March 17, 2008

TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon 10K Fills Up in Record Time

CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine – Registration for the TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon 10K has filled in record time – just 26 hours after online registration got underway Saturday morning, race organizers announced Monday.

Race organizers closed registration Sunday morning after reaching the limit of 5,500 runners for the August 2 road race in coastal Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

The race field fills up faster and faster each year, but this year registrations poured in almost immediately. More than 5,000 runners signed up within the first 10 hours on Saturday. Last year, it took 10 days to reach that number.

Race organizers attribute the overwhelming response to efforts to alert runners and the public to go online and sign up soon after registration opened to ensure a spot in the race this summer. Race participants from last year were notified by mail and e-mail, and news releases were sent to media outlets urging runners to register as soon as possible once registration opened.

Printed applications were discontinued this year, meaning anyone who wanted to participate in the race needed to register online. The change to online-only registration also may have contributed to a greater sense of urgency for runners who wanted a bib number in one of the country’s marquee road races.

“It’s amazing how quickly the race filled this year, and truly a testament to the popularity and success of this race; though frankly I’m not that surprised,” said David Weatherbie, president of the race and a Cape Elizabeth resident. “I really think this is a reflection of how well we communicated the online-only registration process as well as the registration date of March 15. Obviously, runners marked their calendars and didn’t hesitate.”

Since the race began in 1998, the field size has grown from 3,000 to 5,500. The present 5,500-runner capacity has been in place since 2005. Race organizers have maintained that level due to safety reasons and logistical concerns.

“We need to keep the field size at the 5,500 level for a number of reasons, mostly to keep the race safe and to provide a high quality experience for our runners,” Weatherbie said. “It’s a beautiful but narrow, winding course, so if you get too many runners on the course, it raises safety and logistical issues.”

This year marks the 11th year for the TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon, one of Maine’s premiere sporting events and one of the top events on the U.S. road race circuit. The race begins near the Crescent Beach entrance on Route 77 in Cape Elizabeth, winds past breathtaking ocean vistas, and ends at the historic Portland Head Light at Fort Williams Park.

TD Banknorth is the title sponsor of the race founded by Joan Benoit Samuelson, the Olympic gold medalist from Cape Elizabeth who also serves as a spokesperson for the bank during the year to promote the race and the bank’s giving programs, which benefit Maine youth with sponsorship programs and charitable donations.

This year’s race beneficiary is the Susan L. Curtis Foundation, the sponsor of Camp Susan Curtis, a summer camp dedicated to improving the lives of economically disadvantaged Maine children ages 8-18. The organization provides traditional camping experiences interwoven with a leadership development and life skills curriculum. For more information, visit www.susancurtisfoundation.org.

TD Banknorth, through the TD Banknorth Charitable Foundation, will provide a cash donation of $30,000 to the Susan L. Curtis Foundation. The non-profit organization also will benefit from fundraising activities and publicity through its association with one of Maine’s premiere sporting events.

In addition to TD Banknorth, other major corporate partners this year include Hannaford, Poland Spring, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Maine, MaineHealth, Nike, WCSH TV-6 and Northeast Delta Dental.

For additional info about the race, visit www.beach2beacon.orgor call the race hotline toll free at (888) 480-6940.


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