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Keflezighi, Flanagan, for Beach to Beacon 10K


 
 
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Old 16-07-2014, 03:30 PM   #1
TheEd
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USA Keflezighi, Flanagan, for Beach to Beacon 10K

CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine – Boston Marathon champ Meb Keflezighi will join a talented, deep group of American distance runners – including Olympic medalist Shalane Flanagan and Maine native Ben True – for the TD Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race on Aug. 2 in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

Both of the defending champions – Kenyans Micah Kogo and Joyce Chepkirui – also are returning to headline a 30-runner professional field dotted with Olympians, World Champs and record setters, TD Beach to Beacon organizers announced.

“We put together a solid American contingent last year, but I think this one is even stronger, especially on the women’s side, where a number of Americans are capable of sub 33s,” said Larry Barthlow, the elite athlete coordinator for the TD Beach to Beacon. “On the men’s side, favorite son Ben True is making his return to Maine with his sights set on winning the race and he certainly is more than capable. But there also are a handful of international runners who will have something to say about that. We’re set up for another great race day.”

Prize money for the winner of the men’s and women’s races is $10,000. In all, nearly $60,000 in prize money will be awarded to the top finishers and place winners in the various categories for men and women. Northeast Delta Dental also is providing a $2,500 bonus to any runner who breaks an open course record.

The world-class athletes will join a race day field of more than 6,200 runners who will wind along the fast, relatively flat course that begins near the Crescent Beach State Park entrance on Route 77 in Cape Elizabeth and ends 6.2 miles later in Fort Williams Park at the Portland Head Light, the most photographed lighthouse in America.

Fresh off his poignant win at the 2014 B.A.A. Boston Marathon, Meb Keflezighi is likely to be the most recognizable face among the sea of runners. As the world watched in the aftermath of the 2013 bombings, he pushed to an emotional victory (2:08:37) to become the first American to win at Boston since 1983. At 38, he was the race’s oldest male winner since 1930.

The charismatic Keflezighi, who turned 39 in May, is the first American man in history to win the New York and Boston marathons and an Olympic medal – he won silver at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. He also placed 4th at 2012 London Games.

His impressive sub-28:00 at the 2007 TD Beach to Beacon (27:58) was good enough for fourth in a strong field – the highest ever placing for an American man in Cape Elizabeth. He placed 5th in the race last year.

Shalane Flanagan also will arrive in Maine following a record setting performance in the Boston Marathon. She charged to the lead and held on for 19 miles before being overtaken and ultimately finishing seventh in a personal record 2:22:02 – the fastest time ever recorded by an American woman in Boston’s 118-year history. She is now the third fastest female American marathoner ever, after Deena Kastor and Olympic champion Joan Benoit Samuelson, founder of the TD Beach to Beacon.

Flanagan, 33, who grew up in Marblehead, Mass., is returning to the TD Beach to Beacon for the first time since high school. In the years since, she has set American records in the 3000m (indoor), 5000m (indoor), 10,000m and 15K road race, won the bronze in the 2008 Olympics at 10,000m, finished second at the 2010 New York Marathon and won the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials. Flanagan is presently training for the fall marathon season, with her stated goal to run a sub 2:20.

North Yarmouth, Maine native Ben True is also set to make a triumphant return to the TD Beach to Beacon. He last ran the race in 2009, shattering the Maine Resident course record (29:10) and placing 10th overall. Soon thereafter, the former All-American at Greely High School and Dartmouth College moved to Oregon to focus on his professional running career.

True, now 28, returns to Maine in top form. He turned heads last August when he battled TD Beach to Beacon champ Micah Kogo to the finish at the 2013 Falmouth Road Race to place second, which capped off a year in which he placed sixth at the World Cross Country Championships – the highest finish for an American since 1995 – and narrowly missed making the U.S. team for the World Championships by finishing fourth in both the 5000m and 10,000m at the USA Track & Field Championships.

So far this year, True has won the USA 15K Championship at the Gate River Run for the second year in a row, and in May set a personal best 13:02.74 for a gritty win in the 5,000m at the Payton Jordan Invitational at Stanford. Now a member of the Saucony Elite Racing team and training in New Hampshire, he has a personal best 27:41.17 at 10,000m.

But True has his work cut out for him if he wants to win a TD Beach to Beacon Open title.

