NEWBURYPORT — Brian Crimmins had never run a road mile before. The former University of Buffalo cross country standout, a Providence resident who runs competitively for NE Distance, was wrapping up his season and wanted to finish up with something new and exciting. The High Street Mile, he figured, fit the bill perfectly.
As it turned out, the race was everything he hoped for and more.
Chasing down Boston Athletic Association star Jacob Thomson of Brookline in the home stretch, Crimmins won the 29th annual Winner’s Circle Running Club Newburyport High Street Mile in a photo finish, barely edging out Thomson by a fraction of a second in one of the closest finishes in the race’s history. Crimmins won with a time of 4:07.3, just ahead of Thomson’s 4:07.4 and about 11 seconds faster than the next closest competitor.
Though Thomson led most of the way, Crimmins was able to stay close enough to burst ahead over the final quarter mile. Crimmins, however, could not put his opponent away, and the two came into the finish line right besides each other.
“I thought I broke him but he ended up being right by my side the last couple of strides,” Crimmins said afterwards. “Awesome race, cool experience, I’ve never done a road mile.”
The two top finishers were just a handful of elite competitors who took part in Sunday morning’s race. On the women’s side, former University of North Carolina All-American Lianne Farber, now running for New Balance, easily took the women’s race, winning with a time of 4:33.
Farber, who trains under Newburyport’s Mark Coogan, was a first-time participant in the High Street Mile, though she has trained along the High Street route in the past. While she said she may have went a bit too fast given that she has some other big races coming up soon, she said it was hard not to go all out in such a great environment.
“I love it,” she said of the race. “I’m from a small town on Long Island that’s pretty similar to Newburyport so it reminds me of home.”
After Crimmins and Thomson, the next top finishers in the men’s race were Boston’s Ben Bosworth (4:18.4), Quincy’s Baidir Olivier (4:21.1) and former Newburyport High track star Sam Acquaviva (4:21.6). The top female finishers after Farber were Haverhill’s Allysen Eads (4:57), Bristol’s Caitlin Marino (5:01), Jamaica Plain’s Margaret Njuguna (5:02) and Brookline’s Michelle McKinney (5:04).
Manchester’s Marco Bussone, a rising freshman at Manchester Essex Regional High School who recently placed 12th in the 1,500 meters at the USATF Hersey National Junior Olympic Championships in Sacramento, California, was the top finisher in the High Street Mile Kids Race, winning in 5:08.8. He beat out last year’s winner Griffin White of Salisbury, who took second in 5:11.5, and Newburyport’s Ethan Downs (5:22.8).
Hampton’s Kate Burrus, a rising eighth grader at Hampton Academy, repeated as girls champion, winning in 5:49.0. She beat out Durham’s Haley Kavanaugh (5:55.5) and North Andover’s Anya Budzinski (5:55.6).