Premiere American 10K road race, founded by Olympic hero Joan Benoit Samuelson, focusing attention on Let’s Go!, a nationally-recognized program promoting healthy habits in children
CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine (July 31, 2017) – With both returning champs in the field – Maine native Ben True and course record holder Mary Keitany – and special elements in place for the 20th running, the TD Beach to Beacon 10K is ready to shine on Saturday in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
This year’s group of world-class athletes – also including top American Shalane Flanagan, two-time Olympic gold medalist Meseret Defar and a trio of former TD Beach to Beacon champs – will be followed by more than 6,500 mostly recreational runners energized by cheering spectators along the scenic TD Beach to Beacon course in this iconic summer road race celebrating health, fitness and giving back.
With the TD Beach to Beacon reaching its 20-year milestone as well this year, organizers are marking the occasion in a number of ways, including unique finisher medals, a keepsake poster and other giveaways and for the first time, colored tech shirts for all runners. Also, Race Founder and Olympic Gold Medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson will join the field for just the fourth time in race history.
Charitable giving is an important component of the race. The 2017 beneficiary, Let’s Go!, is a nationally recognized program of The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center focused on increasing physical activity and healthy eating for children from birth to age 18. Let’s Go! (www.letsgo.org) will receive a $30,000 donation from the TD Charitable Foundation, the charitable giving arm of TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®, and further benefit from fundraising and publicity connected to the race.
TD has now donated $600,000 to Maine nonprofits over race history while the race’s charity bib program has enabled those organizations to generate an additional $1.5 million and counting.
In addition to title sponsor TD Bank, other corporate partners who help make the TD Beach to Beacon possible are Nike, Hannaford, Poland Spring, MaineHealth, IDEXX, Northeast Delta Dental, L.L.Bean, WCSH6, Olympia Sports and Maine Magazine.
“The 20th running of the TD Beach to Beacon truly is cause for celebration as this event has become more than just a race, it’s now an integral part of the community. And as a founding sponsor, TD is honored to be a part of that community,” said Larry Wold, President of TD Bank in Maine, who is one of the 117 legacy runners. “We are also proud to support this year’s beneficiary, Let’s Go!, as we applaud their success in getting children up and moving and thinking about what they eat. They are improving young lives in Maine, just as this race has transformed so many adult lives by providing people with the motivation to pursue their fitness and health goals. It’s a perfect match.”
Maine native and running legend Samuelson, winner of the first Olympic women’s marathon in 1984, founded the TD Beach to Beacon to realize her vision of creating a major international road race in her home state. The route follows the same coastal roads that the unassuming Samuelson trained on growing up in Cape Elizabeth. With her reputation, plus top-notch organization and strong community support, the TD Beach to Beach is known and appreciated as a world-class event with small-town charm.
In 2016, 6,336 runners from 15 countries, 43 states and more than 265 Maine cities and towns crossed the finish line, again making the race the largest in Northern New England. The TD Beach to Beacon debuted in 1998 with 2,408 finishers.
The TD Beach to Beacon 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.
Supported by 850 volunteers, 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.
Homegrown Hero Ben True Seeks a Repeat while Stellar Group of Challengers Look to Unseat Mary Keitany, the Course Record Holder
The stars might be aligned for defending champ Ben True in the men’s race, while a star-studded lineup of women athletes is ready for a run at Mary Keitany, who broke the course record last year.
They are part of a stellar field of professional runners that includes top Americans Shalane Flanagan and Jordan Hasay, two-time Olympic gold medalist Meseret Defar of Ethiopia, a trio of former TD Beach to Beacon champions – Joyce Chepkurui and Stephen Kosgei Kibet of Kenya and Ethiopian Wude Ayalew – and a host of other Olympians and All-Americans.
