CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine (July 21, 2015) – Rising international track star Ben True will lead a talented group of young American distance runners, many with ties to New England, set to challenge a strong contingent of top international athletes at the TD Beach to Beach 10K Road Race on Aug. 1 in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
True, a Maine native who set a new American 5K record in April and has qualified for two distance events representing the U.S. at the World Championships in Beijing next month, is the top American in road racing. He decided to enter the TD Beach to Beacon after reaching the qualifying standard for 5000m at the world track and field championships with a 13:06.15 in Belgium over the weekend.
True, who now lives and trains in West Lebanon, N.H., will be joined by other top Americans, including Eric Jenkins, a two-time NCAA champion at Oregon who grew up in Portsmouth, N.H.; Christo Landry, who holds the American record at 25K; and Emily Sisson, the decorated Providence College graduate who set an NCAA indoor record at 5,000m in March.
The 35-runner professional field also includes the defending women’s champion, Gemma Steel of Great Britain, three former TD Beach to Beacon champs from Kenya – Micah Kogo (2013, 2011), Stanley Biwott (2012) and Joyce Chepkurui (2013) – and a variety of other Olympians, World Champs and record setters, TD Beach to Beacon organizers announced on Tuesday.
“This is an exciting time as we’re seeing a renaissance of American distance running,” said Larry Barthlow, the elite athlete coordinator of the TD Beach to Beacon. “These athletes believe and know they can compete with anyone in the world – and they’re going to get their chance in Maine on Aug. 1.”
The American runners also were enticed by the TD Beach to Beacon’s new $23,000 prize purse for American men and women, sponsored by Dunkin’ Donuts and among the more generous offered at a U.S. road race. The prize money will be split evenly among the top five men and women and break down like this: $5,000 for first, $3,000, $2,000, $1,000 and $500.
The American-only category swells the TD Beach to Beacon’s total prize money available to more than $90,000, with $10,000 awarded to the winners in the men’s and women’s open races and payouts to the top 10 runners overall.
The world-class athletes will join a race day field of more than 6,400 runners who will wind along the fast, relatively flat course that begins near the Crescent Beach State Park entrance on Route 77 in Cape Elizabeth and ends 6.2 miles later in Fort Williams Park at the Portland Head Light, the most photographed lighthouse in America. The race was founded by Olympic gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson , who trained on the same roads while growing up in Cape Elizabeth.
“The combination of American men and international men make this a very special year,” Barthlow said.
Ben True , who grew up in nearby North Yarmouth, Maine, is having a banner season on the track and on the roads. He earned a spot on the U.S. team for the World Championships in Beijing (Aug. 22-30) by finishing second in both the 5000m and 10,000m at the U.S. Championships last month. He achieved the 10,000m qualifying time with a blazing 27:44 in early May at the Payton Jordan Invitational and met the 5000m standard in Belgium.
Also this year, True, 29, broke the 19-year-old American road 5K record (13:22) to win the B.A.A 5K, became the first American in eight years to win the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K (28:13) in Central Park and also won the USA 15K at the Gate River Run in Jacksonville, Fla.
The former Greely High School and Dartmouth College All-American placed third (27:50) in his professional return to the TD Beach to Beacon in 2014 and will be eyeing the top spot this year.
Another New Englander, Eric Jenkins , 23, will be making his TD Beach to Beacon debut in top form. The Portsmouth (N.H.) High School and Northeastern standout, who ended collegiately as a three-time All-American at Oregon, launched his professional career this summer by setting a number of personal bests on the European track circuit. He finished a few ticks behind True with a 13:07.33 5000m in Belgium over the weekend and, like True, has his sights on the 2016 Olympics.
In addition to True, who set a course record while winning the Maine resident title at the 2009 TD Beach to Beacon, the world-class field also will include three other former Maine category champions making their return as professionals: Will Geoghegan (Brunswick), Riley Masters (Veazie) and Ethan Shaw (Falmouth).
