CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine (August 5, 2017) – Mary Keitany of Kenya lowered her course record to win for a second straight year and Kenyan Stephen Kosgei Kibet held off Maine native and defending champion Ben True to claim the men’s title on Saturday at the special 20th running of the iconic American road race in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
Keitany (30:41) glided to victory in dominating fashion against a strong field, shaving four seconds off her 2016 record time. Purity Rionoripo of Kenya (31:00) finished second and Meseret Defar of Ethiopia (31:14) placed third. Decorated U.S. distance runner Shalane Flanagan (31:15) won the American-only category and placed fourth overall, setting a new American course record.
Kibet (27:54), who passed True (27:55) entering Fort Williams, withstood his late charge in a dramatic sprint finish. Kibet also won the 2015 race but missed the race last year when True, a crowd favorite who grew up in nearby North Yarmouth, became the first American ever to win the TD Beach to Beacon. Leonard Kiplomo-Barsoton of Kenya (27:59) rounded out the top three. True won the American-only category.
The fantastic finishes added to the lore of a road race that lived up to its reputation as one of the fastest and most competitive 10Ks in the world. But Saturday’s drama wasn’t confined to those races alone.
Race Founder and Olympic Gold Medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson, who joined the field for only the fourth time, recorded a 39:19 to set a new best American 10K time for a woman age 60 or over. Her performance Saturday came on the 33rd anniversary of her gold medal performance in Los Angeles at the first Olympic marathon for women. Samuelson ran the Cape Elizabeth course beside Deena Kastor, another legendary American runner.
And in the Maine Resident races, Jesse Orach (31:30.4) of Gorham, who was on his way to a repeat win, collapsed about 100 yards from the finish, got back on his feet and crossed the finish line with the aid of Rob Gomez (31:31.2) of Windham, who had been running behind him and gave up his opportunity to win a Maine title to instead help Orach cross in first. In the women’s race, Emily Durgin (34:43) of Standish unseated defending champ Michelle Lilienthal of Portland, who placed second (35:11).
Complete results are available at Cool Running.
The world-class athletes were among a record-setting 6,885 runners from 18 countries, 43 states and more than 270 Maine cities and towns who finished the winding, rolling 6.2-mile coastal course under cool but increasingly humid conditions.
The runners, who were pushed along by the enthusiasm and cheers from thousands of spectators who lined the course and filled the bleachers, also were treated to the sight of the race’s “Beacon” – the Portland Head Light, commissioned by George Washington in 1787 – draped with a mural of Samuelson. Each finisher as well received a medal to commemorate the 20th running of the race.
The TD Beach to Beacon (www.beach2beacon.org) is one of America’s iconic 10K road races, known for attracting the world’s best runners but also for its top-notch organization, community support and the involvement of Samuelson, who grew up in Cape Elizabeth training along the same roads and continues to inspire runners both in Maine and globally.
Charitable giving is an important component of the race. The 2017 beneficiary, Let’s Go!, is a nationally recognized program of The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center focused on increasing physical activity and healthy eating for children from birth to age 18. Let’s Go! (www.letsgo.org) received a $30,000 donation from the TD Charitable Foundation, the charitable giving arm of TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®, and further benefits from fundraising and publicity connected to the race. TD has now donated $600,000 to Maine nonprofits over race history while the race’s charity bib program has enabled those organizations to generate an additional $1.5 million and counting.
In addition to title sponsor TD Bank, other corporate partners who help make the TD Beach to Beacon possible are Nike, Hannaford, Poland Spring, MaineHealth, IDEXX, Northeast Delta Dental, L.L.Bean, WCSH6, Olympia Sports and Maine Magazine.
More than $90,000 in prize money was awarded on Saturday, with $10,000 to the winners in the men’s and women’s open races and payouts to the top 10 runners overall, courtesy of title sponsor TD Bank. Also included was a $23,000 purse for American men and women, sponsored by Dunkin’ Donuts, split evenly among the top five American men and women with a $5,000 top prize.
