CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine (February 12, 2009) – Runners, take your mark – and mark your calendars for noon on Sunday, March 15. That’s when online registration for the 2009 TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon 10K is set to begin.
Race organizers expanded the field size to 6,000 this year – an increase of 500 runners – but still anticipate the race filling up as soon or sooner than last year’s record of 26 hours.
“We are encouraging – make that urging – anyone who wants to participate in the race to go online and register soon after it opens on March 15 because there’s no way to know how long it will take before it fills up,” said David Weatherbie, the race president.
Online registration is the only way for runners to enter the popular international road race, set for Saturday, Aug. 1 along the Maine coast in Cape Elizabeth. Race organizers stopped using optional paper registrations in 2008.
Runners register by going to the race website at www.beach2beacon.org, where they also can find more information and further instructions. The 2009 race entry fee is $35.
Also new this year, race organizers have moved the popular Kids Fun Run to the Friday (July 31) before the race. In past years, the kid’s event was held at Fort Williams Park following the road race and before the award’s ceremony. Registration will begin online on March 15 as well. The location and time of the kids event is still to be determined.
“We decided to give the Kids Fun Run its own day to showcase the event and give it its own place in the sun,” Weatherbie said. “We also see this as another way to give the TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon more of a race weekend feel.”
The growing popularity of the TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon prompted race organizers to increase the field size by 500. By moving the kid’s race to Friday, they also are confident the increased number of runners will be more easily absorbed at the finish in Fort Williams Park.
“With demand so great, it made sense to try to accommodate more runners, which we feel can be managed without impacting safety and the quality of the race,” Weatherbie said.
The field size has doubled since it began with 3,000 runners in 1998. The race grew to 4,000 in 1999, 5,000 in 2002, and 5,500 in 2006.
Even with the increased field sizes, registration for the race has consistently closed earlier and earlier each year. In the early years, the race did not fill up until June. By 2007, it closed in 10 days. Last year – the first year of online-only registration – it filled in a mere 26 hours.
The TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon is one of Maine’s premiere sporting events and one of the most popular events on the U.S. road race circuit. The race draws runners from throughout the region and the world to the small coastal community of Cape Elizabeth. Thousands of spectators cheer on the runners along the picturesque course and at the finish, and more than 800 volunteers help ensure a smooth operation.
The race begins near the Crescent Beach entrance on Route 77 in Cape Elizabeth, winds past breathtaking ocean vistas, and ends in Fort Williams Park at the historic and stunning Portland Head Light, the most photographed lighthouse in the world.
More than $60,000 in prize money is awarded to the top finishers and place winners in the various categories for men and women. For more information, visitwww.beach2beacon.org.
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.