bitter” was the word of the day yesterday when 1,010 runners hit the streets in Salisbury Beach to ring in 2014 in the Hangover Classic.
Temperatures settled in the low-20s for the 33rd edition of New Year’s Day 5K and 10K races that start on the Salisbury Beach boardwalk, and for most runners, finish with a beer in the Carousel Lounge. A steady headwind proved to be the major obstacle for runners, who generally came away talking about the strong winds and the slow finishing times.
Newburyport resident Scott Dowsett, a 25-year-old who works at Riverside Cycle Biking, won the 5K in 17:19.56. He opened with the lead pack for the 10K and found himself all alone at the turn when the races split onto separate courses.
“I thought I’d be under 17 (minutes), but it was cold and windy out there,” Dowsett said. “I ran under 16 (minutes) two times last year. This is the first (Hangover Classic) I’ve really been around to do.”
Amesbury’s Larry Fowle, 31, placed second in 18:02.66. Derry, N.H., resident Paul Doe, 53, was third in 18:17.87.
Perhaps the most impressive performance in the 5K came from the female champion, 18-year-old Alexa Pelletier. The Hampton, N.H., resident and 2013 Winnacunnet High graduate placed fourth overall in 18:27.74. Pelletier, who won a New Hampshire high school state cross-country championship as a senior at Winnacunnet, is now running at the University of Rhode Island.
The battle for the 10K title turned into a two-man race between Groveland’s Garry Cuneo, 28, and Westford’s Chris Mahoney, 36. The younger runner prevailed down the stretch, finishing in 33:57.12. Mahoney crossed the line in 34:04.17. Ashland’s Marc LeBlanc, 33, was third in 34:23.74.
Cuneo is in the midst of putting together as good a winter road-racing season as anyone in the area. He also won the Pentucket Pride 5K on Dec. 1.