CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine (July 28, 2014) – Two of America’s most decorated distance runners – Olympic medalists Meb Keflezighi and Shalane Flanagan – headline a field of talented world-class athletes who will join top runners in Maine and across New England in Cape Elizabeth on Saturday (Aug. 2) for the 17 th TD Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race.
More than 6,000 recreational runners will follow the front-of-the-pack athletes along the scenic TD Beach to Beacon course, cheered on by thousands of spectators who line the coastal route to support this now classic American summer road race that celebrates health, fitness and giving back.
The beneficiary of this year’s race is Rippleffect ( www.rippleffect.net ), a Portland-based non-profit youth and community development organization leading outdoor adventure programs on Cow Island, in area schools and in the mountains of western Maine. The organization receives a check for $30,000 from the TD Charitable Foundation, the charitable giving arm of TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank ® and further benefits from fundraising activities and publicity through its association with the race.
Title sponsor TD Bank has now donated $510,000 over the history of the race to Maine charities. The race’s other corporate partners are Nike, Hannaford, Poland Spring, MaineHealth, Fairchild Semiconductor, IDEXX, Northeast Delta Dental, WCSH6, Dead River Company and Olympia Sports.
“The TD Beach to Beacon 10K continues to be a positive, life-changing force for so many people, year after year. We remain honored to have supported this event from the beginning and appreciate that it has been embraced by so many people,” said Larry Wold, TD Bank President for Maine, who is one of 130 runners who has run every race. “This year’s beneficiary, Rippleffect, is a hands-on, innovative leadership and confidence-building organization that is strengthening our communities – a perfect fit for what this race represents.”
Maine native and running legend Joan Benoit Samuelson, winner of the first Olympic women’s marathon in 1984, founded the TD Beach to Beacon in 1998 as a way to give back to her state and community by creating a major road race. The route follows the same coastal roads that the unassuming Samuelson trained on in Cape Elizabeth. With her reputation, plus top-notch organization and strong community support, the race quickly gained a reputation as a world-class event with small-town charm.
Last year, a record 6,244 runners crossed the finish line. A total of 2,408 finished the first race. Online registration now closes in less than five minutes. The course 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 photographed lighthouse in America.
This year’s field will include runners from 11 countries and 42 U.S. states plus D.C. 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.
Boston Marathon Heroes Lead Professional Field Featuring Returning Champs, Record Holders and a Talented Native Son
Two of the brightest names in American distance running – Meb Keflezighi and Shalane Flanagan – will lead a talented field of world-class runners assembled for the 2014 TD Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race.
Both of the 2013 champions – Kenyans Micah Kogo and Joyce Chepkirui – are back, plus Maine native Ben True is returning to the race for the first time as a professional runner and is expected to make a strong push for the elite title.
“There are no distance runners in the U.S. right now who are more popular and recognizable than Meb and Shalane, so having them together in our race is a real treat,” said Larry Barthlow, the elite athlete coordinator who assembled the field. “But there are a number of other interesting storylines as well. Can Micah and Joyce repeat? Will the stars align for Ben True in his return to Maine? We have an exceptional American field this year, one of our strongest ever, but an American has never won this race and there is a contingent of East Africans ready to keep it that way. It’s going to be a great race day.”
Both Keflezighi and Flanagan are coming off record-setting performances at the 2014 B.A.A. Boston Marathon.
Propelled by chants of ‘USA! USA!’ down the homestretch,Meb Keflezighi ’s victory at Boston Marathon marked the first win by an American since 1983 and the oldest male winner 84 years. Now 39, he has raced sparingly since his historic win. Over the weekend, he led the Quad-City Times Bix 7 for five miles before his hamstring tightened and he dropped off the pace to finish 12 th .
But Keflezighi, who won silver at the 2004 Olympics, has a solid history at the TD Beach to Beacon. His impressive sub-28:00 at the 2007 race (27:58), which was good enough for fourth in a strong field, is the highest ever placing for an American man in Cape Elizabeth. He placed fifth in 2013.
Shalane Flanagan remains in top form after her record-setting day in Boston. She charged to the lead and held on for 19 miles before being overtaken and ultimately finishing seventh in a personal record 2:22:02 – the fastest time ever recorded by an American woman in Boston’s 118-year history. She is now the third fastest female American marathoner ever, after Deena Kastor and Olympic champion Joan Benoit Samuelson, founder of the TD Beach to Beacon.
