July 30, 2013 | Jason Wolfe | Wolfe PR

6,000+ Runners, Including Best in World, Set for Celebration of Health and Fitness at Saturday’s 16th TD Beach to Beacon 10K in Cape Elizabeth, Maine

CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine (July 30, 2013) – Three top American distance runners – Olympians Deena Kastor, Meb Keflezighi and Ryan Hall – headline a field of talented world-class athletes who will join the best in Maine and across New England in Cape Elizabeth on Saturday (Aug. 3) for the 16th TD Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race.

The front-of-the-pack athletes will share the picturesque course with thousands of recreational runners who are cheered on by thousands of spectators who line the TD Beach to Beacon route for an event that celebrates health, fitness and giving back.

The beneficiary of this year’s race is The Opportunity Alliance ( www.opportunityalliance.org ), a Portland, Maine-based nonprofit organization providing community-based and clinical programs to children and families throughout Maine. The organization will receive a $30,000 donation from the TD Charitable Foundation and also will benefit from fundraising activities and publicity through its association with the race.

Title sponsor TD Bank has now donated $480,000 over the history of the race to Maine charities and those charities continue to reap the benefit of their association with the race, collectively raising more than $300,000 in the past two years alone through ongoing fundraising with race entries.

“The TD Beach to Beacon 10K is a positive force that has literally changed people’s lives. We are honored to have supported this event since its inception and appreciate that it has been embraced by so many people,” said Larry Wold, TD Bank President for Maine, who is one of 131 runners who has run every race. “This year’s beneficiary, The Opportunity Alliance, makes a significant difference in our community by providing Maine children, families and adults with the resources they need to better their lives and we are proud to support its mission.”

Maine native and running legend Joan Benoit Samuelson, winner of the first Olympic women’s marathon in 1984, founded the TD Beach to Beacon in 1998 as a way to give back to her state and community by creating a major road race. The route follows the same coastal roads that the unassuming Samuelson trained on in Cape Elizabeth. With her reputation, plus top-notch organization and strong community support, the race quickly established itself as a world-class event with small-town charm.

Last year, 6,117 runners crossed the finish line, setting a new record. A total of 2,408 finished the first race. Online registration now closes in less than five minutes. The stunning course begins near the Crescent Beach State Park entrance on Route 77 in Cape Elizabeth and winds along tree-lined roads and past dramatic ocean vistas before ending 6.2 miles later in Fort Williams Park near Portland Head Light, the most photographer lighthouse in America.

This year’s field will include runners from 16 countries and 39 U.S. states plus D.C. More than $60,000 in prize money is at stake, including a $10,000 prize each to the top man and woman, $5,000 for the second place and cash prizes for the top 10 finishers. Also, a $2,500 bonus also is available for any runner who sets a new open course record ($500 in the Maine category), providing added incentive in a race that consistently ranks among the fastest and most competitive 10Ks in the world.

Trio of top Americans add Depth to Professional Field Featuring an Array of Olympians, World Champs and Record Holders

The world-class fields assembled for both the men’s and women’s races in 2013 features three household names in U.S. distance running – Deena Kastor, Meb Keflezighi and Ryan Hall – plus some of the  top runners on the American road race circuit and a contingent of East Africans capable of shattering course records.,

“I like what I see when I look at the fields, the strongest group of Americans in the history of the race plus a defending champ in Stanley Biwott and as many as three women, maybe four, capable of setting a course record,” said Larry Barthlow, the Elite Athlete Coordinator. “If the conditions are right, it could be an eye-popping day.”

Deena Kastor, who won bronze at the 2004 Olympics, will make her TD Beach to Beacon debut after illness forced her to withdraw from the 2011 race. The American record-holder in both the marathon and half-marathon, she is treating the race as a final tune up before the IAAF World Championships in Moscow, where she will compete in the marathon for Team USA.

Meb Keflezighi , who won silver at the 2004 Olympics, returns for the first time since recording a personal-best 27:58 10K at the 2007 race, when he finished fourth – the highest place ever for an American man in the TD Beach to Beacon. His impressive third-place finish at the Quad City Times Bix 7 Road Race (32:39) over the weekend indicates he’s ready for a good showing.

Ryan Hall , a two-time Olympian who won the U.S. Olympic trials in 2008 and holds the American record in the half marathon, will make his TD Beach to Beacon debut. A fan favorite, Hall recorded three top-four finishes at the B.A.A. Boston Marathon from 2009-2011.

The trio of decorated Americans has their work cut out for them.

The women’s field includes three Kenyan women – Lineth Chepkurui ,Linet Masai and Joyce Chepkirui – who are more than capable of running sub 31:00 and bettering the course record 30:59 set by Chepkurui in 2010. Chepkurui is perhaps the most dominant woman on the U.S. road race circuit right now with recent wins at the Utica Boilermaker 12K and Peachtree 10K. Masai, a 2008 Olympian and 2009 World Champ, and Chepkiui, an African Cross Country champ who recorded a 30:38 10K already this year, were left off the Kenyan national team and have something to prove.

