By: Chris Lotsbom
August 6, 2010
(c) 2010 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

CAPE ELIZABETH, MAINE (06-Aug) -- The biggest race in the State of Maine's history will take place tomorrow when as many as 7,000 runners will take to the roads along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean here for the 13th edition of the TD Bank Beach to Beacon 10-K.

The men's field may be the strongest in the event's history, and three men appear to stand a head above the rest.  Kenya's Martin Lel, who is coming off a stress fracture, will be competing in his first race since February 28, when he beat Olympic Marathon champion Samuel Wanjiru at the Rock 'n' Roll Mardi Gras Half-Marathon in New Orleans.  The two-time Virgin London and ING New York City Marathon champion has been training in northern Italy with compatriots Wanjiru, Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot, and James Kwambai under coach Claudio Beardelli.

"I am really happy to be here, because I know this is one of the fastest races in the U.S. and a competitive race," said the 31 year-old Lel.  "I am here for the speed, for the endurance, in preparation for the marathon."

Former IAAF World Cross Country Championships gold medallist Gebre Gebremariam of Ethiopia is returning to the United States for the first time since his win at the Peachtree Road Race on July 4.  The tall --and today uncharacteristically quiet-- Gebremariam said he will try his best against the tough field, aiming to go three-for-three in American 10-K's this year.

Though his presence may be overshadowed by Lel and Gebremariam, two-time defending champion Ed Muge should not be overlooked.  Muge, the 2008 Kenyan 10,000m champion, aims to join Gilbert Okari as a three-time winner of the event.  Muge said he expects the race to be extremely close, predicting that it will come down to the final 400 meters.

Making the trip nearly eleven years after his 1999 win is Khalid Khannouchi, who is on the road to what he hopes is a resurrection of his career.  Plagued by injuries, most recently a bad foot, Khannouchi is making his way back to competitive form, slowly.  He's looking forward to running hard and competing well.

"We are taking it one step at a time," said Khannouchi, 38.  "I will probably run a marathon next year, but this year will be a lot of short races."

Khannouchi, who splits his time between Albuquerque, N.M.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Ossining, N.Y.; hasn't counted out a run at the 2012 Olympics.  But he says what is most important is to see what his health brings, and make good decisions based on that.

The women's field is highlighted by four-time Beach to Beacon champion Catherine Ndereba.  The two-time Olympic silver medallist is also looking to return to her previous form, as injuries have hampered her in the last year.  Training recently in Nairobi, Ndereba said she will use the race to gauge her current fitness.

"I am glad that I am able to come back and have that feeling that I enjoy [running]," Ndereba commented.  "I just feel great that I am back in my running career.  I don't know how fast I am, but it will be good for me to get a new headstart."

Ndereba, who hasn't competed since April, is grateful to be healthy again.  She is looking to run a fall marathon, yet is still unsure of where it will take place.

Ndereba's training partner when in the United States is Irene Limika, the defending champion here.  Based near Philadelphia, Limika is excited to return and see if she can improve on her 32:06 personal best set last year.  Limika has struggled in her recent races; she's finished 13th, 12th and 7th in her last three competitive outings.

The race was founded in 1998 by 1984 Olympic Marathon gold medallist Joan Samuelson who grew up here and now lives in nearby Freeport.


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