Conor Welch of Allston wins the inaugural Gay Head 10K

The field of 189 runners were off at the start with the Gay Head Lighthouse at their backs. — Photo by Lisa Vanderhoop

The iconic Gay Head Lighthouse was the backdrop Sunday morning for the inaugural running of the Gay Head 10K road race in Aquinnah. Conor Welch of Allston was the race winner, clocking in at 36:05. Nearly 200 runners competed in the event.

In July, the Save the Gay Head Lighthouse Committee announced plans for the road race with the expectation the event will become an annual fundraiser to help maintain the lighthouse once the committee has raised the estimated $3 million needed to safely relocate the historic structure. Close to $12,000 was raised by the 10K, according to a preliminary count.

The race began at the top of Aquinnah Circle near the shops that line the pathway to the clay cliffs overlook. The runners headed around the circle, then down State Road past the town center, onto Moshup Trail, and then circling past the lighthouse to the finish line just beyond the Vanderhoop homestead.

Jeremy Alley-Tarter of Oak Bluffs, senior co-captain on the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School cross-country team, finished his first 10K event as the runner-up in 37:04. Sawyer Maher of Patterson, New York (37:26) was third. Locals Rene DaSilva of Vineyard Haven and Jose Alves of Oak Bluffs tied for fourth at the line in 38:36.

John Wichers of Arlington was sixth (39:06); followed by MVRHS harrier George Sykes, V.H., (7th, 39:20); Michael Koenig, Voorheesville, N.Y., (8th, 40:13); Reaan Steenkamp, V.H., (9th, 41:52); Luke Maher, Patterson, N.Y., (10th, 42:49); Lucas Kolm, New Castle, N.H., (11th, 42:50); and Daniel Gaines, Edgartown, (12th, 42:56).

Emma Mushnick of Vineyard Haven was women’s winner, placing 13th in 43:24. Women’s runner-up Cristina Wiley of West Tisbury, finished 20th in 46:19.

Although the race didn’t feature a marriage proposal at the finish line, as occurred in the Sullivan 5K in Oak Bluffs on August 24, newlyweds Chris and Darcie Winebarger of East Hartford, Connecticut, raced together on their honeymoon. The couple were engaged at the Gay Head Lighthouse.

Complete results of the race are available at