Geoghegan, 23, who won the 2014 Maine race (29:53), is a former Dartmouth All-American who finished his solid collegiate career at Oregon and now calls Eugene home. He clocked a PB 13:17.85 at 5000m in Belgium last weekend.
Masters, 25, who won the 2013 Maine race (30:19), is a former Bangor High School standout and All-American at the University of Maine and University of Oklahoma, where he holds the school record at 1500m. Now living and training in Seattle, he ran a 13:17.97 at 5,000m at the Payton Jordan Invitational in May.
Shaw, 25, who starred on the track at Falmouth High and Dartmouth, won the 2012 Maine race (30:37). Now living in Allston, Mass., and a member of the Boston Athletic Association’s High Performance Team, he recorded a PB 1:03.41 at the 2015 USA Half Marathon Championships in January.
Barthlow said the eye-popping potential of the four New England runners – True, Jenkins, Geoghegan and Masters – who have each clocked sub 13:20 at 5000m, reminds him of the heyday of the Greater Boston Track Club.
“We probably haven’t seen a crop of extraordinary New England distance runners like this group since we were talking about (Bill) Rodgers, (Randy) Thomas, (Bruce) Bickford and (Greg) Meyer more than 30 years ago,” he said.
In addition to Christo Landry , 29, who finished second to True in the USA 15K (44:14), other American men in the field include: Abdi Abdirahman , a two-time Olympian who has run 27:16 at 10,000m; Aaron Braun , who finished seventh at the Houston Marathon with PB 2:12:54 in January; Chris Solinsky , a member of the 2009 U.S. National Team who was the first non-African to run a sub 27:00 10,000m (26:59); Maks Korolev , a Harvard standout with a PB 13:42 at 5000m: and Andrew Springer , who ran 13:37 at 5000m at the Payton Jordan Invitational.
The international side of the men’s field is headed by former champions Micah Kogo and Stanley Biwott , both 29 and Kenyan, who know the joy of reaching the TD Beach to Beacon tape first. Kogo, who finished fifth last year after winning in 2013 and 2011, won Bronze at the 2008 Olympics at 10,000m and once ran 27:01 in a 10K to set a world record. Biwott is a top marathoner who ran a career best 2:04:55 to place second at the 2014 London Marathon. His 59:20 at the City-Pier-City-Loop Half Marathon in March is the fastest so far in 2015.
Other contenders include Stephen Kosgei-Kibet , 28, of Kenya, who has finished runner up twice, including a PB 27:43 in 2014, and fourth place once in his past TD Beach to Beacon appearances;Patrick Makau , 30, of Kenya, who placed fourth last year (27:57) and is a former world record holder in the marathon (2:03:38); Daniel Salel , 24, of Kenya, who won the rain-soaked B.A.A. 10K in June after finishing third in 2014 with a PB 27:41; and Nokolas Bor , 27, of Kenya, who has a PB 27:38 and ran 27:55 to win the 2015 Ottawa 10K in May.
The women’s field is equally strong, with no less than nine runners who have recorded sub 32:00 at 10K – including six who have already achieved that mark on the TD Beach to Beacon course.
“If the women’s field holds up, it will be the deepest women’s field in race history and one of the deepest ever in a U.S. 10K road race,” Barthlow said.
Gemma Steel , 29, is back to defend her title after clocking a 31:27 to hold off American Shalane Flanagan in 2014. The Brit finished second in 2013 (31:35) to Joyce Chepkirui , 26, of Kenya, who was unable to defend her title last year but is primed to get it back in 2015.
Chepkirui’s winning time in 2013 – 31:23 – in the third fastest in race history. The 2014 Commonwealth Games champ won her second consecutive UAE Healthy Kidney 10K in late May and has a PB 30:37 at 10K.
The woman who owns the second fastest time in TD Beach to Beacon history, Wude Ayalew , 28, of Ethiopia, also is back in the field. Ayalew’s 31:07 at the 2010 TD Beach to Beacon placed her second on a course-record breaking day.
