Kenyan Lineth Chepkurui shattered the women’s course record and Gebre Gebremariam of Ethiopia sprinted to the men’s title in the 13th edition of the TD Bank Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race on Saturday (7) in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
Chepkurui (30:59) confirmed her reputation as this season’s most dominant road racer by clipping 26 seconds off the course record and becoming the first women to run a sub-31 minute 10K on Maine soil. Wude Ayalew, 23, of Ethiopia also broke the previous course record (31:07), but it was not enough on this day against 22-year-old Chepkurui. Edna Kipligat, 30, of Kenya took third (31:33). Defending champ Irene Limika, 30, of Kenya finished fourth (33:06).
Kipligat, Ayalew and Chepkurui set a blistering pace early on, nearly staying with the lead pack of men for the first mile and distancing themselves from the other women. By the time they reached Fort Williams and the climb to the finish at the Portland Headlight, Kipligat had fallen off the pace, leaving Chepkurui to fend off a challenge by Ayalew. Legendary marathoner and two-time Olympic silver medalist Catherine Ndereba, 38, of Kenya, a five-time TD Bank Beach to Beacon champ and former course record holder, placed sixth (33:34).
Gebremariam out-sprints Kiprono
On the men’s side, 25-year-old Gebremariam (27:40), known as G.G., entered the race as one of the hottest runners on the circuit and did not disappoint. He traded places for much of the race with runner-up Alan Kiprono (27:42), Wilson Chebet (27:45), and Stephen Kipkosgei-Kibet (27:51), all Kenyans, before relying on his well-known sprinter’s kick at the finish. Two-time defending champ Ed Muge, 27, of Kenya ran a 28:08, a nearly identical time as 2009, but it was only good enough for fifth this year. Ben True, a two-time Maine Resident champ now training in Oregon, finished 12th (29:02) running as an elite – the first American to finish.
A lead pack of 13 elite runners set a slow pace early on, which perhaps hindered Gebremariam’s shot at the course record 27:28. By Mile 3, Chebet, 25, a skilled half marathoner, began to push the pace and spread the pack, followed by G.G. as well as Kiprono, 20, and Kipkosgei-Kibet, 23, a pair of relatively unknown young Kenyans running on American soil for the first time. Chebet still held the lead at Mile 5 before Gebremariam exerted his will.
Race President David Weatherbie, who ran the race, said the picture-perfect weather made for ideal running conditions and helped create a special day for participants, volunteers and spectators alike.
“We had an incredibly deep field of elite athletes and they really put on a show, but they weren’t alone,” Weatherbie said. “We also had 20 Maine resident men who ran sub-33 minutes, which is a prime example of the depth and quality of this year’s race from top to bottom. The best weather in 11 years really brought out the best for all involved.”
The winners were among the record-setting 5,668 runners from 17 countries and 41 U.S. states who finished the winding, picturesque 6.2-mile course on a cool, blue-skied, idyllic morning on the Maine coast. Thousands of spectators lined the course to cheer the runners.
Organisers for the IAAF