Great Fields Set For Saturday’s Beach To Beacon 10K: Ben True, Dathan Ritzenhein, Former Marathon WR Holder Patrick Makau And Mary Keitany Headline
August 2, 2016
CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine – With Maine native Ben True and returning women’s champion Wude Ayalew of Ethiopia lined up and ready, the stage is set for the 19th TD Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race on Saturday in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
This year’s contingent of world-class athletes – including a stellar group of U.S. distance runners chasing a lucrative purse with American-only prize money – will be followed by more than 6,500 runners of all fitness levels energized by the cheers of spectators lining the scenic TD Beach to Beacon course in a classic American road race that celebrates health, fitness and giving back.
The 2016 race beneficiary is My Place Teen Center (MPTC), a free, year-round, after-school youth development program for kids in Greater Portland, which receives a $30,000 donation from the TD Charitable Foundation, the charitable giving arm of TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®. TD Bank has now donated $570,000 to Maine charities over the history of the race. MPTC also will benefit from significant fundraising opportunities and publicity through its association with the race.
In addition to title sponsor TD Bank, other corporate partners who help make the TD Beach to Beacon possible are Nike, Hannaford,Poland Spring, MaineHealth,Olympia Sports, IDEXX, Northeast Delta Dental, L.L.Bean and WCSH6.
“The TD Beach to Beacon Race is in its 19th year and has proven to be a life-changing event for so many people, and we are honored to sponsor it once again,” said Larry Wold, President of TD Bank in Maine, who is one of the 118 legacy runners. “We are proud to support this year’s beneficiary, My Place Teen Center, and its mission in providing a free, after-school program that provides hope, hot meals and life skills to young people.”
Maine native and running legend Joan Benoit Samuelson, winner of the first Olympic women’s marathon in 1984, founded the TD Beach to Beacon to realize her vision of creating an elite-level road race in her home state. The route follows the same coastal roads that the unassuming Samuelson trained on in Cape Elizabeth. With her reputation, plus top-notch organization and strong community support, the TD Beach to Beach is known and appreciated as a world-class event with small-town charm.
In 2015, a record-setting 6,602 runners from 15 countries, 41 states and more than 265 Maine cities and towns crossed the finish line, again making the race the largest in Northern New England. The TD Beach to Beacon debuted in 1998 with 2,408 runners crossing the finish line. Online registration now closes in under four minutes.
The TD Beach to Beacon begins near the Crescent Beach State Park entrance on Route 77 in Cape Elizabeth and winds along tree-lined roads and past dramatic ocean vistas before ending 6.2 miles later in Fort Williams Park near Portland Head Light, the most photographed lighthouse in America.
The TD Beach to Beacon 10K is directed by Dave McGillivray of DMSE Sports (www.dmsesports.com), who also directs the B.A.A Boston Marathon and is regarded as one of the best in the business.
“Even in an Olympic year, we’ve put together a strong group of amazing athletes from the U.S. and across the globe who bring inspiration to everyone else in the field, making this a tremendous global and community event for all involved,” Samuelson said. “And this year’s beneficiary, My Place Teen Center, which opened its doors in 1998, the same year we debuted, provides similar inspiration and hope to the many young people it serves.”
Return of Special Prize Purse Again Lures Top American Runners While Ethiopian Wude Ayalew Returns Seeking Repeat
The return of a $23,000 prize purse for American men and women ($5,000 each to the winners), sponsored by Dunkin’ Donuts, means the TD Beach to Beacon will again boast of field that includes some of the top U.S. distance runners.
The American contingent is led by Yarmouth, Maine native Ben True, the American 5K record holder who recorded the fastest road 10K by an American in 29 years the last time he ran the TD Beach to Beacon in 2014, good enough for third place.
He will challenge Eric Jenkins, a New Hampshire native and former Oregon standout who won the American category in its debut last year. Jenkins and True fell just short in their bids to make the U.S. Olympic team, finishing fourth and fifth in the 5000m final at the U.S. Olympic trials in Oregon. The top three finishers qualified for the Rio Games.