Last week, she won the half marathon at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Festival in Chicago in 1:09:45, the second fastest half-marathon by an American woman so far in 2014.
Flanagan, 33, who grew up in Marblehead, Mass., ran the TD Beach to Beacon once as a teenager. In the years since, she has set American records in the 3000m (indoor), 5000m (indoor), 10,000m and 15K road race, won the bronze in the 2008 Olympics at 10,000m, finished second at the 2010 New York Marathon and won the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials. Flanagan is presently training for the fall marathon season, with her stated goal to run a sub 2:20.
Ben True , a North Yarmouth, Maine native, last ran the TD Beach to Beacon in 2009, shattering the Maine Resident course record (29:10) and placing 10 th overall. Soon thereafter, the former All-American at Greely High School and Dartmouth College moved to Oregon to focus on his professional running career.
Now 28 and training in New Hampshire, True is aiming at the Open title this year. He has carried his success in 2013 – runner up at the Falmouth Road Race, sixth the World Cross Country Championships (the highest finish for an American since 1995) and narrowly missing the World Championships in two track events – into 2014. He won the USA 15K Championship at the Gate River Run and in May set a personal best 13:02.74 for a gritty win in the 5,000m at the Payton Jordan Invitational at Stanford.
Returning champ Micah Kogo , 28, of Kenya, is an Olympic bronze medalist at 10,000m who utilized his track speed to win the TD Beach to Beacon in two of the past three years – 28:03 in 2013 and 27:47 in 2011. He once ran 27:01 in a 10K road race to set a world record and finished second (2:10:27) in his marathon debut at the 2013 Boston Marathon.
Other men in the field include: Stephen Kipkosgei-Kibet , 27, runner up (28:01) at 2012 TD Beach to Beacon who set a personal best 27:52 to place 4 th in 2010; Bedan Karoki , 23, a Japan-based Kenyan who finished fifth at 10,000m at the 2012 London Olympics and recorded an impressive sub-27 on the track at the Prefontaine Classic in May (26:52.36); Patrick Makau , 29, of Kenya, who is a former world record holder in the marathon (2:03:38); Emmanuel Bett , 29, of Kenya, a late-blooming elite athlete with blazing track speed who recorded the fastest 10,000m in the world for 2012 – 26:51.16; and Afawerki Berhane Hidru , an 18-year-old from Eritrea who arrived on American soil for the first time earlier this year to win the Bolder Boulder 10K and place fourth at Bay to Breakers. Also, Sam Chelanga , 29, who was born in Kenya and is in the process of obtaining U.S. citizenship, is an NCAA record holder who ran a PB 13:05.35 at 5000m in February. Kenyan Stanley Biwott , winner of the 2012 TD Beach to Beacon, has been scratched due to injury.
Other American men in the field include Chris Solinsky, 29, who was the first non-African to break the 27-minute barrier at 10,000m (26:59.60) in 2010, setting an American record at that time, Fernando Cabada , 32, former holder of the American record at 25K; Michael Eaton , 27, who placed fourth at the 2012 USA Half Marathon Championships; Taylor Gilland , 23, a former University of Virginia track standout who now lives in Boston; and Mike Popejoy , 28, who ran at Notre Dame.
On the women’s side, in addition to Flanagan, Joyce Chepkirui , 25, is expected to make a strong bid for her second straight win against a solid field of athletes. Her victory in Maine set off a chain of road race conquests last fall, including a personal best 30:37 at the 2013 ASICS Grand 10 in Berlin, the fastest-ever 10K on German soil. In April, she set her personal best (1:06:19) and a course record at the Prague Half Marathon.
Chepkirui’s closest challenger last year also is back. Gemma Steel , 28, of Great Britain, recorded a personal best 31:26 to stay within striking distance. She duplicated that second-place performance at the Falmouth Road Race a week later.
Also in the mix will be Kenyan Emily Chebet , 28, two-time winner of the IAAF World Cross Country Championships who was runner up at the 2012 TD Beach to Beacon (31:52) by .6 of a second; Ethiopians Tadelech Bekele , 23, who finished a few steps behind Chepkirui at the Berlin 10K last fall in a personal best 30:38, and Aselefech Meriga, 29, one of the top all-time marathoners (2:19:31); and two top-10 finishers from the 2013 TD Beach to Beacon – Diane Nukuri-Johnson , 29, a two-time Olympian from Burundi who won Bay to Breakers in May, and Alexi Pappas , 24, a five-time All American at Dartmouth and Oregon who made her professional road racing debut last year, finishing 10 th in a personal best 32:55.
