At times it may have felt more like a swim meet. But 100 determined runners sloshed through showers on rain-slick pavement Saturday to complete the eighth race in the Westport Summer Road Runner Series -- a challenging 8.4-mile race along the hills and dales above the beach area.

Tom Harding, of Westport, won his first Road Runners race of the season, beating the field back to Burying Hill beach in 51:28.

Harding finished more than two minutes ahead of the runner-up. But running in this season's nastiest conditions, he was more than seven minutes off the course record of 42:51 set by Bob Hensley, of Milford, in 1980.

More Information

This week's race When: Saturday, Aug. 25, 8 a.m. Where: Start and finish at Compo Beach, Compo Beach Road. Distance: 9.3 miles Course record: 49:59, set in 2001 Registration: 7:30 a.m., wooden pavilion near volleyball courts Parking: Beach parking lot Information: www.westportroadrunners.org

Stephen Marsalese, of Rye Brook, N.Y., was second with a time of 53:34. Westport's David Allen was third in 55:29.

Only two races remain in the 10-race Saturday series -- this week's 9.3 mile race and the 10-mile finale on Sept. 1. Each week during the series, the distance grows longer and the course more challenging.

For the 42-year-old Allen, Saturday's race marked his seventh top-10 finish in as many races this season and equaled his season-best third- place finish in this year's opener, a 2.3-miler from and back to Staples High School.

In Grand Prix scoring for the entire series, Allen added to his leads in the men's Master's Division and mean's overall points.

Dorian Kail, 44, of Westport, was the first woman to splash to the finish line Saturday, holding off a pair of challengers on her heels. Her time of 1:02:48 was 17th overall.

Deirdre O'Farrelly, of Westport, was just 24 seconds behind, at 1:03:12, 18th overall. Alisa Ryan, of Fairfield, was third in the women's division at 1:03:28, only 40 seconds behind the women's winner.

Other Westport-Weston residents who finished in the top 10 were Josh Lander, sixth in 57:20, Roger Baxley, ninth in 59:59, and Matthew Spiegel, 10th in 1:00:23.

This week, the challenge grows marginally tougher, with nearly a mile added to last week's distance. The 9.3-mile course starts and finishes at Compo Beach, with hills testing runners in between.

The record for the 9.3- mile run of 49:59 was set by Tom Harding, of Westport, in 2001. The women's record of 1:01:20 was set by Emily Williams, of Norwalk, in 2008.

The Road Runners series -- marking its 50th season this summer -- is sponsored by the Westport Parks and Recreation Department and is open to all runners. Entry fees for runners not registered for the entire series are $5 for Westport residents, $8 for nonresidents.

Entry forms are available at the parks and recreation offices in Longshore Club Park, at www.westportroadrunners.org and at the registration desk each race morning.

Grand Prix point leaders

Grand Prix point leaders through seven races:

Men's divisions

Junior: Nathyn Valazquez, 10.

Open: Luke McCambley and Piotr Kostyk, 6.

Sub-Masters: Josh Lander, 11.

Masters: David Allen, 19.

Grand Masters: Paul Greenberg, 17.

Veteran: Bob Hermesch, 13.

Grand Veteran: Bob Greenblatt, 18.

Overall: David Allen, 50.

Women's divisions

Junior: Dawn Hubbell, 8.

Open: Riki Smolen, 9.

Sub-Masters: Tanya Cooke, 8.

Masters: Mary Dolan-Zengo, 15.

Grand Masters: Dorit Heimer, 12.

Veteran: Deb Sylvestro, 15.

Grand Veteran: Norma Minkowitz and Sandy Lefkowitz, 12.

Overall: Mary Dolan-Zengo, 48.

For complete results of last week's race, visit www.westportroadrunners.org.