CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine (August 3, 2013) – Kenyans Micah Kogo and Joyce Chepkirui claimed titles in near-perfect running conditions Saturday for a sweet 16th edition of the TD Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
Kogo (28:03), an Olympic bronze medalist, won the TD Beach to Beacon for the second time in three years by pushing the pace near Mile 4 and then dueling runner-up Silas Kipruto (28:08) to the finish. Joyce Chepkirui (31:23), perhaps spurred by frustration about getting left off the Kenyan team for the IAAF World Championships, grabbed the lead from the opening horn and never let go, besting a deep field that for the first time ever saw each of the top 10 women run sub-33:00.
In the Maine resident races, 24-year-old Erica Jesseman of Scarborough (34:17.6) came within .6 of breaking the course record in winning her first title after three consecutive top-three finishes, while Riley Masters, 23, of Veazie (30:19), a former All-American runner at the University of Maine and Oklahoma now running professionally, used his track speed to best a talented field.
A course record was also set in the Wheelchair Division by Krige Schabort, 49, a Paralympic athlete from South Africa now living in Cedartown, Ga., whose 21:53 marked the first sub-23:00 in race history. Also, in the Masters category, Olympic bronze medalist Deena Kastor (32:28), 40, the American record holder in the marathon and half marathon who finished seventh in the open women’s race, recorded the fastest 10K ever by an American woman in her age group.
Kastor, who will now head to Moscow for the World Championships marathon as part of Team USA, was part of a strong contingent of six men and women American runners who placed in the top 10, including Meb Keflezighi, an Olympic silver medalist who took fifth, and Olympian Ryan Hall, the American record holder in the half marathon now training for the NYC Marathon, who finished tenth. Complete results are available at Cool Running.
The world-class athletes were among a record-setting 6,244 runners from 16 countries, 39 states and more than 250 Maine cities and town who finished the winding, often breathtaking 6.2-mile course on a cool, overcast morning on the Maine coast. A light rain started just as the first runners began to cross the finish. But the first raindrops at the finish in race history did little to dampen the enthusiasm of thousands of spectators who lined the course and filled bleachers to cheer the runners.
The TD Beach to Beacon is considered one of the gems on the American road race circuit, known for its top-notch organization, community support and the involvement of Olympic gold medalist and Maine native Joan Benoit Samuelson, who founded the race in 1998 and continues to inspire runners both in Maine and around the world.
“The TD Beach to Beacon at its core is a celebration of health and fitness and I sensed a renewed energy this year that was truly inspiring,” said Samuelson, who spent much of the morning greeting recreational runners at the finish. “Collectively, our sport of running gets stronger and more passionate every year and is it gratifying to see so many first-time runners pursuing their dreams. There was no shortage of courage and determination out on the course today.”
The TD Beach to Beacon 10K has close ties to the B.A.A. Boston Marathon, sharing a race director and many volunteers. The tragic events in April were on the minds of many runners, race officials and security personnel on Saturday. The now-familiar Boston Strong emblem was painted at both the Start and Finish lines and runners observed a moment of silence before the start. Karen Rand, a Maine native who lost her best friend Krystle Campbell and her lower leg when the first bomb went off, served as the official starter of the race.
Perhaps it was fitting then, that Michael Kogo, 27, who finished second at the Boston Marathon in his marathon debut in April, arrived in Maine with victory on his mind.
Meb Keflezighi, 38, who finished fourth in Cape Elizabeth in 2007, made an early play to push the pace. But soon after passing the midway point in the race, Kogo, who won the 2011 TD Beach to Beacon, made his move to gauge who in the seven-man lead pack could stay with him.
Winding through the rolling course, the lead pack of Kogo, Keflezighi, Silas Kipruto, Emmanual Mutai and Stephen Kipkosgei-Kibet eventually dwindled to two by Mile 5. Near the entrance of Fort Williams, Kogo, who won silver at the 2008 Olympics at 10,000m, began to separate again, this time for good. Kipruto, 28, placed second (28:08) with Mutai (28:22), one of the world’s top marathoners, and Kipkosgei-Kibet (28:27) following behind.
Keflezighi (28:37) was followed by the biggest surprise in the field, fellow American Elliot Krause (29:14), an All-American at the University of Wisconsin now running professionally. Krause picked off runners one by one in the later stages of the race to climb to sixth. Gabriel Proctor (29:27), the NCAA Division II 5000m and 10,000m champion, finished ninth and Ryan Hall (29:44), who is focused on strength training in advance of the NYC Marathon, rounded out the top 10.
Kogo is the third elite man in race history to win the race more than once. (Gilbert Okari won three times and Edward Muge twice.)
In the women’s race, 24-year-old Joyce Chepkirui set the pace and maintained a lead over the front pack throughout the course. She arrived in Maine this week determined to prove herself on the world stage after she was left off the Kenyan team for the IAAF World Championships 10,000m. That meant she was fit and ready.