Returning champ Micah Kogo, 28, of Kenya, an Olympic bronze medalist at 10,000m, has utilized his track speed to win the TD Beach to Beacon in two of the past three years – 28:03 in 2013 and 27:47 in 2011. He once ran 27:01 in a 10K road race to set a world record and finished second (2:10:27) in his marathon debut at the 2013 Boston Marathon.

Another 28-year-old Kenyan and former TD Beach to Beacon champ, Stanley Biwott, also is in the field. He won with a time of 27:59 in 2012. He placed second at the London Marathon (2:04:55) earlier this year and in 2013 recorded the 10th fastest half marathon time in history (58:56).

Other contenders include: Bedan Karoki, 23, a Japan-based Kenyan who finished fifth at 10,000m at the 2012 London Olympics and recorded an impressive sub-27 on the track at the Prefontaine Classic in May (26:52.36); Patrick Makau, a 29-year-old Kenyan who is a former world record holder in the marathon (2:03:38) and two-time Berlin Marathon champ whose 58:52 half marathon in 2009 is one of the fastest ever; and Emmanuel Bett, 29, of Kenya, a late-blooming elite athlete who made his professional debut in 2010 and in 2012 displayed blazing track speed by recording the fastest 10,000m in the world for the year – 26:51.16.

Other top American men in the field include Fernando Cabada, Chris Solinsky, Taylor Gilland and Michael Eaton.

On the women’s side, in addition to Flanagan, Joyce Chepkirui, 25, is expected to make a strong bid for her second straight win against a solid field of athletes. Last year, the African Cross Country champ arrived in Maine with a chip on her shoulder after being left off the Kenyan national team for the IAAF World Championships. She set the pace early and maintained a lead throughout, finishing in 31:23.

Her win in Maine set off a chain of road race victories last fall, including a personal best 30:37 at the 2013 ASICS Grand 10 in Berlin, the fastest-ever 10K on German soil. In April, she set her personal best (1:06:19) and a course record at the Prague Half Marathon.

Chepkirui’s closest challenger last year also is back. Gemma Steel, 28, of Great Britain, recorded a personal best 31:26 to stay within striking distance. She duplicated that second-place performance at the Falmouth Road Race a week later.

Also in the mix will be Emily Chebet, a 28-year-old Kenyan who was the runner up at the 2012 TD Beach to Beacon (31:52) by .6 of a second. She is a two-time winner of the IAAF World Cross Country Championships and has a personal best 31:18 at 10K.

A pair of Ethiopians also will push the pace. Tadelech Bekele, 23, finished a few steps behind Chepkirui at the Berlin 10K last fall in a personal best 30:38, and 29-year-old Aselefech Meriga is one of the top all-time marathoners (2:19:31) who won bronze at the 2009 IAAF World Championships.

Two top-10 finishers from the 2013 TD Beach to Beacon also are back in the race. Diane Nukuri-Johnson, 29, is a two-time Olympian from Burundi (she competed in her first Olympics at age 15 at the 2000 Sydney Games) who ran a personal best 32:35 to finish eighth last year. Nukuri-Johnson won her second straight Bay to Breakers in May. Alexi Pappas, 24, a five-time All American at Dartmouth and Oregon, made her professional road racing debut at the 2013 TD Beach to Beacon, finishing 10th in a personal best 32:55.

Other top Americans in the field include Desiree Linden, who finished 10th at the 2014 Boston Marathon; Megan Hogan, who has a PB 32:34 at 10K; Kate DeCamillo, the second American finisher at the 2013 New York City Marathon; Blake Russell, a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team; Frances Koons, a nine-time All-American at Villanova; and Jen Rhines, a three-time U.S. Olympian whose 32:21 at the 2003 TD Beach to Beacon is the third-fastest ever for an American woman in the event.

The TD Beach to Beacon 10K is directed by Dave McGillivray of DMSE Sports (dmsesports.com), who also directs the B.A.A Boston Marathon and is regarded as one of the best in the business.

This year marks the 17th year for the TD Beach to Beacon 10K, which filled online in less than five minutes and is considered one of the gems on the U.S. road race circuit. In 2013, a record setting 6,244****** runners from 16 countries, 39 states and more than 250 Maine cities and towns finished the scenic 6.2-mile course. The race debuted in 1998 with 2,408 runners crossing the finish line.
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