CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine ( August 1, 2012 ) – Olympic Gold Medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson will join a field of talented world-class distance runners and the best in Maine and across New England in Cape Elizabeth on Saturday (Aug. 4) for the special 15th TD Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race.
Samuelson, winner of the first Olympic women’s marathon in 1984, will toe the line to commemorate the 15th running of the popular road race that she founded in 1998 as a way to give back to her state and community. The running icon is expected to run a leisurely pace along the same picturesque roads that she trained on in her native Cape Elizabeth.
A talented group of world-class athletes will lead the 6,000 runners through Cape Elizabeth, Maine on Saturday for the TD Beach to Beacon 10K.Samuelson will share the coastal course with top elite athletes from East Africa, Europe and the U.S., plus thousands of recreational runners who receive cheers from encouraging spectators who line the route. The festive atmosphere, heavy community involvement and flawless organization is credited for the TD Beach to Beacon 10K’s reputation as a world-class event with small-town charm.
This year’s expected race-day field of 6,000 will include runners from 16 countries and 44 U.S. states. 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.
The beneficiary of this year’s race is the Center for Grieving Children , a Portland, Maine-based nonprofit organization providing support to bereaved children and families, which will receive a $30,000 donation from the TD Charitable Foundation. The organization also will benefit from fundraising activities and publicity through its association with the race. View more information about the Center for Grieving Children’s mission and programs.
“It’s incredible to think about what the TD Beach to Beacon 10K has become over the last 15 years, and we are honored to continue to provide support to an event so close to the hearts of so many people, including me,” said Larry Wold, TD Bank Market President for Maine who is one of fewer than 140 runners who have taken part in every previous race (41:02 in 2011, 11th of 333 runners in his 50-54 age group). “This year’s beneficiary, the Center for Grieving Children, is making such a difference in so many lives and we are proud to support their efforts helping children, young adults and families adjust to grief and loss.”
Rematch of Record-Setting 2010 in Women’s Race, while Deep Men’s Field Combines Best on American Roads with Speedy East African Imports
The world-class fields assembled for both the men’s and women’s races in 2012 will feature some of the best runners on the American road race circuit joined by a contingent of East African, Russian and U.S. track athletes who were strong contenders for spots on their Olympic teams.
“I really believe we’ve put together the deepest overall field we’ve ever had, something special for the 15th running,” said Larry Barthlow, the Elite Athlete Coordinator. “We have runners who have been winning on the American roads this year, but also many new faces fresh off the tracks in Europe who are determined to make some noise here. With the right conditions, both course records could fall.”
In the women’s race, 2011 champ Aheza Kiros of Ethiopia has scratched, but the race remains star-studded with no less than five runners with sub 31:30 10Ks, including Lineth Chepkurai and Wude Ayalew , who ran the two fastest times ever on the course in a 2010 duel.
Kenyan Chepkurai, 24, is anxious to reclaim her TD Beach to Beacon crown after a record-setting performance two years ago. She shaved 26 seconds off the course record with a blistering 30:59 – the first sub 31:00 10K ever on Maine soil. Her PR for the 10K is 30:45.
Ayalew, 25, finished right behind Chepkurai in 2010 in 31:07 – the second fastest time ever. She returned a week later to beat Chepkurai at the 2010 Falmouth Road Race. Ayalew, who has ran 30:11 at 10,000m, is in top form and will be in the mix, Barthlow said.
The London Olympics claimed one of the TD Beach to Beacon’s other lead contenders in recent days as Aberu Kebede, an alternate on the Ethiopian team, was prevented from traveling to Maine in case she is needed for the Games. “In an Olympic year, that’s one of the pitfalls with the caliber of athlete we are attracting to this race,” Barthlow said.
Margaret Wangari Muriuki , 26, of Kenya, will arrive in Maine fresh off a win over the weekend (July 28) at the Quad-City Bix 7 Mile in Iowa. She finished sixth at the 2010 World Cross Country Championships running barefoot and second at the African Cross Country Championships earlier this year.