“There are some good people in the men’s race, but Ben is the favorite and that’s going to be fun to watch,” said Larry Barthlow, the TD Beach to Beacon’s Elite Athlete Coordinator. “The women’s race is another story. If the conditions are right, we’ve got five women who can run under 31 minutes and as many as eight who are capable of sub-32s. So it’s a deep, World Championships-type lineup with Mary leading the way, although a repeat by her is no sure thing.”
The elite athletes will compete for more than $90,000 in prize money, with $10,000 awarded to the winners in the men’s and women’s open races and payouts to the top 10 runners overall, courtesy of title sponsor TD Bank. Also included is a $23,000 purse for American men and women, sponsored by Dunkin’ Donuts, split evenly among the top five American men and women with a $5,000 top prize.
Last year Ben True became the first American – man or woman – to win the TD Beach to Beacon, meaning he took home both top payouts, $15,000 in all. Known as a fierce competitor, he is itching for a repeat result on Saturday.
A North Yarmouth native, True, 31, now lives and trains in West Lebanon, N.H. The Greely High School and Dartmouth College All-American has been focused on shorter distances on the track since winning in Cape Elizabeth, and just missed a spot on the U.S. team for the IAAF World Championships at 5000m.
On the roads, True has won both races he’s entered in the past year – a fierce, photo-finish at the Manchester (Conn.) Road Race last November and in April at the B.A.A. 5K in Boston, where his 13:20 lowered his American 5K record (set in 2015) by two seconds.
Two of the top challengers on Saturday will be familiar faces for True:
Stephen Kosgei-Kibet, 30, of Kenya, was the runner up at the 2014 TD Beach to Beacon, finishing just ahead of True, who took third, and then returned in 2015 and won the race. True was absent that year. Kibet missed the 2016 race due to visa issues.
Stephen Sambu, 29, of Kenya, finished just behind True in a two-man sprint finish at the B.A.A. 5K. The winner of the New York City Half Marathon in March, he has a career best 27:25 10K.
Other contenders include: Tariku Bekele, 30, of Ethiopia, the bronze medalist at 10,000m at the 2012 London Olympics; Leonard Kiplimo-Barsoton, 22, of Kenya, who won silver at the 2017 World Cross Country championships and ran a 27:42 at the 2016 World’s Best 10K; and Abdi Abdirahman, a four-time U.S. Olympian with top-10 performances in each of the past two TD Beach to Beacons.
The field also includes Cam Levins, 28, a Canadian Olympian with a personal best 27:07.51 at 10,000m; and Clement Langat, 25, of Kenya, who was second at the 2010 IAAF World Cross Country Junior Championships.
In addition to True, the field includes another professional runner with Maine ties, Will Geoghegan, 25, a Brunswick High School and Dartmouth College graduate. A 2014 Maine Resident champ, he finished 8th in 2015 in his professional debut at the TD Beach to Beacon.
Other top American distance runners rounding out the field are: Jonathon Grey, 29, who took 4th at the Quad-City Times Bix 7 over the weekend and 7th earlier in the month at the Peachtree 10K; Aaron Braun, 30, who placed 6th at the 2014 TD Beach to Beacon; Dan Huling and Mason Ferlic, two of America’s best at the steeplechase; and Ty McCormack, 24, who excels in the half marathon.
In the women’s division, race organizers are again featuring an Elite Women’s Start, which debuted last year. The 12-minute head start puts more of a spotlight on the women’s field, enabling spectators see them better. They will not be disappointed.
In 2016, Kenyan Mary Keitany, 35, pulled away from the field over the final few miles and won by almost a minute, clocking a blistering 30:45 to set a new course record. Her dominance has continued into 2017, including a record-setting victory at the London Marathon (2:17:01, a world record for an all-women’s race) and a dominating win in June at the NYRR New York Mini 10K in Central Park (31:20).
