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 BeachtoBeacon
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 BeachtoBeacon 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
"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.