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Boston couple make good on wedding gift, finish first in annual Loop Run

8.8K Loop Run winners Lexi Abel and Joshua Accomando send out
8.8K Loop Run winners Lexi Abel and Joshua Accomando send out 'congrats' to Abel's mother and soon-to-be stepfather hours before the elder couple's wedding, and on the heels of the younger couple's first place sweep, Aug. 16.
— image credit: Scott Rasmussen

As far as wedding gifts go, theirs has to be a first.

Not only did Joshua Accomando and Lexi Abel both finish first in the Friday Harbor 8.8K Loop Run, in their respective divisions, men’s and women’s, but by doing so they fulfilled a promise they made to Abel’s mother, Susan Hyde, and soon-to-be stepfather, Jay Lien, on the eve of the elder couple’s wedding.

Pillow et alWhich, by the way, was set to begin only about six hours after the Boston-area couple crossed the finish line, respectively, at the Friday Harbor fairgrounds, Saturday, Aug. 16. After catching their breath, the two avid long-distance runners were last seen sprinting away from the fairgrounds, headed for the shower, no doubt.

“We told them we were going to win it for them,” the 32-year-old Abel said.

“We looked at the times from earlier races and we thought we could do it,” Accomando added.

And did it, they did. But only by a hair’s breath.

In fact, while Abel completed the 5.4-mile course in 36 minutes, 47 seconds, and well ahead of her closest competitor, two-time reigning Loop Run women’s champ Laura Newcomb, at 38:02, 29-year-old Acconando kept up his end of the bargain with a desperate last-second dash, crossing the finish line only three seconds ahead of second-place finisher Chris Kamykowski, in 33 minutes flat.

Kamykowski expected as much. The 25-year-old ceramic artist, who relocated to Orcas Island from Youngstown, Ohio, only three months ago, heard the steady sound of Accomando’s footsteps over the entire length of the course.

“I could hear him breathing so I knew he was right there,” Kamykowski said. “I can’t really sprint, so I decided to hold the hardest pace I could for as long as I could and see what happens.”

Accomando was quick to credit Kamykowski for setting the pace.

“He did all the work,” he said.

Abel and Accomando aren’t the only couple to make a strong showing at the 37th annual 8.8K Loop Run. San Juan Island’s Rachel and Brian Goodremont, finishing third and fifth in their respective divisions, were the first islanders to cross the finish line, at 39:43 and 36:16, respectively.R Goodremont

Stakes were high and competition fierce at the top of the field, but the bulk of the 185-or-so Loop Run participants paid little mind to the ticking of the clock.

Tacoma’s Travis Holmgren completed the 5.4-mile course in 1:10:55, with 3-year-old daughter Claire, in a stroller, along for the ride. Not quite par for the course for the 42-year-old, who generally jogs three miles to stay in shape, but sans the stroller. They took a prolonged break at a water station along the way.

“I was trying to keep up with my sister at the start,” Holmgren said. “It’s a bit harder with a stroller, to be honest. But it was a great experience and I’ll definitely come again next year.”

San Juan Island’s Linn Motko frequently walks the 5.4-mile course just for fun. Though she feels no need to hurry along, participating in the annual Loop Run is a good way for the 74-year-old to sharpen her focus, if only for a day. She strolled across the finish line in 1:20:19, second overall in the women’s 70-74 age division.

“I’m not getting older, I’m getting better,” she said. “I was a minute faster this year, and 15 minutes faster than the year before that. But back then I got distracted by blackberries along the way. I don’t do that anymore.

For 8.8K Loop Run results, visit, www.islandrec.org.

 

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