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2008 Beach to Beacon Preview
By David Monti
(c) 2008 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

One of American's most scenic road races, the TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon 10-K, is also one of its most competitive.  The 11th edition of this coastal run in Cape Elizabeth, Me., is scheduled for Saturday and features a very strong, mostly African, elite field.

Kenyan Duncan Kibet, who was the first of 4839 finishers in last year's race in a swift 27:51.7 personal best, returns to defend his title, organizers reported earlier this week.  Once again, it will be his goal to snatch the $10,000 first prize, part of a total $60,000 prize money purse.

His biggest rivals will mostly be from his own nation, including Quad-City Times Bix 7 champion Edward Muge, 2006 Beach to Beacon champion Thomas Nyariki, and three time "B2B" winner Gilbert Okari.  The Kenyans will have two very strong Ethiopians to contend with (no Ethiopian man has ever won the B2B), led by 2008 AJC Peachtree Road Race champion Terefe Maregu Zewdie, and 2004 Olympian Dejene Berhanu.

"The men's field is really stacked at the top with at least five men, plus a couple of dark horses, who have a legitimate shot at winning," said Larry Barthlow, who organizes the professional fields for the event.  In a prepared statement he added: "I can't wait to see the race for the finish."

Forty-one year-old Edith Masai, who became the first masters runner to ever win the Bix 7 last weekend, is the headliner on the women's side.  The 2003 IAAF World Championships 5000m bronze medalist will have to fend off two compatriots who are literally half her age: Lineth Chepkurui, 20, and Millicent Gathoni, 22.  Chepkurui won the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10-Mile last April, while Gathoni won the Dick's Sporting Goods BolderBOULDER 10-K last May.

Hoping to get past "Team Kenya" will be Japan's Yuri Kano, third at last Sunday's NYC Half-Marathon presented by NIKE; Romania's Adriana Pirtea, who was second at last year's Bank of America Chicago Marathon; Colorado's Elva Dryer, a two-time Olympian; and Scotland's Kathy Butler, 12th at the 2004 Olympic Games 10,000m.

Regardless of their pace, every runner will be treated to beautiful views of Casco Bay as the course hugs the rugged Maine coast on its way to the finish in Fort Williams near the classic Maine lighthouse, Portland Head Light.  Race founder, Joan Benoit Samuelson, grew up in Cape Elizabeth and will attend --and probably run-- the race.  The 51 year-old Samuelson ran 42 minutes-flat last year.

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