DERRY — It was the first of its kind and only the third marathon held in New England since the pandemic started last year.
On Sunday, Millennium Running's Cheap Marathon brought out hundreds of runners to area trail systems for the morning run.
Traditionally taking place in Salisbury, Massachusetts, the race event was relocated to Derry and Windham locations because of COVID-19 restrictions in the Bay State.
With new safety protocols in place, nearly 700 runners hit the Derry and Windham trails for either a full marathon or half marathon to raise money for the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester, the Friends of Derry Rail Trail Alliance and the Windham Rail Trail Alliance.
Crossing the finish line first in the full marathon was Erik Hinrichsen, 32, of Newton, Massachusetts, in 2:28:57, followed by runner-up Jason Griffiths of Plymouth, New Hampshire, in 2:30:51.
“I really wanted to break 2:30 today and I got it,” said Hinrichsen, describing it as an overall fun event, according to a statement.
For females, Courtney Hawkins, 25, of Hollis, took first place in the full marathon with a time of 2:53:08, followed by runner-up Sarah Heisner of Centerville, Massachusetts, at 2:58:50.
“It felt great,” Hawkins said after her win. “I just wanted to have fun. I had a blast.”
Hawkins was one of 41 athletes that finished under three hours. According to organizers, 109 of the 285 marathon finishers ran times that will qualify them for the Boston Marathon.
The flat course and ideal weather conditions also helped the 411 half-marathon finishers. The male half-marathon winner was Samuel Fazioli, 29, of Salem, clocking in at 1:08:07, and the female half-marathon winner was Megan Boucher, 30, of Manchester, with a time of 1:19:08.
“I think the athletes have been training through COVID-19 without a lot of racing experiences and have been eager to get to the starting line. This is one of the few opportunities they have had in over a year to do that,” said John Mortimer, founder and owner of Millennium Running.
His organization has created a safe, sustainable model that has enabled more than 14,000 runners to hit the pavement in various in-person racing events since June of 2020.
Founded in September 2010, Millennium Running operates 28 unique signature events each year. There are more than 30,000 finishers at Millennium events, annually. To date, more than $1 million has been distributed to local organizations and nonprofits from signature events. Full results are available at millenniumrunning.com/results-cheap-marathon-half-marathon-2021/38094.