On Saturday, though, Keitany will square off against a handful of women who are capable to challenging her, led by Olympic silver medalist Shalane Flanagan, 36, who last ran the TD Beach to Beacon in 2014 and finished second (31:27). The American 10K record holder (30:52) suffered a back fracture earlier this year, but returned to competition in June and placed 4thin the 10,000m at the U.S. championships.
Other top contenders include:
- Ethiopian Wude Ayalew, 30, who won the 2015 TD Beach to Beacon (31:56) and returned last year to gamely battle Keitany before settling for second. This will be the fifth TD Beach to Beacon for Ayalew, a World Championship Bronze medalist who also placed second at the 2010 TD Beach to Beacon in 31:07, the third fastest time ever on the course.
- Joyce Chepkirui, 28, of Kenya, winner of the 2013 TD Beach to Beacon in 31:23 – the fourth fastest time on the course. Her best 10K time is 30:37.
- Ethiopian Meseret Defar, 33, a two-time Olympic gold medalist (2004, 2012) with a bronze (2008) as well at 5000m. She is a six-time world champion, has set nine world records and still holds the world record in the road 5K (14:46). Defar once recorded a 29:59.2 at 10,000m.
- Diane Nukuri, 33, a three-time Olympian for Burundi who has four top-10 finishes at the TD Beach to Beacon, including a 2nd in 2015 (32:00) and 3rd in 2014 (31:56).
- Jordan Hasay, 25, of Beaverton, Ore., who broke the U.S. marathon debut record (2:23:00) while finishing 3rd at the 2017 Boston Marathon. A 16-time All-American at Oregon, she ran her first 10K as a professional runner at the 2014 TD Beach to Beacon, finishing 4th in 32:20. Hasay placed 3rd at the recent Peachtree 10K.
- Purity Rionorijpo, 24, of Kenya, the 2009 World Youth Champion who won the 2017 Paris Marathon champion, also is in the mix.
The remaining American distance runners include Erin Finn, 22, an All-American at Michigan; Emma Bates, 25, a 12-time All-American at Boise State; Katie Matthews, 26, a five-time All-American at Boston University who placed 5th at the 2013 NCCA Outdoor Championships at 10,000m; Margo Malone, an All-American at Syracuse who placed 7th at the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Championships at 10,000m; Emma Ketesz, 27, an All-American at the University of Toledo; Lindsey Scherf, 30, who won the Gasparilla Half Marathon and placed 5th in the U.S. 15K Championships this year; Sarah Pease, 26, an All-American in the steeplechase at Indiana who placed 6th at the Quad-City Times Bix 7; Marci Klimek, 29; and Maura Linde, 24, a former Syracuse standout.
(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.
Defending champ Michelle Lilienthal, 35, of Portland (who also won in 2015 in a course record 33:39) is the favorite to become one of four Maine women with three titles to their name. She will be challenged in her bid by Emily Durgin, 23, of Standish, a former Cheverus High and University of Connecticut standout. Durgin, who missed last year’s race due to injury, has a second (2015) and a third (2013) to her credit. Other contenders include Erica Jesseman, 28, of Scarborough, a two-time champ, the ageless Sheri Piers, 46, one of those three-time Maine champs (along with Julia Kirtland and Emily Levan) who also is favored in the elite Master’s category, Leah Frost, and Sofia Canning, a senior at Dickinson.
On the men’s side, defending champion Jesse Orach, 23, of Gorham will try to be the first repeat winner in the men’s race since True in 2008-09. He is favored along with Ben Decker of Yarmouth, the 2015 champ and a senior at Williams College. Other contenders include Liam Simpson, a Cape Elizabeth graduate who is also a senior at Williams, as well as Rob Gomez of Windham and Alexander Moser of Portland.
Other contenders include Spencer McElwain, 27, of Portland, winner of the Clam Festival Classic 5 Mile earlier this month; Alexander Moser, 23, of Portland, who beat McElwain to win the Ocean Park 5K on July 29; Rob Gomez, 32, of Windham, and former Bowdoin College track standout Sam Seekins.
