Summer weekends are never short on road races, but not every race can brag they include a field of multiple Olympians. The 16th TD Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race took place this morning in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Lining up at the starting line were top American distance runners Deanna Kastor, Meb Keflezighi and Ryan Hall, as part of the field of 30 elite runners.
Beach to Beacon was founded by Joan Benoit-Samuelson, 1984 Olympic Marathon Gold Medalist and Cape Elizabeth native. According to the race website, she wanted to create a race along the routes where she trained to share the beautiful environment, sense of community and rich history that played an important role in her life.
A classic New England course along the Maine coast, this race is still on my bucket list, however, I will need to plan well in advance if I want to register for the 2014 race. Running on narrow coastal roads, the race accommodates 6,000 runners. After the first 4,000 spots sold out in 4 minutes for the 2013 race, runners could enter a lottery for the remaining 1950 spots.
Two runners I know did make it in this year. Trish Elliott of Jamaica Plain, MA ran Beach to Beacon for the 4th time. Running with 5 of her family members, including her 76-year-old father, the family began running the race in 2007 to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to honor the 20th anniversary of her mom’s passing. The race has since become a family favorite.
Tricia Verrier of Arlington, MA ran Beach to Beacon for the first time. She compared the race course and phenomenal spectator support to the Falmouth Road Race, which she has run several times. She noted that the cloudy skies and temps in the low 60s in combination with an early start time (8:00am), made running this race a bit more comfortable than her Falmouth experiences, though the start time would require a very early departure to drive to Cape Elizabeth the morning of the race from the Boston area.
Although she ran her goal time, the highlight of Tricia’s race came when she got to shake hands with her long-time hero, Joan Benoit Samuelson at the finish line. Shaking hands with the race director at a 6,000 person race doesn't happen often and just emphasizes that Samuelson is serious about fostering a sense of community and enjoyment at this race.
Despite the strong field of US runners, the top men and women’s spots went to Kenyans Micah Kogo (28:03) and Joyce Chepkirui (31:23). 24-year-old Erica Jesseman of Scarborough (34:17.6) and Riley Masters, 23, of Veazie (30:19) won for the women and men respectively in the Maine resident races. For full race results, click here.
If you are interested in running Beach to Beacon in 2014, check out the race website for more information. Participants don’t have to run fast to enter, but once registration opens, runners may want to act fast for the chance to take part in this classic New England road race!
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