A trio of cross-country runners took the top spots in the first annual Gay Head 10K held Sunday morning in Aquinnah.
Conor Welch, 25, of Allston, won the race with a time of 36:06.
Welch raced for the Bates College cross country team when he was an undergraduate and wore his alma mater’s jersey in the 10K.
In second place was Islander Jeremy Alley-Tarter, a senior captain on the regional high school cross country team. Alley-Tarter finished one minute behind Welch, in 37:05. Sawyer Maher, 16, of Carmel, N.Y., took third place with 37:26. Maher also races for his high school team.
Neither Welch nor Alley-Tarter had ever run a 10K before. The two were neck and neck for the first four and a half miles before Welch pulled away in the last stretch.
“It’s a little unique, this race distance,” Welch said. “So I don’t really have a [personal] record to compare it to.” Alley-Tarter said he had been aiming for a time in the 40-minute range. Both Welch and Alley-Tarter said the hilly route was challenging but scenic.
“The last two miles, just running along the ocean, were great,” Welch said.
The race began near the shops atop the Clay Cliffs and looped down State Road and around Moshup Trail, both showcasing beautiful fall foliage, before returning to the Aquinnah Circle. Runners jogged past the Gay Head Lighthouse at both the start and finish.
Organizer Martha Vanderhoop said more than 200 runners competed on Sunday. The racers included one couple, Chris and Darcy Winebarger of Hartford, who were on their honeymoon. The two had first gotten engaged at the Gay Head Light.
The 10K race is part of a larger fundraising effort to raise $3 million to move the iconic lighthouse away from the eroding cliffs. “It was a just a lot of fun,” Ms. Vanderhoop said.
“We wanted it to be something for Islanders, a fun fall event.”