Jordan Hasay , 22, a former high school phenom and 18-time All-American at Oregon, also has been added to the field. She ran a personal best 10,000m (31:39.67) at the Payton Jordan Invitational in May, the fifth fastest in the world so far in 2014, and in June placed second in the 10,000m at the 2014 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. She made headlines as a teen, rewriting the Junior Olympic record books and running in the 1500m finals of the USA Olympic Trials as a high school junior. Hasay is the most decorated runner in Oregon history, recording nine top-three NCAA finishes – including two national titles – before launching her professional career last summer.
Other Americans in the field include Desiree Linden , who finished 10 th at the 2014 Boston Marathon; Megan Hogan , who has a PB 32:34 at 10K; Blake Russell , a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team; Frances Koons, a nine-time All-American at Villanova; Katie Matthews , 23, a five-time All-American at Boston University; andJen Rhines , a three-time U.S. Olympian whose 32:21 at the 2003 TD Beach to Beacon is the third-fastest ever for an American woman in the event.
In the wheelchair division, Alinco Omojolo , 25, of Newark, N.J., is expected to make a strong bid against a pair of familiar faces – Tony Nogueira , 46, of Glen Ridge, N.J., a record eight-time winner of the TD Beach to Beacon, and Patrick Doak , 46, of Carlisle, Mass., a three-time winner. Two-time champ Christina Kouros, 19, of Cape Elizabeth, is the lone female wheelchair entrant.
(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.
On the men’s side, Louie Luchini , 33, of Ellsworth, the 2011 Maine champ (30:36), is returning this year and will share the “favorite” label with Will Geoghegan , 22, of Brunswick, a Dartmouth All-American who finished second last year (30:34). Jonny Wilson , 26, of Falmouth also is back, determined to improve on his third place (30:49) finish in 2013, which followed two consecutive runner up tallies.
For the women, defending champ Erica Jesseman , 25, of Scarborough (34:17.6), who narrowly missed the course record last year, is expected to face stiff competition from Michelle (Frey) Lilienthal , 32, a professional runner from the Midwest who recently moved to Maine and now lives in Portland.
Lilienthal, then living in Minnesota, actually finished just ahead of Jesserman at the 2013 TD Beach to Beacon to win her age-group. This year, a similar result will put $1,000 in prize money into Lilienthal’s pocket as the Maine Resident champ (and set a Maine Resident course record). But Jesserman, perhaps still smarting from getting beat by Lilienthal at L.L. Bean 10K in July, is sure to put up a good fight. Three-time champ Sheri Piers , 43, of Falmouth, now a master’s runner, also will be in the hunt.
Group Efforts Behind Success of TD Beach to Beacon 10K
The TD Beach to Beacon is overseen by its 60-member, volunteer Organizing Committee, headed by Race President Mike Stone of Portland, who is overseeing his first race after many years on the board. Local residents from all walks of life, plus police, fire, medical and municipal officials serve on the committee to plan the event. Maya Cohen of Cape Elizabeth coordinates the 800 volunteers who are central to the success of the race.
Local residents also open up their homes for the elite athletes as part of a “home-stay” program that is second to none. The TD Beach to Beacon also has a long history of commitment to the environment with a focus on recycling, reuse and eco-friendly activities.
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 best in the business.
“Given the level of dedication exhibited day after day, year after year, by so many people at so many levels, it’s no surprise that the TD Beach to Beacon has become what it has,” said race founder Joan Benoit Samuelson, who will again be at the finish line on Saturday greeting runners. “As we prepare to celebrate another year and see the smiles on the faces of the runners, organizers, volunteers and spectators, it’s important to remember all the hard work that goes into this. It truly is an inspiration.”
A staunch commitment to active involvement in the local community is a vital element of the TD Bank philosophy. TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank ® and the TD Charitable Foundation provide support to affordable housing, financial literacy and education, and environmental initiative, many of which focus on improving the welfare of children and families.For additional information about the race, visit www.beach2beacon.org, 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 ®
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