Mary Keitany’s payday also included – for the second consecutive year – a $2,500 course-record bonus from Northeast Delta Dental.
As she did a year ago, Keitany, 35, ran with the lead pack for the first half of the race before pulling away over the final two or so miles, finding a gear that her competitors just didn’t have. It’s been that way for the past year for Keitany, who’s been setting records and dominating fields everywhere she goes, including a new world record at the London Marathon (2:17:01) for an all-women’s race.
Keitany was joined by Purity Rionoripo, Meseret Defar, Shalane Flanagan and Wude Ayalew, the 2015 TD Beach to Beacon champ, in the lead pack over the first half of the race. But by Mile 4, only Rionoripo, 24, the winner of the 2017 Paris Marathon, was still hanging around. That’s when Keitany said her final goodbye.
Rionoripo held on for second while Defar, 33, a two-time Olympic gold medalist at 5000m, took third. Flanagan, 36, an Olympic silver medalist and the American 10K record holder, was able to shave 12 seconds off her American course record from her last visit to Cape Elizabeth in 2014, when she placed second overall.
Diane Nukuri, 33, a three-time Olympian for Burundi, placed a strong fifth (32:10), her fifth top-10 finish at the TD Beach to Beacon. Ethiopian Ayalew, 30, also running for her fifth time, took sixth (32:28), while Joyce Chepkirui of Kenya, winner of the 2013 TD Beach to Beacon and considered among the favorites, sustained an injury early on and did not finish.
Four Americans rounded out the top 10, led by 25-year-old Jordan Hasay (32:37), who broke the U.S. marathon debut record while finishing third at the 2017 Boston Marathon, and followed by Erin Finn (33:16), Sarah Pease (34:07) andMarci Klimek (34:14).
In the men’s race, Stephen Kosgei Kibetentered the race determined to again wear the laurel wreath after missing a chance to defend his 2015 title last year due to visa issues.
With Ben True also eyeing a second TD Beach to Beacon title, conditions were right for a classic road race duel. The two runners did not disappoint.
For much of the race, they formed half of the lead pack of runners that also included Kenyans Leonard Kiplimo-Barsoton and Stephen Sambu. Sambu eventually fell off the pace. When the trio reached the turn into Fort Williams, Kibet made a move, passing True for the lead. True patiently waited for a chance to overtake Kibet, but when he finally made his move, Kibet was able to fend him off.
Kibet, 30, was the runner up at the 2014 TD Beach to Beacon, finishing just ahead of True that year as well, before he returned to win in 2015, a year in which True was absent.
True, 31, a North Yarmouth native who lives and trains in West Lebanon, N.H., has now touched all levels of the podium in the elite race at the TD Beach to Beacon, notching a third-place finish (2014), a first (2016) and a second this year. In addition to $5,000 in prize money for placing second, True collected an additional $5,000 as the first American finisher.
After Kiplomo-Barsoton, Stephen Sambu, 29, of Kenya, finished fourth (28:16), with Clement Kiprono-Langat of Kenya in fifth (28:42). Abdi Abdirahman, 40, a four-time U.S. Olympian, placied sixth in 28:46, setting a new course record for the Masters Division, breaking Andrew Masai’s record 29:11 in 2000.
Americans Aaron Braun (29:00) and Jonathan Grey (29:10) followed in seventh and eighth, while Canadian Olympian Cameron Levins (29:24) and Tariku Bekele of Ethiopia, who won bronze at 10,000m at the 2012 London Olympics, rounded out the top 10.
In the Maine Resident category, Emily Durgin, 23, who missed last year’s race due to injury, finally broke through with a win after a second (2015) and a third (2013), curtailing defending champ and course record-holder Michelle Lilienthal’s quest for her third title in three tries. Tracy Guerrette, 36, of Saint Agatha, finished third (36:43), ahead of three-time champ Sheri Piers, 46, of Falmouth (37:25), who won the Masters title for the fourth year in a row.
