By Chris Lotsbom, @ChrisLotsbom
(c) 2013 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
(28-Jul) — On Friday, organizers of the TD Beach to Beacon 10-K announced their elite athlete field in advance of the August 3, running of the coastal race in Cape Elizabeth, Me. Among the entrants are American Olympians Deena Kastor, Meb Keflezighi, and Ryan Hall, as well as reigning men’s champion Stanley Biwott and women’s course record holder Lineth Chepkurui.
“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 elite athlete coordinator Larry Barthlow in a statement. “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.”
Olympic bronze medalist Kastor will make her long awaited TD Beach to Beacon debut. A week before she toes the line at the IAAF World Championships marathon on August 10, the 40-year-old will race the 6.2-mile stretch along Maine’s coast, something she had planned to do two years before illness forced her to scratch after she had traveled 3000 miles to get to the race with husband Andrew and daughter Piper.
“I’ve always wanted to run the race, especially since Joanie [Benoit Samuelson] founded it,” Kastor told Race Results Weekly last month before leaving the USA Outdoor National Track & Field Championships. “It stunk last year getting ill, but this year I’m excited to go back.”
On the men’s side, Keflezighi will return with hopes of improving upon his fourth-place finish in 2007 when he ran his still-standing personal best (on the road) of 27:58. That placing is the highest ever for an American in the event’s history, according to organizers. Keflezighi’s friend and London Olympic marathon teammate, Hall, will be making his TD Beach to Beacon 10-K debut.
The international field looks to be one of the strongest in the event’s 16-year history. In addition to Biwott on the men’s side is 2011 winner Micah Kogo, who in April was runner-up at the Boston Marathon. Fellow marathon ace Emmanuel Mutai –winner of the 2011 London Marathon– and 2012 TD Beach to Beacon runner-up Stephen Kipkoskei Kibet round out the field.
Geoffrey Kipsang, the 2011 World Junior Cross Country Champion, will be among the entrants vying for the $10,000 first-place prize.
Course record holder Chepkurui will face off against Kenyan compatriots Joyce Chepkirui and Linet Masai on the women’s side. In June, Masai was runner-up at the Oakley New York Mini 10-K. Briton Gemma Steel, third at the New York race, returns to the United States as well, and will make her Beach to Beacon debut. Ethiopians Aheza Kiros –the 2011 Beach to Beacon champion– and Buzunesh Deba will challenge for the win, as will two-time Burundi Olympian Diane Nukuri-Johnson.
“We have such a deep field, even without Margaret [Wangari-Muriuki, last year’s champion] and Emily [Chebet, the 2012 runner-up], but can you imagine if they had been able to run here?” Barthlow said. “It would have been like staging the 10,000-meter World Champs final right here in Maine.”
A number of up-and-coming Americans will also start, including the University of Wisconsin’s Elliot Krause and newly joined Oregon Track Club member Alexi Pappas.
“Joan Benoit Samuelson continues to be a hero of mine and a great source of inspiration in running and in life,” Kastor said in 2011. “Not only is the race founded by Joan, but it is not surprisingly also known for its competitiveness and hospitality.”