The TD Beach to Beacon 10K is many things. It’s an annual celebration of fitness and health, an opportunity for runners to set and achieve goals, to test themselves in the company of friends and family. For volunteers, it’s an opportunity to give back and make a difference. For a fortunate Maine charity, the race is a spotlight and a platform to tell their story. For world-class athletes, it’s a high-level, not-to-be-missed competition.
And for Joan Benoit Samuelson, the TD Beach to Beacon simply is a dream come true.
This year marks the special 20th running of Samuelson’s one-time dream, a reason to celebrate, to commemorate and to reflect.
An event now on the shortlist of iconic American road races was once merely a training route for a teenage girl growing up in Cape Elizabeth. Young Joan Benoit would later rise to running stardom at Bowdoin College, win the Boston Marathon and, in 1984, win Gold in the very first Olympic women’s marathon in Los Angeles.
But she never forgot her roots.
In the late 90s, anxious to give back to her community, she conceived the idea to stage a major, world-class road race in Cape Elizabeth. She took her dream to the higher ups at what is now TD Bank and found shared enthusiasm.
The race debuted in 1998 with 2,408 runners crossing the finish line. Joanie’s reputation within the running community, together with strong corporate support and a picturesque course, quickly elevated the stature of the race.
Famed race director Dave McGillivray of DMSE Sports also got on board from the start, adding polish and professionalism to the event. The TD Beach to Beacon was on the map – earning a reputation as a big-time race with small-town charm. As demand grew, the field steadily expanded and now fills in just minutes.
The most decorated and talented world-class athletes – think Catherine Ndereba and Khalid Khannouchi in the early years, Meb Keflezighi and Deena Kastor more recently – made regular appearances, charmed by the hospitality and the spurred by the strong competition.
In 2016, 6,336 runners from 15 countries, 43 states and more than 265 Maine cities and towns finished the winding, rolling, often breathtaking 6.2-mile coastal course
They are supported by more than 800 volunteers and cheered by thousands of spectators along the tree-lined streets and stunning ocean vistas and in Fort Williams at the finish, when the historic Portland Head Light, the most photographed lighthouse in the world, comes into view.
And there beyond the finish line, Joan Benoit Samuelson can be found greeting exhausted, satisfied runners with handshakes and hugs.
On Aug. 5, when the starter’s horn sounds along Route 77 for the 20th time, Samuelson will commemorate the special day by joining the field, her Field of Dreams.
Enjoy this look back – there’s still much more to come!
Special Events - Coming Soon!
TD Beach to Beacon Timeline | A year-by-year look back >
Past Champions | Check out past champions >
Year-by-year Category Winners | Check out the Year-by-Year Category Winners >
Top 10 Finishers | Who are the Top 10 finishers? >
Each year, the TD Charitable Foundation, the charitable giving arm of TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank®, provides a cash donation of $30,000 to a different Maine charity as a way to support and benefit the state.
The chosen organization also benefits from fundraising activities and opportunities and publicity through its association with one of Maine’s premiere sporting events.
The TD Charitable Foundation has now donated $570,000 to Maine charities over the 20-year history of the TD Beach to Beacon 10k Road Race.
Each Year, the TD Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race expands its environmental practices thanks to its great supporting sponsor, Fairchild Semiconductor and green consulting partner Athletes for a Fit Planet.
Together, they are building on our long-standing commitment to environmental and social responsibility.
In 2012, the TD Beach to Beacon 10K earned Silver certification as a sustainable event from the Council for Responsible Sport and in 2014 we earned Gold certification. In December 2016 we achieved the prestigious Evergreen status for our sustainability efforts and achievements.