Other contenders include Emily Chebet , 29, of Kenya, a two-time winner of the IAAF World Cross Country Championships who took second at the 2012 TD Beach to Beacon (31:52) and has a PB 30:58; Diane Nukuri , 30, a two-time Olympian from Burundi who ran a personal best 31:52 to finish a strong third in 2014; Meselech Melakamu , 30, of Ethiopia, a five-time World Cross Country medalist who has run 29:53 at 10,000m; Tadelech Bekele , 25, of Ethiopia, who ran 2:23 in her marathon debut and has a PB 30:38 at 10K; Sentaheya Ejigu, 30, of Ethiopia, who has a 10K PB of 31:33; and Yebrugal Melese , 25, of Ethiopia, the 2015 Houston Marathon champ who ran a PB 31:40 while placing fourth at the 2013 TD Beach to Beacon.
The American field is led by Emily Sisson , 24, who captured the 10,000m title at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in May with a 31:38, the fourth best time in NCAA history. At the Big East Championships in March, her 15:12.22 shaved two seconds off the previous NCAA national record.
Also in the field is another up-and-coming American distance runner, Alexi Pappas , 25, a five-time All American at Dartmouth and Oregon who made her professional road racing debut at the 2013 TD Beach to Beacon, finishing 10th in 32:55. She improved her PB to 32:32 to place seventh last year. Pappas ran 32:02 at 10,000m in May.
Other top Americans in the field include Boston’s Kate DeCamillo , the second American finisher at the 2013 New York City Marathon; Laura Thweat , who has a PR 32:37 at 10K;Katie Matthews , a five-time All American at Boston University; Sarah Pagano andChrystal Burnick .
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 world’s elite race directors.
This year marks the 18th running of the TD Beach to Beacon 10K, a classic American road race that each year fills online in less than five minutes. In 2014, a record-setting 6,494 runners from 14 countries, 42 states and more than 260 Maine cities and town finished the winding, rolling, often breathtaking 6.2-mile coastal course. The race debuted in 1998 with 2,408 runners crossing the finish line.
The 2015 race beneficiary is Good Shepherd Food Bank ( www.feedingmaine.org ), Maine’s largest hunger relief organization, which receives a $30,000 donation from the TD Charitable Foundation, the charitable giving arm of TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®. TD Bank has now donated $540,000 to Maine charities over the history of the race.
In addition to TD Bank, other major corporate partners include Hannaford, Nike, Poland Spring, IDEXX, Northeast Delta Dental, MaineHealth, Dead River Company, Olympia Sports and WCSH6.For additional information about the race, visit www.beach2beacon.org, and find the TD Beach to Beacon on Facebook, Twitter 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 .
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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Elite Athlete Fields for the 2015 TD Beach to Beacon 10K (as of July 21, 2015)
Micah Kogo – Kenya
Stanley Biwott – Kenya
Ben True – USA
Patrick Makau – Kenya
Stephen Kosgei-Kibet – Kenya
Eric Jenkins – USA
Nikolas Bor – Kenya
Daniel Salel – Kenya
Danny Abera – Ethiopia
Christo Landry – USA
Will Geoghegan – USA
Riley Masters – USA
Abdi Abdirahman – USA
Chris Solinsky – USA
Aaron Braun – USA
Maks Korolev – USA
Andrew Springer – USA
Ethan Shaw – USA
Gemma Steel – Great Britain
Joyce Chepkirui – Kenya
Emily Chebet – Kenya
Tadelech Bekele – Ethiopia
Wude Ayalew – Ethiopia
Diane Nukuri – Burundi
Meselech Melakamu – Ethiopia
Yerbrugal Melese – Ethiopia
Sentayehu Ejigu – Ethiopia
Emily Sisson – USA
Alexi Pappas – USA
Kate DeCamillo – USA
Laura Thweat.- USA
Katie Matthews – USA
Sarah Pagano.- USA
Chrystal Burnick – USA
Here is more information about the TD Beach to Beacon 10K.