Shawn Miller and John Bursell are making a habit of this.
For the fourth time this summer, Miller and Bursell ran neck-and-neck with each other until Miller pulled away near the finish line to win Saturday's Douglas Island Half-Marathon.
Miller completed the 13.1-mile course in 1 hour, 15 minutes, 27 seconds, with Bursell second in 1:15:51. Tim Lear of Summit, N.J., took third place in 1:20:56, followed by Don Eagle in 1:24:39.
"He got me again," Bursell said. "He pulled away on the hill by Lawson Creek."
"We were within a stride of each other until the last kilometer or kilometer-and-a-half," said Miller, who runs for Western Washington University. "There's no way to predict the finish when John or I are involved. He would not relent."
Merry Ellefson finished fifth overall, posting a time of 1:25:19 as she broke her 1994 women's course record of 1:27:33. Sarah Rebick of Northfield, Mass., took second in 1:28:22, with Sharon Fisher third in 1:43:57 and Denise Grant fourth in 1:45:14.
"That was my PR (personal record) by two minutes," said Ellefson, who finished with Glenn Frick and just ahead of Al Graves. "I had a lot of help on the course. They knew I wanted to run a 1:25. I'm doing the Twin Cities Marathon (in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.) in October. It's hard because I didn't race last year while I was pregnant."
"She said we helped her? She helped us," Graves said.
One of the many students at the Bread Loaf School of English entered in the race, Lear said he ran his first half-marathon Saturday. He ran with Rebick and Andrew Delinsky of Cambridge, Mass., at the start, but pulled away from his friends and fellow students at the program run by Middlebury College and held at the University of Alaska Southeast campus.
"We were out late last night, and I was just supposed to drive Sarah and Andy to the start," Lear said. "I haven't run a race in five years, but I have a twin brother who runs competitively for a team in Boulder, Colo. He's always getting on me to get back into running."
"I was going with the pack for the first 2 1/2 miles, but then I decided I was going too fast and dropped back," Rebick said. "I didn't feel like being in that much pain."
Results are on the Scoreboard on Page B2.
Charles Bingham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.