Vineyard runners took home top medals in the second annual Gay Head 10K held Sunday morning in Aquinnah.
Edgartown native Jamie Smadbeck crossed the finish line first with a time of 40:18.
Reaan Steenkamp, 47, of Vineyard Haven, completed the race in 41:38, securing second place.
Another Vineyard Haven resident, Paul Vertefeuille, 50, followed closely behind, with a time of 41:45.
Lianne Swanson, 24, of Somerville finished first for the women with a time of 42:08.
She was followed closely by Nichole Roczniak, 23, who turned in a time of 43:30.
The race started in the Aquinnah circle, then proceeded down the hill past the Aquinnah Cultural Center onto State Road, turning right on Moshup Trail, before leading back to the Cliffs. The course is the equivalent of 6.2 miles.
Runners took off just after 10 a.m. beneath the watchful eye of the Gay Head Light, an iconic brick lighthouse perched atop eroding cliffs.
The self-proclaimed “race against time” is part of a broader fundraising effort to raise $3 million to move the lighthouse away from the cliffs’ edge.
An alumnus of the regional high school cross-country team, Mr. Smadbeck, 27, participated with his fiancee, Navine Nasser-Ghodsi. They wore matching blue shirts in memory of Ms. Nasser-Ghodsi’s mother, Mona, who recently died of lung cancer.
“Miles for Mona,” the T-shirts read.
“We wear them whenever we run,” Mr. Smadbeck said.
This year, the race was officially measured and certified by USA Track & Field. And NPR provided in-kind sponsorship by broadcasting a promotional message on the radio.
The course was strenuous with strong winds in some places, runners said, but they praised the ocean views and the clear blue sky.
“I really enjoyed it the whole way,” said Catherine Cherry, a seventh grader at the Edgartown School who ran in hot pink leggings and earned a third-place spot in the under-19 age group.
It was her first 10K, and she spent the race looking at the person in front of her, she said, and watching for snakes, which she hates.
Catherine crossed the finish line in just under 55 minutes, beating her mother by 15, she said.
“I can’t keep up,” said her mother, Kimberly Kirk. “She doesn’t waste time with me.”
Catherine was the youngest of 188 participants registered for the race this year, compared with 224 runners last year.
“Last year was just an amazing race, and this year turned out to be wonderful as well,” said race co-director Martha Vanderhoop. She said volunteers turned out from all parts of the Island, including members of the cross-country team who manned the water stations throughout the course.
“It’s ended up being a real community event,” she said.
The Rotary Club, which held a bike race on Saturday, donated half of their profits to the cause.
Hosting the race in October means Islanders with busy summer lives are free to participate, she said.
In the future, she hopes the race will become a destination for avid runners.
The race will outlive the lighthouse relocation effort, she said, and future race proceeds will go towards maintenance of the landmark.
A recreational runner herself, Ms. Vanderhoop has not yet entered as a participant.
“It would be really fun,” she said. “Maybe next year.”