The American field also includes Dathan Ritzenhein, a two-time Olympian who once held the American record at 5000m and finished ninth in the marathon at the 2008 London Olympics; Abdi Abdirahman, a four-time Olympian who was the third American in last year’s race and seventh overall; Sam Chelanga, a two-time NCAA Cross Country Champion who has run 27:08:39 on the track at 10,000m; and Riley Masters, a Bangor, Maine native who will be looking to improve on a ninth-place finish overall last year in his first TD Beach to Beacon as a professional.
True and Jenkins also will be among the contenders for the Open title, competing against a handful of young international track speedsters, Olympic medalists and high-level marathoners for the $10,000 top prize, provided by TD Bank.
In all, more than $90,000 in prize money will be handed out Saturday, plus a $2,500 bonus is available from Northeast Delta Dental to any runner who sets a new Open course record (27:28 for the men, 30:59 for the women), providing added incentive in a race that consistently ranks among the fastest and most competitive 10Ks in the world.
The international field is led by William Malel Sitonik of Kenya, who finished second behind Mo Farah in the 10,000m at the Prefontaine Classic in late May in 26:54:66. Other favorites include Micah Kogo of Kenya, a two-time TD Beach to Beacon champ who won Bronze at the 2008 Olympics at 10,000m; Ethiopian Tariku Bekele, the Bronze medalist at 10,000m at the 2012 Olympics; Daniel Salel of Kenya, who finished third in 2015 and has a PB 27:41 at 10K; Patrick Makau, a 2:03 marathoner who took fourth (27:57) at the 2014 TD Beach to Beacon; and James Mwangi Macharia, who has clocked 27:23:04 at 10,000m.
For the women, Ethiopia’s Wude Ayalew is returning for her fifth TD Beach to Beacon, but her first as defending champion. Ayalew, who in 2010 ran the second fastest time ever on the course (31:07) only to place second on a course-record day, finally broke through in 2015 for her first TD Beach to Beacon crown.
A repeat won’t be easy as she will need to contend with Mary Keitany of Kenya, one of the best marathoners in the world who is coming off a course-record setting victory at the Quad-City Times Bix 7 in Iowa over the weekend. She is the winner of the 2015 New York City Marathon and was a runner-up at last year’s London Marathon, a race she also has won twice.
And then there’s Kenyan Joyce Chepkirui, who won the 2013 TD Beach to Beacon in 31:23 – the third fastest time on the course. Her best 10K time is 30:37 and she recently finished second to American Molly Huddle in an exciting photo finish at the NYC Half Marathon.
Other contenders include Caroline Chepoechof Kenya, who also topped the previous Bix 7 course record in finishing just behind Keitany; Berhane Dibaba, one of Ethiopia’s top young marathoners; and Gladys Yator of Kenya, who placed fifth at Bix.
The American field is anchored by Jordan Hasay, a high school phenom and 16-time All-American at Oregon who ran her first 10K as a professional runner at the 2014 TD Beach to Beacon, finishing fourth with an impressive 32:20. She will be challenged by Emily Sisson, who won both the NCAA Indoor (in record time) and Outdoor 5000m in 2015 and has a PB 32:18 at 10K since turning pro last fall; and Aliphine Tuliamuk, a former Wichita State star who recently became an American citizen and placed eighth in the 10,000m in the U.S. Olympic trials. She recorded the fifth-fastest 10,000m in NCAA history (32:07.20). Sara Hall, who won the 2012 USA Cross Country Championship, also is in the field.
(Unofficial) Maine Road Race Champions to be Crowned
The TD Beach to Beacon 10K attracts the state’s top road racers who vie in the Maine Resident races each year for the unofficial title as Maine Road Race Champion.
On the women’s side, Erica Jesseman, 27, of Scarborough is back seeking her third crown in four years. She is having a strong season on the roads, winning the Patriot 5K and finishing second at the L.L. Bean 10K to an out-of-state runner. But it won’t be easy with the return of Michelle Lilienthal, 34, of Portland, a professional runner who set the Maine course record (33:39) to beat Jesseman in 2014. She attended a wedding last year, missing the race. Lilienthal beat Jesseman in the Ocean Park 5K on July 29 in their final TD Beach to Beacon tune up.
Three-time champ Sheri Piers, 45, of Falmouth also will be in the hunt and will be favored in the Open Master’s category as well.