Elite Wheelchair Race Most Competitive Ever
Fittingly for the 20th race, this year’s men’s wheelchair division is the largest and deepest in the history of the TD Beach to Beacon. The racers with the three fastest times ever on the course – Tony Nogueira (22:17), Krige Schabort (21:53) and James Senbata (21:46) – will square off in the men’s race -while the women’s race will see multiple competitors for the first time in recent memory.
Nogueira, 49, of Glen Ridge, N.J., is the defending champ and a familiar name as he has won 10 TD Beach to Beacon titles – the most wins by anyone in a major category of the race. Schabort, 53, of Rome, Ga., shattered the course record when he won the 2013 race. Senbeta, 30, of Champaign, Illinois, then lowered the record in winning the 2015 race, with Nogueira just behind in 22:17, his best time on the course.
Other competitors include Hermin Garic, 27, of Utica, N.Y.; Olarinde Omojola, 28, of Hillside, N.J.; Gary Brendel, 58, of Sterling, Mass.; Richard Agee, 37, of Brooks, Ky.; and Jason Robinson, 14, of Utica, N.Y. Agee and Robinson are first-time competitors at the TD Beach to Beacon.
In the women’s race, Christina Kouros‘ win streak is in jeopardy. The 22-yer-old Cape Elizabeth woman is seeking her fourth straight win, and fifth in six years. But this year the race favorite is newcomer Hannah Babalola, 29, of Newark, N.J., who won the B.A.A. 10K in June. She will be challenged by another newcomer, Yen Hoang, 20, of Champaign, Illinois, who is the 2016 Falmouth Road Race champion.
Local Support Makes TD Beach to Beacon 10K a Success
The TD Beach to Beacon is overseen by its 60-member, volunteer Organizing Committee, headed by Race President Mike Stone of Portland. 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 850 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. In addition, the Town of Cape Elizabeth is especially helpful – providing police, fire and emergency services and staff to help ensure the event runs smoothly.
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. Last year the race achieved Evergreen Certification, becoming the first major road race of its size in North America – and only the sixth event ever worldwide – to earn the distinction from the Council for Responsible Sport, which conducted a rigorous review of the TD Beach to Beacon environmental and social sustainability programs.
For additional information about the race, visit www.beach2beacon.org, and follow the race 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. The Foundation’s mission is to support individuals, families and businesses in the communities that TD Bank serves. The Foundation has made more than $167.3 million in charitable donations since its inception in 2002, primarily in the areas of affordable housing, financial literacy and education, and the environment. More information on the TD Charitable Foundation, including an online grant application, is available at www.TDBank.com.
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Elite Athlete Fields for the 2017 TD Beach to Beacon 10K (as of July 20, 2017)
1 Ben True USA
3 Stephen Sambu Kenya
4 Stephen Kosgei-Kibet Kenya
5 Leonard Kiplimo-Barsoton Kenya
6 Tariku Bekele Ethiopia
7 Will Geoghegan USA
8 Tadese Tola Ethiopia
9 Clement Kiprono-Langat Kenya
11 Cam Levins Canada
12 Jonathan Grey USA
13 Mason Ferlic USA
14 Abdi Abdirahman USA
15 Aaron Braun USA
18 Dan Huling USA
19 Ty McCormack USA
100 Mary Keitany Kenya
101 Shalane Flanagan USA
102 Jordan Hasay USA
103 Joyce Chepkirui Kenya
104 Wude Ayalew Ethiopia
109 Meseret Defar Ethiopia
107 Diane Nukuri Burundi
105 Purity Rionorijpo Kenya
108 Erin Finn USA
111 Mamitu Daska Ethiopia
113 Emma Bates USA
114 Katie Matthews USA
115 Margo Malone USA
117 Lindsey Sherf USA
118 Marci Klimek USA
119 Sarah Pease USA
120 Maura Linde USA
145 Emma Ketesz USA