CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine (July 27, 2010) – A pair of running legends – Catherine Ndereba and Khalid Khannouchi – and an Ethiopian couple who are among the hottest road racers in the world, have joined an already talented field for the upcoming TD Bank Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, race organizers announced Tuesday.
The late additions include Gebre Gebremariam, 25, of Ethiopia, who is coming off an impressive win (27:56) at the AJC Peachtree Road Race. Well-known for his sprinter’s kick, in May he ran the fastest-ever 10K in Central Park (27:42) at the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K. The 2009 IAAF World Cross Country champ who also finished fourth at 5000m in the 2004 Olympics, Gebremariam is currently ranked 14 th in the world by Running Times.
He will be joined at the TD Bank Beach to Beacon 10K ( www.beach2beacon.org ) by his wife, Worknesh Kidane, 28, a former World Cross Country champion and World Championship silver medalist on the track. She took third (31:18) in a strong field at the NYRR New York Mini 10K in June and won the Great Manchester Run (31:19) in England in May.
Ndereba and Khannouchi, household names in the running world, are both familiar faces marking their returns to the TD Bank Beach to Beacon after long absences.
Ndereba, 38, a Kenyan running legend and two-time Olympic marathon silver medalist known as ‘Catherine the Great’, is a five-time TD Bank Beach to Beacon champ and former course record holder (31:33). She last competed in the race in 2004, ending a remarkable run that included winning five of the first six, including the first four races from 1998-2001.
A four-time BAA Boston Marathon champ, two-time World Champ and former world-record holder, Ndereba won silver medals in the marathon at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.
“It’s going to be really special to see Catherine back in the TD Bank Beach to Beacon,” said Larry Barthlow, the race’s elite athlete coordinator. “She started winning our race right at the point that her running career really skyrocketed. I know she enjoys coming to Maine, and she is extremely popular here.”
The TD Bank Beach to Beacon also holds special meaning for Khannouchi, also 38, who won the 1999 TD Bank Beach to Beacon (27:48) as a Moroccan, then returned to Maine a year later to compete in his very first race after gaining U.S. citizenship. Like Ndereba, he last took part in the TD Bank Beach to Beacon in 2004.
A former world record holder in the marathon and four-time Chicago Marathon champ who still holds the American marathon record (2:05:38), Khannouchi is on the comeback trail after a series of injuries, including foot surgeries, derailed his career. He hasn’t run competitively since 2008.
He is using the TD Bank Beach to Beacon 10K as a third and final test to gauge his fitness toward his ultimate goal of competing in a marathon this fall, according to reports.
“We know our race holds a special place in Khalid’s heart as he ran here first as an American citizen, and we’re really happy to have him back as he continues his climb back into competitive racing,” Barthlow said. “He is a true legend in this sport.”
Barthlow also noted that Martin Lel of Kenya, who is one of the world’s top marathoners with three London Marathon and two New York City Marathon titles, has confirmed that he will take part in the race.
Lel, who finished fifth in the marathon at the 2008 Olympics, won the Mardi Gras Half Marathon earlier this year but pulled out the London Marathon in April due to injury. He is now healthy, Barthlow said.
The new additions join a strong elite field that was announced in June, including both defending champs, Ed Muge, 27, who will seeking his third straight title, and Irene Limika, 30, both of Kenya.
In addition to Ndereba, Limika will face an especially star-studded field of young runners.
Kenyan Lineth Chepkurui, 22, ranked 9 th in the world by Running Times, is coming off a dominating victory at the AJC Peachtree 10K (30:51). Dubbed the ‘Queen of the Roads,’ she ran the fastest 10K (30:45) so far in 2010 at the Crescent City Classic and set a world record at 12K (38:07) at the ING Bay to Breakers.
Also in the field is Edna Kipligat, 30, of Kenya, who set a course record (47:57), earlier this month to win the Utica Boilermaker 15K and also won the 2010 Los Angeles marathon (2:25:38).
Barthlow also confirmed Tuesday that Wude Ayalew Yimer, 23, of Ethiopia, is returning to the TD Bank Beach to Beacon 10K for the first time since 2007, when she came in as a race favorite but got tangled with another runner early in the race, never recovered and finished a disappointing fourth. She has improved since, taking home the bronze medal at 10,000m at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, and setting a new course record (31:58) to win the 2010 World 10K Run in India.
Top American runners Rebecca Donaghue and Ilsa Paulson also are in the field.
The TD Bank Beach to Beacon 10K ( www.beach2beacon.org ), set for Saturday, Aug. 7 in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, was founded by Olympic champion Joan Benoit Samuelson, a Cape Elizabeth, Maine native and running icon.
Prize money for the winner of the men’s and women’s races is $10,000. In all, nearly $60,000 in prize money will be awarded to the top finishers and place winners in the various categories for men and women. A $2,500 bonus also is available for any runner who breaks an open course record.For additional information about the race, visit www.beach2beacon.org, and find the TD Beach to Beacon on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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