For the men, 2015 Maine winner Ben Decker is out of the country and unable to defend, guaranteeing a new champion for the seventh straight year (Ben True was the last repeat champ in 2008-09). An intriguing favorite this year is Moninda Marube, 37, a native of Kenya who now lives in Auburn. Marube arrived in the U.S. in 2010 as a budding Kenyan distance athlete only to fall into the hands of an unscrupulous agent. Marube, who alleges he was the victim of human trafficking, finally escaped his ordeal and settled in Auburn. He appears to be in peak condition for his first TD Beach to Beacon, winning the recent Bridgton 4 on the Fourth and placing second in May at the Patriot 5K in Gray.
Other contenders include Spencer McElwain, 27, of Portland, winner of the Clam Festival Classic 5 Mile earlier this month; Alexander Moser, 23, of Portland, who beat McElwain to win the Ocean Park 5K on July 29; Rob Gomez, 32, of Windham, and former Bowdoin College track standout Sam Seekins.
New Race Day Enhancements & High School Mile
The TD Beach to Beacon 10K also has added two new features this year – plus a new event – to enhance the TD Beach to Beacon experience for elite women, spectators and Maine’s top high school runners:
- Elite Women’s Start – For the first time in race history, the race will feature an Elite Women’s Start, setting off the women’s field 12 minutes ahead of the men and the rest of the field. The change will give the top female athletes a better opportunity to compete head to head and also provide their race with more exposure among spectators and media. The top Maine and master’s women are expected to join them.
- High School Mile – The TD Beach to Beacon High School Mile, presented by Bon-Ton, has been added to race weekend this year on Friday (Aug. 5) before the Kid’s Fun Run at Fort Williams. Many of Maine’s top schoolboy and schoolgirl runners are taking part. They will run a two-loop course that starts near the Portland Head Light and ends at the official TD Beach to Beacon finish line. Here is more info on the participating athletes, courtesy of MileSplit Maine.
- Finish Area Reconfiguration – Bleachers will be added to both sides of the finish chute area at Fort Williams this year, rather than the traditional one side, giving more and closer access to spectators.
Local Support Makes TD Beach to Beacon 10K a Success
The TD Beach to Beacon is overseen by its 60-member, volunteer Organizing Committee, headed by Race President Mike Stone of Portland. Local residents from all walks of life, plus police, fire, medical and municipal officials serve on the committee to plan the event. Maya Cohen of Cape Elizabeth coordinates the 800 volunteers who are central to the success of the race.
Local residents also open up their homes for the elite athletes as part of a “home-stay” program that is second to none. The TD Beach to Beacon also has a long history of commitment to the environment with a focus on recycling, reuse and eco-friendly activities. Last year it won Gold Level Certification from the Council for Responsible Sport and this year is going for Evergreen – the highest category awarded by the council.
The Town of Cape Elizabeth is especially helpful – providing police, fire and emergency services and staff to help ensure the event runs smoothly.
Elite Athlete Fields for the 2016 TD Beach to Beacon 10K (as of July 27, 2016)
1 William Malel Sitonik – Kenya
2 Ben True – USA
3 Patrick Makau – Kenya
4 Daniel Salel – Kenya
5 Eric Jenkins – USA
7 Dathan Ritzenhein – USA
8 Sam Chelanga – USA
9 Micah Kogo – Kenya
10 James Mwangi Macharia – Kenya
11 Tariku Bekele – Ethiopia
12 Markos Geneti – Ethiopia
13 Abdi Abdirahman – USA
14 Brendan Gregg – USA
15 Patrick Smyth – USA
16 Ruben Sanca – USA
17 Morgan Pearson – USA
18 Riley Masters – USA
19 Maverick Darling – USA
20 Joe Bosshard – USA
100 Wude Ayalew – Ethiopia
102 Joyce Chepkirui – Kenya
103 Mary Keitany – Kenya
104 Elaine Balouris – USA
105 Jordan Hasay – USA
106 Kaitlin Gregg Goodman – USA
107 Sara Hall – USA
108 Emma Bates – USA
111 Lily Partridge – United Kingdom
112 Gladys Yator – Kenya
113 Emily Sisson – USA
115 Ashley Higginson – USA
117 Maddie McClellan – USA
118 Caroline Chepoech – Kenya
119 Aliphine Tuliamuk – USA