But they all need to keep an eye on Sule Utura of Ethiopia, who used her track speed and long strides in the final stretch to win the Quad City Times Bix 7 on Saturday. She is coming off the European track tour where she recorded a 10,000m PR of 30:55 in late June.

Other contenders include Aheza Kiros , who in 2011 became the first Ethiopian woman to win the TD Beach to Beacon; Buzunesh Deba of Ethiopia, the Lilac Bloomsday 12K champ who finished second to Utura in Iowa over the weekend; Diane Nukuri-Johnson , a two-time Olympian from Burundi who finished fourth at the 2011 TD Beach to Beacon; and Gemma Steel of Great Britain, who won bronze at the European Cross Country Championships in 2011.

On the men’s side, defending champ Stanley Biwott of Kenya is ranked third in the world and his 58:56 at the RAK Half Marathon in February is the 10th fastest half marathon time in history. Biwott will be pushed by Micah Kogo of Kenya, an Olympic bronze medalist who won the 2011 TD Beach to Beacon in 27:47 and finished second (2:10:27) at the B.A.A. Boston Marathon in his marathon debut in April.

The field also includes Emmanuel Mutai of Kenya, one of the world’s top marathoners who set a course record (2:04:40) in winning the 2011 London Marathon; Silas Kipruto of Kenya, who has a personal best 27:28 at 10K and finished second at the Quad City Bix 7 Road Race on Saturday; Kenyan Stephen Kipkosgei-Kibet , last year’s TD Beach to Beacon runner up (28:01); Atsedu Tsegay of Ethiopia, an Olympic team alternate with a 27:46 10K PR whose 58:47 half marathon in 2012 is the fifth fastest ever; and two Olympians – Dino Sefir of Ethiopia and Mykola Labovsky of Ukraine, who placed fourth at the European 5,000m championships earlier this year.

(Unofficial) Maine Road Race Champions to be Crowned

The TD Beach to Beacon 10K attracts the state’s top road racers who vie in the Maine Resident races each year for the unofficial title as Maine Road Race Champion.

On the women’s side, the top three finishers from last year are again expected to battle it out. This might just be the year that Erica Jessemanof Scarborough, with two runner ups and a third-place finish the past three years, finally claims the crown. She has been dominant this year, including a win at the Pat’s Pizza Clam Festival Classic 5 Mile (27:49). But Sheri Piers of Falmouth, the two-time defending TD Beach to Beacon champ and course record holder with three titles overall, is more than capable of withstanding the challenge. Abby Leonardi , 19, of Kennebunkport is a wild card due to her training schedule at Oregon. If she competes, she will be in the mix.

The favorite in the men’s race is Rob Gomez of Saco, who has dominated the roads in Maine so far in 2013 and was the fastest Mainer at the B.A.A. Boston Marathon (2:22:53). He won the L.L. Bean 10K in early July, usually a good barometer of TD Beach to Beacon success. Other contenders include Riley Masters of Bangor, who just finished his senior year at Oklahoma, where he holds the school record at 1,500 meters; Johnny Wilson of Falmouth, whose win recently at the Pat’s Pizza Clam Festival Classic 5 Mile (25:11) – another good barometer – suggests he is ready to improve on close second-place finishes the past two years; Matt Randof Cape Elizabeth, a recent Tufts graduate who placed second at the Clam Festival; and Will Geoghegan of Brunswick, who just graduated from Dartmouth and could threaten.

Sweet 16 for TD Beach to Beacon 10K

The TD Beach to Beacon is overseen by its 60-member, volunteer Organizing Committee, headed by Race President David Weatherbie of Cape Elizabeth. Local residents from all walks of life, plus police, fire, medical and municipal officials serve on the committee to plan the event. Maya Cohen and Angela Best, both Cape residents, coordinate the 750 or so volunteers who are central to the success of the race.

Local residents also open up their homes for the elite athletes as part of a “home-stay” program that is second to none. The TD Beach to Beacon also has a long history of commitment to the environment with a focus on recycling, reuse and eco-friendly activities.

The TD Beach to Beacon 10K is directed by Dave McGillivray of DMSE Sports ( www.dmsesports.com ), who also directs the B.A.A Boston Marathon and is regarded as one of the best in the business.

This year, the wheelchair division includes Craig Blanchette , one of the top all-time wheelchair racers who has won the TD Beach to Beacon twice; Krige Schabort , a Paralympic athlete from South Africa competing in Cape Elizabeth for the first time; and Patrick Doak , a three-time TD Beach to Beacon winner.

In addition to TD Bank, the title sponsor, other major corporate partners this year include Hannaford, Nike, Poland Spring, Fairchild Semiconductor, IDEXX, Northeast Delta Dental, MaineHealth and WCSH6. For additional information about the race, visit www.beach2beacon.org , call the race hotline at (888) 480-6940 or find the race on Facebook and Twitter.

“It’s too the credit of all involved, through all of their hard work and dedication over the years, that the TD Beach to Beacon has become what it has,” Samuelson said. “No one person is responsible for our success. It takes a community. And this is a special community.”

For additional information about the race, visit www.beach2beacon.org, and find the TD Beach to Beacon on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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 .

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