Stanley Biwott of Kenya returning to defend men’s title while course record-holder Lineth Chepkurui of Kenya heads loaded women’s field
CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine – A trio of top American distance runners – Olympians Deena Kastor, Meb Keflezighi and Ryan Hall – are part of a talented world-class field assembled for the TD Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race on Saturday, Aug. 3 in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
In addition to the top Americans, the professional field of 30 men and women distance runners for 2013 is comprised of a number of 10K speedsters and top marathoners from around the world, including Olympic medalists, World Champions and record breakers.
Kenyan Stanley Biwott, ranked 3rd in the world, is back to defend his TD Beach to Beacon title, while the women’s race is wide open and loaded, with at least three Kenyan women – Lineth Chepkurui, Joyce Chepkirui and Linet Masai – capable of breaking the course record 30:59 set by Chepkurui in 2010.
“We have the deepest field of Americans in the 16-year history of the TD Beach to Beacon, but they have their work cut out for them with the high-level international athletes we were able to attract once again,” said Larry Barthlow, the elite athlete coordinator for the TD Beach to Beacon (www.beach2beacon.org). “All in all, I like the balance we achieved and the depth. And with the right conditions, we might see three women run a sub 31:00, which would be really amazing.”
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.
The professional athletes will join a race day field of more than 6,000 for the TD Beach to Beacon 10K, one of the gems on the U.S. road race circuit. The winding course is fast and relatively flat, beginning near the Crescent Beach State Park entrance on Route 77 in Cape Elizabeth and ending 6.2 miles later in Fort Williams Park at the Portland Head Light, the most photographed lighthouse in America.
Kastor, one of the most decorated American distance runners over the past decade, had planned to make her long-awaited TD Beach to Beacon debut in 2011, but got sidelined by an illness the day before the race and withdrew. She will run this year as her final tune up before the World Championships in Moscow, where she will compete in the marathon for Team USA.
Kastor, 40, won bronze at the 2004 Olympics and holds the American record in the marathon and half marathon. She first broke Joan Benoit Samuelson’s 18-year-old American marathon record in 2003, and then lowered the mark to 2:19:36 in 2006. Samuelson, the 1984 Olympic marathon champion and Maine native, founded the TD Beach to Beacon 10K, which follows her old training routes.
“Joan Benoit Samuelson continues to be a hero of mine and a great source of inspiration in running and in life,” Kastor said in a 2011 interview. “Not only is the race founded by Joan, but it is not surprisingly also known for its competitiveness and hospitality.”
Keflezighi knows a little about both after recording an impressive sub-28:00 at the 2007 TD Beach to Beacon (27:58) to place fourth in a strong field. His finish remains the highest ever placing for an American man in Cape Elizabeth. Keflezighi, 38, won silver at the 2004 Olympics – the first American to medal in the marathon in 28 years – and finished 4th last summer in the London Games.
Hall, 30, a two-time Olympian who won the U.S. Olympic trials in 2008 and holds the American record in the half marathon, will be making his TD Beach to Beacon debut. He recorded three top-four finishes at the B.A.A. Boston Marathon from 2009-2011. Hall won the Bay to Breakers 12K earlier this year.
Other Americans entered in the TD Beach to Beacon include: Elliot Krause, an All-American at Wisconsin; Alexi Pappas, a five-time All American at Dartmouth and Oregon; Michelle Frey, who finished fourth at 2013 Bay to Breakers; Laurel Thweat; Rachel Ward and Sara Hall, wife of Ryan Hall, who won the 2012 USA Cross Country Championships.
The Americans are part of a stellar field of world-class athletes, led by a deep women’s field that will crown a new champion as 2012 winner Margaret Wangari-Muriuki of Kenya is not in the race.
The women’s field is led by Lineth Chepkurui, 25, of Kenya, who blazed over the TD Beach to Beacon course in 2010 in a record setting 30:59. Last year, she finished third, just two seconds off the pace after a sprint finish in one of the closest finishes in race history. So far in 2013, Chepkurui is the most dominant woman on the U.S. road race circuit with recent wins at the Utica Boilermaker 12K and Peachtree 10K. She is presently ranked 14th in the world by All-Athletics World Rankings.
She will be challenged by two other young Kenyans – Masai and Joyce Chepkirui – with something to prove after not getting named to the Kenyan team for the World Championships. Masai, 23, is a 2008 Olympian who won the 10,000m at the 2009 World Championships and has a personal best 30:48 at 10K while 24-year-old Chepkirui is an African Cross Country champ who has recorded a 30:38 10K and is ranked 11th in the world.
Barthlow had lined up the return of defending champ Wangari-Muriuki as well as Emily Chebet, last year’s runner up by .6 of a second, but both were recently named to the Kenyan national team for the World Championships in Moscow on Saturday, Aug. 10 and forbidden from traveling.
“We have such a deep field, even without Margaret and Emily, but can you imagine if they had been able to run here?” Barthlow said. “It would have like staging the 10,000-meter World Champs final right here in Maine.”
Other contenders include Aheza Kiros, 27, who in 2011 became the first Ethiopian woman to win the TD Beach to Beacon (32:09).; Gemma Steel, 27, of Great Britain, who has a 10K best of 32:06 and is ranked 39th in the world; Buzunesh Deba, 25, of Ethiopia, who placed second at the 2011 NYC Marathon and won the Bloomsday Run 12K in May; and Diane Nukuri-Johnson, 28, of Burundi, a two-time Olympian who finished fourth at the 2011 TD Beach to Beacon.
On the men’s side, the high world ranking of defending champ Stanley Biwott, 27, indicates he’s capable of a repeat. His strong 2012 season also included record-setting performances at both the Paris Marathon and Paris Half Marathon (59:04), and already in 2013 he has recorded the 10th fastest half marathon time in history – 58:56.
Biwott will be pushed by Micah Kogo, 27, of Kenya, an Olympic bronze medalist who won the 2011 TD Beach to Beacon in 27:47 and is ranked 13th in the world. He made a splash in April by finishing second (2:10:27) at the B.A.A. Boston Marathon in his marathon debut. Also in the field are Emmanuel Mutai, 28, of Kenya, one of the world’s top marathoners who set a course record (2:04:40) in winning the 2011 London Marathon; and Stephen Kipkoskei-Kibet, 26, of Kenya, last year’s TD Beach to Beacon runner up (28:01).
Other contenders include: Silas Kipruto, 28, of Kenya, who has a personal best 27:28 at 10K and is poised to improve on an eighth-place finish last year after he tired following a win at the Quad City Bix 7-Mile days earlier; Dino Sefir, 25, an Olympian from Ethiopia who took part in the marathon at the 2012 London Games; Geoffrey Kipsang, 20, of Kenya, who won the 2011 World Junior Cross Country Championships; and Mykola Labovsky, 30, a member of the 2012 Ukraine Olympic team who earlier this year placed fourth at the European 5,000m championships.
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.
TD Bank is the title sponsor of the race. In addition, other major corporate partners this year include Hannaford, Nike, Poland Spring, Fairchild Semiconductor, IDEXX, Northeast Delta Dental, MaineHealth and WCSH6. For additional information about the race, visit www.beach2beacon.org, call the race hotline at (888) 480-6940 or find the race on Facebook and Twitter