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Star-Studded Field Lined Up For Beach To Beacon

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Aug. 4, 2011
Two-time Olympic silver medalist in the marathon, Catherine Ndereba, will be racing the Beach to Beacon 10K. Photo: PhotoRun.net

Two-time Olympic silver medalist in the marathon, Catherine Ndereba, will be racing the Beach to Beacon 10K. Photo: PhotoRun.net

Olympic bronze medalist and American-record holder Deena Kastor will be there.

From: Running USA

CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine – (August 2, 2011) – Top road racers from around the globe, including U.S. marathon record holder and 2004 Olympic medalist Deena Kastor, will join the best in Maine and New England in Cape Elizabeth on Saturday, Aug. 6 for the 14th running of the TD Bank Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race.

Professional athletes from Africa, Asia and Europe will share the scenic coastal course with thousands of recreational runners who receive cheers and encouragement from excited spectators. The festive atmosphere each year re-affirms the TD Bank 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 11 countries and 41 U.S. states. Maine native and Olympic gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson is the founder of the TD Bank Beach to Beacon 10K.

More than $60,000 in prize money is at stake, including a $10,000 prize to each race champion. Also, a $2500 bonus is available for an Open course record and $500 for a course record 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 Day One, a non-profit agency providing substance abuse prevention, intervention, treatment, and aftercare programs for Maine youth. TD Bank, through the TD Charitable Foundation, will provide a cash donation of $30,000 to the organization, which also is benefiting from fundraising activities and publicity through its association with the race.

“We are proud to continue supporting the TD Bank Beach to Beacon, a special event made possible by the hard work and dedication of everyone involved,” said Larry Wold, TD Bank Market President for Maine who has run in every previous TD Bank Beach to Beacon (40:08 in 2010, 342nd overall) and is ready to compete again on Saturday. “This year’s race beneficiary organization, Day One, does a remarkable job helping Maine youth avoid and overcome substance abuse and lead happy, productive lives. We are honored to support Day One and its efforts.”

American Deena Kastor and Kenyan Catherine Ndereba, Olympic medalists and running legends, headline the women’s field for the TD Bank Beach to Beacon 10K, while the talented men’s field could be the fastest ever, even with the late withdrawal of reigning champ Gebre Gebremariam due to scheduling issues with the Ethiopian Athletics Federation (EAF).

Kastor, one of the most decorated American distance runners over the past decade, will make her debut in Cape Elizabeth as part of her selective return to competitive racing after giving birth to her first child in February. The 25-time USA champion is preparing for the Olympic Marathon Trials in January, hoping to chase gold in London in 2012.

Kastor, 38, who won bronze at the 2004 Olympic Marathon, holds the U.S. record in the marathon and half-marathon and finished first at the prestigious Chicago and London Marathons, has always wanted to add the TD Bank Beach to Beacon 10K to her resume.

“I am finally running Beach to Beacon, which for years has been at the top of my list for races I want to run,” Kastor said recently in an interview with Road Race Weekly. “Joan Benoit Samuelson continues to be a hero of mine and a great source of inspiration in running and in life. Not only is the race founded by Joan, but it is not surprisingly also known for its competitiveness and hospitality.”

Kastor first broke Samuelson’s 18-year-old U.S. marathon record in 2003, then lowered the mark to 2:19:36 in 2006.

Kastor will be joined by Catherine Ndereba, 39, a two-time Olympic silver medalist who also once held the world marathon record (2:18:47). She is a four-time BAA Boston Marathon champ and two-time World champ. Ndereba won five of the first six TD Bank Beach to Beacons and is the former course record holder (31:33). Following a five-year absence, Ndereba returned to the race in 2010 and, rehabbing an injury, finished sixth.

Kastor and Ndereba are not likely to contend for the TD Bank Beach to Beacon title, especially with Ethiopians Wude Ayalew and Aheza Kiros pushing the pace. Another top Ethiopian, Werknesh Kidane, has been scratched due to scheduling conflicts with the EAF.

