Hermin Garic, Yen Hoang capture Beach to Beacon wheelchair races

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Aug. 6—CAPE ELIZABETH — Hermin Garic had come close to victory in the TD Beach to Beacon 10K wheelchair division more than once. Finally, after a longer than usual wait, it was his turn.

Garic, 32, raced Saturday to his first Beach to Beacon victory, reaching Fort Williams Park in 23 minutes, 11 seconds, more than five minutes ahead of runner-up Jason Robinson. The Utica, New York, native posted his fastest time in the five years he's competed in Cape Elizabeth.

"I've been kind of jumbling around second and third for a while there with (12-time champion) Tony (Nogueira)," said Garic, who was second in 2016 and 2018 and third in 2019. "Just a bunch of mishaps and stuff that happened. I learned from it, and you've just got to keep pushing forward."

In the women's race, Yen Hoang took her first Beach to Beacon title with a time of 26:51. A native of Vancouver, Washington, who trains out of the University of Illinois, Hoang posted the second-fastest time in the event's history, two seconds off Katrina Gerhard's record of 26:49 from 2018.

Hannah Babalola was second at 32:41, and Benton's Sidney Knox was third at 1:06.23.

"I'm really just happy to be back at this race," said Hoang, 25, who raced in her third Beach to Beacon. "It's been a few years, and this is actually one of my favorite races. I was looking forward to just coming back and experiencing it."

Garic and Hoang each earned $1,000 for their victories.

There were only two competitors in the men's field, which drew nine athletes in 2018 and 2019 and seven in 2017, but Garic's pace would have been difficult to match. He learned from past frustrations, including crashes near the finish in both 2017 and 2018, the last of which cost him a victory over Nogueira.

This time, it was smooth going.

"It just comes from experience," he said. "I felt pretty good and in shape these last few years. I felt like I had a chance at the course record."

James Senbeta set the men's record of 21:46 in 2015.

Robinson, 19, saw his chances for victory dashed when one of his gloves started to come apart in the second mile.

"It was not my best race," he said. "I was unable to push at my best. ... Eventually, I had to slow my pace just so I could finish. Hopefully, better circumstances in the future."

Garic made sure he was prepared.

"I recorded this course on a GoPro for myself (in 2018)," Garic said. "I wanted to make sure I know all the ins and outs and the turns. I also did it for future racers who want to compete here. It's a beautiful course."

One of those racers was Hoang, who watched Garic's video. The studying paid off.

"I was getting in the zone," she said. "It was nice."

The Beach to Beacon course can be tricky, but Hoang had it figured out.

"I wanted to break the course record. ... I was trying to go for that," she said. "And I was really trying to work on chair control as well on the downhills, being comfortable going down those fast speeds, and the turns as well. I was just focusing on myself."