By David Monti
(c) 2009 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
CAPE ELIZABETH, Me. (01-Aug) -- On a morning so glorious that race
founder Joan Samuelson called it a "golden PR day," Kenyans Edward Muge
and Irene Limika scored convincing victories at the 12th annual TD
Banknorth Beach to Beacon 10-K here.
One of a family of nine children from Kericho, Muge, 26, was making his
competitive comeback after sitting on the sidelines with injury since
running the World's Best 10-K in Puerto Rico last February where he
"It was my foot," said Muge pointing to the bottom of his left foot. "There was a growth."
Actually, said the defending champion, there were two, neither of which
seemed to bother the 2008 Kenyan 10,000m titlist today when he made his
move for victory in the 8th kilometer (22:28). When Muge left the
group of Boaz Cheboiywo, Tekeste Kebede, Gilbert Okari, and Ibrahim
Jeilan Gashu, Cheboiywo knew that Muge would be hard to reel in.
"When you have an athlete of that caliber he gets ten meters on you,
you're not going to catch him," said Cheboiywo who did his best to do
just that. "The last 1.2 miles I went really fast."
But Muge's cushion was enough after he made the short and steep climb
into Fort Williams Park in the final kilometer. Winding around the
narrow foot path which opens to the finish line on one of the park's
grassy fields, Muge (left) held his pace to the tape in 28:05 (28:04.5), five
seconds up on Cheboiywo. Jeilan won the battle for third over
three-time Beach to Beacon champion Okari, 28:20 to 28:22.
"I knew I could win the race," said Muge who became on the second man here to defend his title.
Limika, who will be running the marathon for Kenya at the IAAF World
Championships in three weeks, put a gap on the field much earlier than
Muge after a tragic mishap. Running with two-time Bank of American
Chicago Marathon champion Berhane Adere, Limika got an unwanted assist
when Adere suddenly went flying to the pavement in the third kilometer.
Tripped from behind by a male runner who was following too closely,
Adere fell hard on her left side, severely bruising her hip, scraping
her arm, and possibly breaking a finger.
"Completely down," said the saddened Ethiopian as she pantomimed her fall after the race in the press tent.
Adere was able to get up and continue, but Limika (right), a 29 year-old Pokot
from Kapsait, was already making her second surge to break up the race.
"After the first mile we went up a hill and I pushed," explained a
smiling Limika, her hair styled in thin braids held back by a headband.
"Then again (in the second mile), and I saw no reaction."
Keeping the pressure on, Limika held her lead over her strongest
chaser, Bahrain's Nadia Ejjafini, clocking her second 10-K personal
best of the summer of 32:07 (32:06.1). Ejjafini, who was born in
Morocco but lives in Italy where she is married to an Italian, landed
second place comfortably in 32:13. Adere was timed at 32:28 in third.
Limika said today's race was a very good sign that she is fit and
ready for the World Championships.
"I trust in God to be in the medal bracket," said Limika who, like
two-time world marathon champion Catherine Ndereba, is coached by
former Moroccan marathoner El Mustafa Nechchadi. "Today is the first
day of August. I hope on the 23rd it will be the same thing."
Both Muge and Limika earned $10,000 for their victories. Cheboiywo and
Ejjafini got $5,000 for second and Jeilan and Adere pocketed $3,000.
The race had a total prize money purse of $60,000.
The best result by American athletes came from Maine native Ben True on
the men's side, and Rebecca Donaghue on the women's. True, who grew up
in North Yarmouth and graduated from Dartmouth this year and now
represents the Oregon Track Club Elite, ran the fastest time ever by a
Mainer on the course, 29:11, good for tenth place overall and $2000 in
prize money bonuses (Maine residents were offered separate prizes).
Donaghue, who is an art education graduate student at Penn State
University, finished fifth overall in a personal best 32:47. She
"Yeah, I was happy," said the petite runner who represents New Balance
Boston. "It was a PR by 15 seconds and I felt really good. I had a
lot left in the tank."
Marathoner Sheri Piers of Falmouth finished tenth overall, setting a
new Maine resident course record of 34:17. Like True, she earned $2000
in prize money and bonuses.
For Samuelson, who celebrates the 25th anniversary of her Olympic
marathon title on Wednesday, the creation of the Beach to Beacon 10-K
represents perhaps her second most important achievement in the sport.
"Twenty-five years ago I was coming through that tunnel and I said,
'what can I give back to this state,' said Samuelson who grew up as
Joan Benoit here in Cape Elizabeth. Choking back tears she added: "I
can't tell you how much I was welling up at the finish line today
watching the finishers."
According to Bob Teschek of Granite State Race Services, who timed the
race, this year's Beach to Beacon had a record 5613 finishers. Entries
had been received from 43 states and 16 countries.
PHOTOS: Edward Muge holding up two fingers for his two TD Banknorth
Beach to Beacon victories; Irene Limika shows whe's #1 after winning
her first TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon 10-K (Photos by Jane Monti)