The men’s side held all the drama. Defending champion Jesse Orach, 23, of Gorham, appeared to have the race won before he collapsed along the homestretch and struggled back to his feet. Rob Gomez, 32, of Windham, who has finished in the top five in the Maine category five times but has never won, saw Orach’s struggles and, rather than pass him by and win the race for the first time, stopped and helped him along, practically guiding him over the finish line in first, where Orach immediately collapsed into a heap before he was taken to the medical tent for treatment. Orach is the first repeat winner in the Maine man category since North Yarmouth's Ben True in 2008-09. Liam Simpson, 21, of Cape Elizabeth, placed third (32:22).
Other winners included: Masters Men – Abdi Abdirahman, 40, of Tucson, Arizona (28:45); Masters Women – Sheri Piers, 46, of Falmouth, Maine (37:25); Wheelchair Division, Men – Krige Schabort, 53, of Rome, Ga. (22:14) and for the Women - Hannah Babalola, 29, of Newark NJ (28:26).
In the Senior Division (50+) – Men –Byrne Decker, 50, of Yarmouth, Maine (35:48); Women – Mary Zengo 52, of Wilton, Conn. (38:58)
Also, in the IDEXX Business to Business Maine Challenge, pitting teams of athletes from New England corporations and businesses, it was UNUM again winning first place in the mixed team division, followed by Hannaford and Seafax. L.L. Bean won the men’s division, Maine Health the women’s division and IDEXX won in the first-timer 10K division.
The Johnny Kelley Award for the oldest finisher went to Robert Mountain, 89 of Gorham, Maine. The 2016 Volunteer of the Year Award was awarded earlier this week to Francisco Rodriguez of Bayonne, NJ, who has helped in three areas plus runs the race each year.
Also, on Friday, winners of the second B2B High School Mile were Lily Horne of Freeport High School (5:28.8) and Sam Russ of Lincoln Academy (4:42.9).
The TD Beach to Beacon route follows the same coastal roads Samuelson trained on in Cape Elizabeth. The race is a fulfillment of her dream to bring a top international road race to Maine. With her reputation, plus top-notch organization and strong community support, the TD Beach to Beach is known and appreciated as a world-class event with small-town charm. The race debuted in 1998 with 2,408 runners crossing the finish line. Online registration now closes within minutes.
The TD Beach to Beacon is directed by Dave McGillivray of DMSE Sports (www.dmsesports.com), who has organized every TD Bank Beach to Beacon and directs the B.A.A Boston Marathon and other events around the world.
About the TD Charitable Foundation
The TD Charitable Foundation is the charitable giving arm of TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®, one of the 10 largest commercial banking organizations in the United States. The Foundation's mission is to support, respect and improve the quality of life in the diverse communities where we live and do business. Since its inception in 2002, the Foundation has distributed more than $174.1 million and more than 17,000 grants in charitable donations from Maine to Florida. The TD Charitable Foundation focuses on supporting the following community needs: affordable housing, economic development, neighborhood revitalization, financial literacy, and human services. Recently, more than 90 percent of the grants awarded by the Foundation benefited low-and moderate- income communities and individuals. More information on the TD Charitable Foundation, including an online grant application, is available at www.TDBank.com.
About TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank®
TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank, is one of the 10 largest banks in the U.S., providing more than 9 million customers with a full range of retail, small business and commercial banking products and services at more than 1,200 convenient locations throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Metro D.C., the Carolinas and Florida. In addition, TD Bank and its subsidiaries offer customized private banking and wealth management services through TD Wealth®, and vehicle financing and dealer commercial services through TD Auto Finance. TD Bank is headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J. To learn more, visit www.tdbank.com. Find TD Bank on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TDBank and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TDBank_US.
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Aerial image - courtesy of Mainely Aerials Photography LLC
Race action images - courtesy of Whit Wales, DigiNovations