Another 26-year-old Kenyan, Emily Chebet , will contend as well. The 2010 World Cross Country champ, she earned bronze at the 2012 African Cross Country Championships and has a 10K PR of 31:13.
Two top Russian distance athletes also are in the field. Valentina Galimova , 25, is a Russian 10,000m champion who finished a disappointing fifth at the 2012 Olympic qualifier while Kseniya Agafonova , 29, a Russian indoor champ who has a PR of 31:08 at 10,000m.
Other contenders include: Pauline Njeri-Kahenya , 27, of Kenya, who is on the rise after recording a PR 31:25 in Paris in April; Rita Jeptoo , 31, of Kenya, the 2006 B.A.A Boston Marathon champ who has clocked 31:12 at 10K; and Jelliah Tinega , 26, of Kenya, who finished second at the 2011 TD Beach to Beacon and has victories at the Bellin Run and Cherry Blossom 10-Mile Run already in 2012.
A strong contingent of American women also is entered, led by Julia Lucas , 28, who missed the Olympics by .04 seconds in a heartbreaking, photo-finish fourth-place finish at 5000m in the U.S. Olympic Trials. Her impressive third-place finish among a strong field at the Bix 7 over the weekend suggests she is taking out her disappointment on the roads. Others include Lindsey Scherf , 25, who took fourth at the 2012 USA 15K Championship and second at the USA 25K Championship; and Rebecca Donaghue , 36, who finished in the top 20 in the U.S. Olympic trials for both the marathon and 10,000m and finished fifth at the 2009 TD Beach to Beacon.
In the men’s race, an injury to former Olympian and marathon legend Martin Lel and travel issues with a pair of young Ethiopians have thinned the field, but it still contains nine runners who have recorded sub 28:00 10Ks in their careers – with even faster times on the track.
One of the favorites is Atsedu Tsegay , 20, of Ethiopia, whose 58:47 in Prague this spring remains the fastest half marathon in the world so far in 2012 and is only 24 seconds off the world record. He is an Olympic team alternate for Ethiopia with a personal best (PR) of 27:46 at 10K. Tsegay will be making his American road racing debut.
Lucas Rotich , 22, of Kenya, is back after finishing second at the 2011 TD Beach to Beacon (27:56) and winning the Falmouth Road Race a week later. He has since recorded a blazing 26:43 on the track at 10,000m.
Kenyan Stanley Biwott , 26, broke course records at both the Paris Marathon (2:05:11) and Paris Half Marathon (59:04) already in 2012, and Gebretsadik Abraha , 20, of Ethiopia earned silver at the 2010 World Junior Championships at 10,000m.
Silas Kipruto , 27, of Kenya, won the Quad-City Bix 7 Mile over the weekend, outdueling fellow Kenyan Allan Kiprono , 22, who placed second in Iowa but already has three major wins on the American roads in 2012 and is returning to Cape Elizabeth after finishing fifth in 2011 and second in 2010.
Ed Muge , 29, of Kenya, who won the TD Beach to Beacon 10K in 2008 (setting a PR 27:52) and 2009, is back for his fifth consecutive race. He finished third last year and fifth in 2010.
Other contenders include Lelisa Desisa , 22, who is an alternate on the Ethiopian Olympic team after recording a 27:12 earlier this summer; Lewis Nyariki , 23, of Kenya, who has run 27:22 at 10,000m. Kiplomo Kumatai , 30, of Kenya, who is returning to the TD Beach to Beacon for the first time since his third place finish (a PR of 27:59) in 2008 and has recorded 27:17 on the track; and Sammy Chelanga , 27, of Kenya, who was an NCAA Cross Country champion at Liberty University, where he set an NCAA record at 10,000m (27:08.49), and is pursuing his U.S. citizenship.
The leading American entered is Sean Quigley , 27, a top U.S. distance runner and former NCAA champion at LaSalle.
“With all the excitement surrounding the London Games, this field is going to showcase a number of Olympic-caliber athletes right here in Maine,” said Race Founder Joan Benoit Samuelson, winner of the first Olympic women’s marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles Games.
