CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine (August 4, 2007) – Duncan Kibet out kicked a fast field to win the men’s crown and Luminita Talpos dominated the women’s race in the special 10th edition of the TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race on Saturday in Cape Elizabeth.
Kibet of Kenya (27:51.7), perhaps the hottest road racer in the world right now, earned the victory by passing three competitors in the final 600 meters, including runner up countryman Evans Cheryiout (27:52.3) with the finish line in sight. John Yuda of Tanzania (27:55) and Meb Keflezighi (27:58), the U.S.’s top distance runner, finished third and fourth, marking the second time in race history that four runners recorded sub-28:00.
In the women’s race, Talpos (32:20) of Romania jumped out to a big lead about two kilometers in and never looked back, winning the TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon for the first time in five tries. Ukrainian Olympian Natalyia Berkut (32:29) placed second and Jessica Ruthe (32:40) of New Zealand took third.
The group of elite athletes were among the 4,839 runners from 21 countries and 41 U.S. states who finished the winding, ocean-hugging, 6.2-mile course on a humid but comfortable morning in Maine. Each finisher received a medal to commemorate the 10th anniversary race. Thousands of spectators lined the course to cheer the runners.
In the Maine races, Emily Levan, 34, of Wiscasset (35:01) made her three-peat look easy. Jenna (Richardson) Krajewski, 27, of China (36:14) finished a distant second.
In the men’s race, Georgetown-bound Ayalew Taye, 19, of Cape Elizabeth, (30:47) continued the youth movement with a dominating run. Kirby Davis, 23, of Falmouth, a recent University of Maine grad, took second (31:34), while Evan Graves, 25, of Presque Isle (32:03) placed third.
Race founder and Olympic gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson ran the race for the second time, this time in a leisurely pace alongside friend Jacqueline Gareau, the 1980 Boston Marathon champ. They finished in 42 minutes,
“Running today I really got a renewed sense of what this race is all about and what it means to the runners, the volunteers and the spectators,” said Samuelson, one of Maine’s most admired athletes. “I can’t say enough about all the effort put in by so many people who make this a true community event.”
This year’s race beneficiary is STRIVE, a South Portland-based non-profit organization designed to address the many issues faced by developmentally disabled youth. TD Banknorth, through the TD Banknorth Charitable Foundation, provides a cash donation of $30,000 and STRIVE benefits from fundraising activities and publicity.
Race officials awarded $60,000 in prize money, including $10,000 to Kibet and Talpos plus $5,000 for the second place winner and cash prizes for the top 10 finishers. Winners in the other categories also received $1,000 top prizes.
Kibet remained in the thick of a 10-man lead pack for much of the first part of the race. Different runners took turns at the front before the pack thinned. When Cheryiout, Yuda and Keflezighi turned into Fort Williams, they believed (or hoped) it had become a three-man race. But Kibet had other thoughts, kicking it into overdrive to win his inaugural TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon. Defending champ Thomas Nyariki of Kenya finished eighth (28:25).
Talpos, who has finished in the top 5 in four previous TD Banknorth Beach to Beacons, decided early on to make her competitors catch her. They could not. She jumped to a huge lead, then held off Berkut for the win. Wude Yamir, 20, of Ethiopia, the race favorite coming in, got tangled with a male runner midway through the race and couldn’t recover, finishing fourth (32:42). Susan Chepkemei of Kenya, the 2004 champ, finished ninth (33:15).
Other winners included: Masters Men – Jason Cakouros, 42, of Milton, Mass. (32:43); Masters Women – Mimi Fallon, 42, of Walpole, Mass. (37:51); Wheelchair Division, Patrick Doak, 39, of Concord, Mass., (23:27), breaking the course record that he set last year. Six-time winner Tony Nogueira of Glen Ridge, N.J., finished second (23:42).
In the Maine masters division, winners were Dan Franek, 41, of South Portland, (33:05), and Tina Meserve, 40, of Livermore (38:19).
Also, in the Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Maine Corporate Challenge, pitting teams of athletes from a number of New England corporations and businesses, UnumProvident again won first place in the mixed team division, BIW won the men’s division while MaineHealth won the women’s division. In a new category for first-time runners, Anthem took first place.
Founded by Maine’s largest bank, TD Banknorth, and Maine’s most famous athlete, Joan Benoit Samuelson, the race benefits a different charity each year as part of the TD Banknorth Shining the Light for Maine Youth program. The race director is Dave McGillivray, who has organized every TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon. He also serves as the race director of the BAA Boston Marathon.
The race course winds through the idyllic coastal town of Cape Elizabeth, starting near Crescent Beach State Park on Route 77 and ending at the Portland Head Light, the most photographed lighthouse in the world.
“It was a fabulous race day and a great race,” said Larry Wold, president of TD Banknorth Maine, who finished his 10th straight TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon on Saturday in 42:36, placing 427th overall. “We are so pleased to be a part of this special event, which really epitomizes what can be accomplished when a community joins together – all the runners, the volunteers, the sponsors, the spectators – toward a common goal. This was another wonderful race day.”