Quality Fields For Beach To Beacon Announced

Aheza Kiros winning the 2011 TD Beach Beacon 10K. Photo: Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly

Aheza Kiros returns to defend her crown.

(c) 2012 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved.Used with permission.

Organizers of the TD Beach to Beacon 10K in Cape Elizabeth, Me., announced their elite athlete fields yesterday, headed by women’s defending champion Aheza Kiros. Celebrating its 15th edition on August 4, the picturesque road race that runs along the shore of the Atlantic Ocean was founded by 1984 Olympic Marathon gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson.

Kiros, who won last year’s race by 26 seconds, hopes to successfully reclaim her crown when finishing in the shadows of Portland Head Lighthouse. The 30-year-old from Ethiopia has had a good 2012 season thus far, notching three runner-up finishes, which include a pair of 10 km races: the NYRR New York Mini 10-K and the B.A.A. 10-K in Boston.

Joining her on the starting line will be course record holder and 2010 champion Lineth Chepkurui of Kenya. Chepkurui’s 30:59.4 winning time in 2010 still stands as the fastest 10 km ever run in the state of Maine. That year’s runner-up, Wude Ayalew, also returns. Ethiopia’s Aberu Kebede, Kenya’s Margaret Wangari Muriuki, and Russia’s Valentina Galimova and Kseniya Agafonova will be among the 6000 starters expected for the race. Among the Americans will be Julia Lucas –the heart-breaking fourth place finisher at the United States Olympic Trials 5000m– Katie McGregor, Lindsey Scherf, and Renee Baillie.

On the men’s side, eleven athletes in the field have broken 28 minutes on the road. Among them are a pair of young Ethiopians in Atsedu Tsegay and Abera Kuma, who will be making their American road racing debuts at the race. Tsegay, 20, the current world leader in the half-marathon (58:47 in Prague), will drop down in distance hoping to lower his 27:46 personal best at 10-K. Joining him will be 21-year-old Kuma, the fifth place finisher at the 2011 IAAF World Championships 5000m in Daegu.

Kenya’s Lucas Rotich, 22, finished runner-up in 2011 and aims to rise to the top of the podium come August 4. Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa and Kenya’s Ed Muge, the 2008 champion, are also part of the large East African contingent, of which also includes Stanley Biwott (KEN), Gebretsadik Abraha (ETH), Ezmeralda Bekele (ETH), Allan Kiprono (KEN), and Sam Chelanga (KEN). Chelanga, who is in the process of obtaining his United States citizenship, told Race Results Weekly earlier in June that he was excited to experience the New England road race scene before heading to Europe.

“I really believe we’ve put together the deepest overall field we’ve ever had, something special for the 15th running,” Larry Barthlow, the race’s elite athlete coordinator said in a statement. “We have runners who have been winning on the American roads this year, but also many new faces fresh off the tracks in Europe who are determined to make some noise here. With the right conditions, both course records could fall.”

Founded by Samuelson, the first Women’s Olympic Marathon gold medalist, it is only fitting that this event will be held a day prior to when the women’s Olympic Marathon is contested in London.

“With all the excitement surrounding the London Games, this field is going to showcase a number of Olympic-caliber athletes right here in Maine,” said Samuelson in a release from race organizers. “Many of our athletes who just missed the cut on their Kenyan or Ethiopian Olympic teams would have been competing for medals at 5000 or 10,000 meters in London.”

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