(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.
In the women’s race, defending champ Sheri Piers, 41, of Falmouth, is the prohibitive favorite after competing at a high level in major road races across the country this season. She won the masters title while finishing 13th overall (34:38) at the famed Peachtree 10K in July and 15th overall in an elite field at the Freihofer’s Run for Women in June. Returning to Maine, she recently won the Yarmouth Clam Festival 5 Mile. A two-time TD Beach to Beacon Maine winner, Piers set the course record for Maine women in 2009 (34:17), which also placed her 10th overall.
Erica Jesseman , 23, of Scarborough is continuing to recover from injury but will be in the mix. She finished second to Piers in 2011 and is having a strong 2012 with a win at the L.L. Bean 10K and a runner up finish behind Piers at the Yarmouth Clam Festival 5 Mile. A wild card in the race is Abbey Leonardi , 18, of Kennebunkport, the top schoolgirl runner Maine has ever seen who will head to the University of Oregon this fall. Winner of four straight state Class A cross country titles and holder of numerous course records across Maine, the Kennebunk High grad has clocked a 17:18 at 5K this summer but will be making her debut at 10K and isn’t sure what to expect. Expect her to be in the mix.
In the Maine men’s race, 2011 champion Louie Luchini is attending the London Olympics with friends and will not defend his title. That leaves the door open for a number of talented Maine runners, led by Jonny Wilson , 24, of Falmouth, who is in top form after notching wins at the L.L. Bean 10K, Yarmouth Clam Festival 5 Mile and Ocean Park 5K.
He will be pushed by Ethan Shaw , 21, of Falmouth, a recent Dartmouth graduate who ran 29:17.89 on the track at 10,000m in April. Other contenders will include Robert Gomez , 28, of Westbrook, who finished just behind Wilson in the Ocean Park 5K, and Josh Zolla , 26, of Freeport, runner up to Wilson in Freeport and Yarmouth.
15th Year for Special Event
The 15th running of the TD Beach to Beacon 10K marks a significant milestone for a race that began with Joan Benoit Samuelson’s dream to stage a major road race in her native Cape Elizabeth.
A total of 2,408 runners finished the first race – this year the 6,000 mark could be eclipsed. In between, the race has earned a reputation as a not-to-be-missed event for both world-class athletes and recreational runners from Maine and across New England. Online registration closed in five minutes this year.
The TD Beach to Beacon’s growth in popularity and prestige can be traced back to a range of factors, including:
- The gorgeous course that 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.
- The tireless volunteers, nearly 750 strong, who handle parking and registration and provide water, first aid and security for the runners.
- The local hospitality, including a “home-stay” program for the elite athletes that rivals any in the sport.
- The flawless operation under the direction of Dave McGillivray and his team at DMSE Sports (www.dmsesports.com), considered one of the best race management companies in the business.
- The generous sponsors also give the race an edge, from title sponsor TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®, to the other major corporate partners – Hannaford, Poland Spring, MaineHealth, Fairchild Semiconductor, IDEXX, Nike, Northeast Delta Dental and WCSH6-TV.
- The involvement of Joan Benoit Samuelson, an ambassador and legend in her sport who leaves world-class athletes awestruck and continues to inspire recreational runners.
- Social awareness, as the race has a long history of commitment to the environment with a focus on recycling, reuse and eco-friendly activities. The race is applying this year for certification to the Council for Responsible Sport.
- The enthusiastic commitment of the host community, as police, fire and municipal officials serve with local residents on the 60-member, volunteer Organizing Committee, headed by Race President David Weatherbie of Cape Elizabeth, and residents turn out in huge numbers to support the runners along the course.
“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.”
Each finisher of Saturday’s race will receive a special medal commemorating the 15th race. The wheelchair entrants begin at 7:55 a.m. and the runners start at 8:10. In addition to prize money for the world-class athletes, other cash awards go to the top men and women master’s finishers, men and women M50 winners, men and women wheelchair entrants and men and women from Maine. Also, age category winners will receive L.L. Bean gift certificates.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.