For most of the race, she led a pack that included fellow Kenyan Linet Masai, Ethiopians Sule Utura, Yebrugal Melese and Buzunesh Deba as well as a game Briton Gemma Steel. An aggressive surge late in the race separated her from the pack and she cruised to the finish line in 31:23, the second-fastest winning time in race history.
The surprise came when Steel, 27, came sprinting to the finish to grab second in a personal best 31:35. Utura (31:38), Melese (31:40) and Masai (32:04) rounded out the top five. Lineth Chepkurui, the course record holder, suffered a hamstring injury and fell off the pace early on.
Deena Kastor (32:28), who will leave for Russia on Sunday, was the top American in seventh, while Alexi Pappas, 23, a former All-American at Oregon and Dartmouth, finished a strong 10th (32:55) in her professional road racing debut.
Other Americans included Rachel Ward, 23, (34:14), who finished 12th, and Michelle Frey, 31, (34:16), who placed 13th in the deepest women’s field in the history of the race.
“The depth of quality of the TD Beach to Beacon quite remarkable, really unparalleled on the American road race circuit,” said Race President David Weatherbie of Cape Elizabeth.
In the Maine races, Erica Jesseman finally broke through in a big way after finishing behind perennial champions Sheri Piers (three-time champ) and Kristin Barry (two-time champ) in recent years. Judges determined that her time of 34:17.6 fell just a nick short of Piers’ course record 34:17.0 set in 2009. Piers, 42, of Falmouth placed second (34:40) and Emily Durgin, 19, of Standish took third (36:12).
The Maine men’s race featured another accomplished collegiate runner coming home to win the title. Riley Masters, the Bangor High School grad who holds the school record at 1,500m at the University of Oklahoma and made his professional debut on the European circuit this summer, dominated the race. Will Geoghegan, 21, of Brunswick, who recently graduated from Dartmouth, placed second (30:34) with Jonny Wilson, 25, of Falmouth placing third (30:49).
In all, prize money of more than $60,000 was awarded to the runners, including $10,000 for the overall male and female winners, $5,000 for the second place winners and cash prizes for the top 10 finishers and in the different categories. The Maine Resident winners received $1,000.
Other winners included: Masters Men – Joseph Ekuom, 43, of Kingston, N.Y. (32:55); Masters Women – Deena Kastor, 40, of Mammoth Lakes, Calif. (32:28); Wheelchair Division, Men – Krige Schabort, 49, of Cedartown, Ga. (21:53), and Women – Christina Kouros, 18, of Cape Elizabeth (41:17).
In the Senior Division (50+) – Men – Todd Coffin, 52, of Freeport (34:17); Women – Erin Chalat, 52, of Cape Elizabeth, Maine (41:31).
Also, in the IDEXX Corporate Challenge, pitting teams of athletes from a number of New England corporations and businesses, Unum again won first place in the mixed team division, Maine Health won the men’s division, Maine Health the women’s division, and Fairchild Semiconductor for the first-timer 10K division.
The Johnny Kelley Award to the oldest finisher went to 88-year-old Dottie Gray.
“This race was as spectacular as all the others have been,” said Weatherbie, who announced this week that he is stepping down as race president after 16 years at the helm. “I am incredibly appreciative of the opportunity that Joanie gave me to be president of the race all these 16 years. I’m proud to be a part of the team that has built this race to this point and look forward to watching it continue to grow from here.”
Weatherbie, hand-picked by Samuelson in 1998 to serve as volunteer race president, said he is stepping down to free up more time to spend with his wife and three children. He will remain a member of the race’s Organizing Committee.
The TD Bank Beach to Beacon 10K is one of the most sought-after road races in the country, combining small-town charm with big-city crowds and top world-class athletes. In 2012 for the first time, more than 6,000 runners followed the winding course through the coastal town of Cape Elizabeth, starting near Crescent Beach State Park on Route 77, and crossed the finish line at the Portland Head Light, the most photographed lighthouse in the world.
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.
Larry Wold, TD Bank president in Maine, completed the race for the 16th consecutive time on Saturday. TD Bank (www.tdbank.com ) is the title sponsor.
“This race is a celebration of the human spirit, of the runners and the volunteers, everyone who participates,” Wold said. “We at TD Bank feel tremendously fortunate to be a part of this world-class event.”
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 also directs the B.A.A Boston Marathon and other events around the world.
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 b2bdevelopment.wpengine.com, and find the TD Beach to Beacon on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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. Since its inception in 2002, the Foundation has distributed over $199 million and more than 19,400 grants through donations to local nonprofits from Maine to Florida. More information on the TD Charitable Foundation, including the online grant application, is available at TDBank.com.
About TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank ®
TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, is a member of TD Bank Group and a subsidiary of the Toronto-Dominion Bank of Toronto, Canada, a top 10 financial services company in North America. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges under the ticker symbol “TD”. To learn more, visit www.td.com.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 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.