CUMBERLAND — Chris Magill has had a history of top-three finishes at the Arnold Mills Road Race, an event he’s won a record five times.
The 38-year-old former St. Raphael Academy standout had every intention to make an attempt at a sixth crown in the 43rd edition of the Cumberland race Monday morning.
Those thoughts, however, were quickly erased after the first mile.
Bobby Hartnett, a onetime Cumberland High all-stater and Columbia University grad, built a sizable 10-second cushion over Magill and the rest of the chase pack at the mile mark and won going away under a sweltering sun on the Fourth of July. Hartnett toured the moderately-challenging four-mile course in a winning time of 20:23.
In the battle for second place, Magill out-dueled Sam Spencer, 20, of Seekonk, crossing the finish line in front of the North Cumberland Fire Station in 21:18. Spencer was third among the 508 finishers at 21:22.
“Right after the mile mark,” Magill admitted, “I knew that I was basically running for second at that point.”
Hartnett, a 2006 grad of Cumberland where he earned multiple all-state honors, becomes the first from CHS to earn the individual title at Arnold Mills since Jim Dandeneau captured the 1998 race on the original four-mile course.
“This is great,” he said. “I knew most of the people cheering for me so that was pretty cool. It was exciting.”
The 23-year-old runner, who graduated with a degree in Economics from Columbia in 2010, cruised through the opening mile in 4:58. By the two-mile mark, passed in slightly over 10 minutes, he was well on his way to victory.
“It was hot out there,” said Hartnett, who now resides in Manhattan and does financial operations for State Street Bank. “I just wanted to kind of be aggressive and get into a rhythm right away. I run for the New York Athletic Club and I live in Manhattan now. I have been doing some races and some good workouts so I knew I was in good shape.”
A couple of those races that gave Harnett added confidence for Monday’s event occurred last month. On June 19, he was seventh among more than 4,600 participants at the NYRR Portugal Day five-miler in Central Park, running the hilly course in 25:16. The following day, he was second in a field of 15,000 at the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge with a fast time of 17:42 for the 3.5-mile distance.
Hartnett was running Arnold Mills for the first time since placing 14th overall in the 2007 race.
“Last summer I was going to run it,” he said. “I went out too late the night before watching the fireworks and changed my mind the day of. I felt I could have contended last year. I wanted to be in good shape to be able to do it this year.”
Magill, who has had at least a dozen top-three finishers at the Cumberland race over the last few decades, was more than satisfied with his effort on Monday. Just two and a half months ago, he became the proud father of his third son, Copper Ross Magill.
“I can’t complain with second place,” he said. “Honestly, I always think there is a chance that I can win, even though I haven’t won in a while. I have never lost that attitude. My legs may have lost a little bit, but I still have the kick and experience to hold off.”
“I always run to win so I was chasing Bobby for a mile,” he continued. “My legs didn’t have it. My mind had it. Various guys passed me, but I always positioned myself for a chance to finish as a runner-up.”
Cumberland’s Yvonne Libano, a former Providence College runner, won her second straight women’s title, running just over six-minute pace with her time of 24:09, good for 27th overall. The 35-year-old Libano was followed across the line by two more Cumberland residents. Kim Maguire, 36, the 2008 champion, was second (37th overall) in 25:21. Another past winner, Katie Libby, 33, was third (43rd overall) at 25:35.
Libano, who lives on the course on Abbott Run Valley Road, was never challenged on the familiar roads. She hit the first mile around 5:50.
“I went out a little quicker than I thought, but it was helpful with all the people cheering me on,” she said. “I just kind of stayed with a pack of guys and held on.”
FINAL KICK: Utilizing the race as a quick tempo run for his summer training, last year’s champion Brian Doyle, a sophomore at Northeastern University, was ninth overall in 21:52…Anthony Gonsalves, a former Tolman High standout and winner of the first annual PFC Kyle Coutu 5K this past May, finished fourth with a time of 21:28.