She loved the scenery. She hated the hill.
And what Meghan Jordan hated even more than that last hill in Saturday's Friday Harbor Loop Run, her first ever, was coming across the finish line well behind her sister.
"The worst part?" Jordan replied. "The hill at the end and losing to my sister"
She was not alone. In fact, every female runner, or walker, who conquered the 8.8K course (5.4 miles), 44 in all, finished well behind Laura Newcomb — for the second year in a row.
Newcomb, a New Jersey native, crossed the finish line in 37 minutes, flat.
Out of a field of 214 entries, the 24-year-old U of W grad student, at Friday Harbor Labs about six months out of the year to do research, finished sixth overall, about a full minute faster than her first-place finish in the women's division a year ago, her Loop debut.
Worst part of the run? Newcomb can't think of one.
"It's so much fun I brought my sister," she chuckled.
Jordan's husband Chris, stationed at Whidbey Island Naval Station, also made his debut at the 36th annual Friday Harbor 8.8K Loop Run.
Like the 27-year-old Whidbey couple, Patrick Kelly is no fan of heartache hill, even though, with four loop runs now to his credit, he knows what lies ahead. Still, hill or no hill, the 44-year-old Vancouver, Wash. resident catapulted across the finish line in 34:36 to finish first overall in the Aug. 17 event.
Kelly, who finished a tick or two behind the top three the last three years, credits the absence of swift runners in this year's run — not his speed — for a first-ever first place award.
"I think actually I was a little slower this time than last year," he admits.
Best part about the Loop Run?
"It's just such a beautiful place. You get to see the water a lot," said Kelly, who visits friends in the San Juans as often as possible in summer time. "You get to see all these great places and the people here are so nice. It's wonderful."
Friday Harbor's Aidan Anderson hadn't had as much time as he would have like to train. But the 17-year-old high school senior trailed Kelly across the finish line by only 43 seconds, just the same, finishing first in the 15-19 division, at 35:19, and in second place overall.
Like Anderson, 11-year-old Tyler Davis, with football and a host of summer activities to tend to, hadn't done as much road work as he would have preferred. But he had enough in the tank to take second place in the 10-14 age category, at 46:49, trailing first place finisher Jeremy Anderson, 38:19, by eight-plus minutes.
"I guess its a good time for me," Tyler said. Best part? "The end, that's when I get a burst of speed," he said.
Maeve Keller, age 7, completed the 5.4-mile course in 1:14:25, the swiftest time in her age bracket, under 10; Sarah Griffiths, the only other entry in that bracket, crossed the finished line in an elegant sounding time of 1:40:59.
Friday Harbor's Irina Bell, took second place in the women's division, at 40:22.
Friday Harbor swept the 45-59 categories, with Ross Lockwood (45-49), Paul Hopkins (50-55), and Clark Gilbert (56-59) each finishing first in their respective age brackets.
The only participant in the 75-and-over bracket, Friday Harbor road warrior Robert Warren, at age 81, crossed the finish in line in 1:04:04.
For complete results, visit wwwislandrec.org