Other top American women in the race include Adriana Pirtea-Nelson, 31, of Fort Collins, Colo., a former Romanian national champ who recently gained U.S. citizenship, and Rebecca Donohue, 35, of State College, Pa., who recorded top six finishes in 2009 and 2008 in the TD Bank Beach to Beacon.

Top American men in the race include Patrick Smyth, 25, who won the Deseret News 10K (28:11) in Salt Lake City on July 25, and Tim Young, 23, and Paul Hefferon, 25, both of Rochester Hills, Mich.

“I’m quite satisfied with the elite field that we’ve assembled,” said Elite Athlete Coordinator Larry Barthlow. “It’s an honor to have Deena and Catherine in the race, and with the men, I’m just so excited to see how it all shakes out with so many really talented athletes with a legitimate shot at winning. With all that speed, if the conditions are right, you’re going to see some amazing times.”

Maine Road Race Champions to be Crowned
The TD Bank Beach to Beacon is considered the jewel for Maine’s top road racers and the winner of the Maine Resident race each year wears the unofficial crown as the Maine Road Race Champion.

In the women’s race, the question is whether 22-year-old Erica Jesseman of Scarborough is finally ready to wrest the title away from her two training partners, Sheri Piers, 40, of Falmouth and Kristin Barry, 37, of Scarborough, who have won the past three titles and have each held the course record (Piers’ 34:17 is the present record).

The intrigue has been building this summer. Piers won the L.L. Bean 10K Road Race on July 4 while Jesseman, a former University of New Hampshire standout, was busy winning the Bridgton Four on the Fourth. They met head-to-head two weeks later at the Clam Festival 5M and Jesseman won by 14 seconds. Over the weekend, Barry, the reigning TD Bank Beach to Beacon champ, edged Jesseman at the Ocean Park 5K Road Race. The stage is now set for Saturday’s showdown.

In the Maine men’s race, a new winner will be crowned as defending champ Patrick Tarpy of Yarmouth is not able to take part this year.

That leaves Ellsworth’s Louie Luchini as the favorite. Maine’s most decorated collegiate athlete ever, Luchini, 30, was a 10-time All-American at Stanford and now serves as a Maine state representative. He will be pushed by Jonny Wilson, 23, of Falmouth, who won the July 16 Pat’s Pizza Clam Festival Classic 5 Mile in Yarmouth (24:58) and the Ocean Park 5K (14:56).

Other contenders include Ethan Shaw, 21, of Falmouth; Riley Masters, 21, of Orono; Nick Wheeler, 25, of Rockland and Josh Zolla, 25, of Freeport, who won the L.L. Bean 10K Road Race in July and finished second in the Ocean Park 5K.

TD Bank Beach to Beacon 10K Professional Field – as of 08-01-11
MEN
Shawn Forrest, Australia
Tekeste Kebede, Ethiopia
Toshinari Takaoka, Japan
Micah Kogo, Kenya
Mike Kigen, Kenya
Ed Muge, Kenya
Alan Kiprono, Kenya
Hosea Mwok Macharinyang, Kenya
Lani Rutto, Kenya
Lucas Rotich, Kenya
Sammy Chelanga, Kenya
James Koskei, Kenya
Gilbert Okari, Kenya
Patrick Smyth, USA
Paul Hefferon, USA
Tim Young, USA

WOMEN
Benita Willis, Australia
Diane Nukuri-Johnson, Burundi
Bizunesh Deba, Ethiopia
Wude Ayalew, Ethiopia
Aheza Kiros, Ethiopia
Mikister Mekonnin, Ethiopia
Belainesh Gebre, Ethiopia
Kathy Butler, Great Britain 
Yumi Sato, Japan
Yosiko Fujinaga, Japan
Yui Sakai, Japan
Catherine Ndereba, Kenya
Jelliah Tinea, Kenya
Deena Kastor, USA
Rebecca Donaghue, USA
Melissa White, USA
Adriana Pirtea-Nelson, USA

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at Competitor.com and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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