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Preview: TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon 10K on August 2

Date: 
07/27/2008 - 06:28

July 27, 2008 from Running USA wire (CAPE ELIZABETH ME) Reigning champion Duncan Kibet of Kenya is returning to defend his title against a strong field in the TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon 10K on Saturday, August 2, race organizers have announced. Kibet, who last year out kicked one of the race's fastest fields ever, will need to summon the same energy to repeat this year against a deep field that includes two former champions, Kenyans Gilbert Okari and Tom Nyariki, and the hottest runner on the road race circuit, Terefe Maregu of Ethiopia.

Maregu has won two major road races, the Peachtree 10K and Utica Boilermaker 15K, already this month. Okari is a three-time TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon champion and course record holder (27:28) still smarting from the title that Nyariki, a 1996 Olympian, took from him in 2006. The field also includes John Korir of Kenya, who has won numerous major road races but never this one, and Dejene Berhanu of Ethiopia, who finished 5th in the 5000m at the 2004 Olympics.

In the women's race, 2007 champion Luminita Talpos is training with the Romanian Olympic team and will not compete this year. That leaves the door open for three young road racers currently ranked in the top 25 in the world - Kenyans Lineth Chepkurui and Millicent Gathoni and Wude Ayalew Yimer of Ethiopia who each could challenge the 31:26 course record.

They will be pushed by a contingent of strong marathoners, including Andrea Pirtea of Romania, who was the runner-up at last year's Chicago Marathon, and Olympians such as Elva Dryer, who represented the U.S. in 2000 and 2004.

The group of 30 world class athletes will be joined by the best in Maine and New England and thousands of recreational runners on Saturday, August 2 in scenic Cape Elizabeth, Maine for the 11th running of one of the marquee events on the international road race circuit.

"We're looking at a really deep and talented field with the men, some real A-plus players, plus a wide open and exciting race on the women's side," said Larry Barthlow, the race's elite athlete coordinator. "It's almost unheard of to have four guys run sub 28s like last year, but I think you might see the same thing this year because it's going to take a blazing performance to reach the tape first."

Barthlow assembled a strong professional field despite the conflict with the Olympics, which get underway in August and traditionally peel away top talent from road races due to training schedules. Besides Talpos, the 2006 women's champ, Alevtina Ivanova of Russia, also made her Olympic team.

"The impact of an Olympic year is the wait-and-see game," he said. "You lose some athletes who get named to their Olympic team, and you gain some who don't. The good thing is that people are in great shape because they are trying to make their team."

Yimer, for example, has been named as an alternate for the Ethiopian Olympic team. Barthlow is still awaiting word on whether she will join the team in Beijing, which would mean she cannot compete at the TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon.

The ocean-hugging course begins at Crescent Beach along Route 77 in Cape Elizabeth and ends 6.2 miles later in Fort Williams Park at Portland Head, the most photographed lighthouse in the world.

Prize money for the winner of the men's and women's races is $10,000. In all, more than $60,000 in prize money will be awarded to the top finishers and place winners in the various categories for men and women. A $2500 bonus also is available for any runner who breaks an Open course record.

TD Banknorth sponsors the race founded by Joan Benoit Samuelson, the 1984 Olympic gold medalist and Maine's most admired athlete.

The race director is Dave McGillivray, president of DMSE, Inc., a nationally recognized event management company. McGillivray also serves as the race director of the BAA Boston Marathon.

This year's race beneficiary is the Susan L. Curtis Foundation, the sponsor of Camp Susan Curtis, a summer camp dedicated to improving the lives of economically disadvantaged Maine children ages 8-18. For more information, visit: SusanCurtisFoundation.org

For additional info about the race, visit Beach2Beacon.org or call the race hotline at (888) 480-6940.

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