Beach to Beacon race dazzles again

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CAPE ELIZABETH — Saturday’s 14th annual TD Bank Beach to Beacon 10K road race in Cape Elizabeth proved to be hotter than expected, but athletes from Maine and around the world once again put on an exciting show.

“It was another spectacular TD Bank Beach to Beacon with a record 5,676 finishers,” said race president David Weatherbie, 43, who had a time of 37 minutes to finish 150th overall. “It was certainly warm and humid, which in general slowed the times down compared to last year. However, the race volunteers and spectators were incredibly supportive. A huge and enthusiastic crowd lined the course and cheered on the runners which really helped them tremendously. It’s a ton of work to put on this event and I am very proud and grateful of our sponsors, organizing committee, volunteers, DMSE, and the town of Cape Elizabeth and its residents.”

Once again, runners from Kenya and Ethiopia led the way, but local runners also impressed.

The overall winner was Kenyan Micah Kogo, who had a time of 27 minutes, 48 seconds, which was 20 seconds shy of the record on the 6.2-mile course. Kogo was a bronze medalist in the 10,000 meters at the 2008 Olympics.

Kenyans Lucas Rotich (27:56) and Ed Muge (27:59) were second and third respectively.

Aheza Kiros became the first woman from Ethiopia to place first. She had a time of 32:09. Kenya’s Jelliah Tinega (32:35.5) edged Ethiopia’s Buzunesh Deba (32:35.5) for second.

“Micah and Lucas went out fast and teased us with a course-record pace, but the conditions caught up with them,” said elite athlete coordinator Larry Barthlow. “On a different day, that record falls, but they still put on a good show. Aheza just dominated, which was nice to see for her.”

From a Maine perspective, Ellsworth’s Louie Luchini was tops in the men’s division with a time of 30:36. Falmouth’s Jonny Wilson was a close second (30:42). Freeport cross-country and track coach Josh Zolla (31:55) came in fourth. Falmouth’s Ethan Shaw (32:05) was fifth.

On the women’s side, Falmouth’s Sheri Piers won for the second time in three years with a time of 35:11. Scarborough’s Erica Jesseman (35:38) was second. South Portland’s Kristine Guaraldo (38:04) came in third, Falmouth’s Mary Pardi (38:31) was fourth and defending champion Kristin Barry of Scarborough (38:32) was fifth.

Falmouth’s Michael Payson had the fastest Maine time in the men’s Masters division (33:35). Kenya’s James Koskei (30:27) came in first.

Piers was runner-up to Romania’s Nuta Olaru (34:07) in the women’s Masters division. Pardi came in third.

Cape Elizabeth’s Christina Kouros, 16, stole the show in the wheelchair division, winning the female title in 53:33. Tony Nogueira, of New Jersey (23:39) was the men’s wheelchair champion.

Cape Elizabeth’s Emily Attwood had the fastest time in the female 15-19 division (39:14.9). South Portland’s Diane Lavangie was first in the female 50-54 group (45:22.1). Cape Elizabeth’s Joan Moriarty was tops in the female 55-59 division (42:40.1). Portland’s Gretchen Read won the female 65-69 group (52:20.1).

On the men’s side, Scarborough’s Tom Hathaway was first in the 50-54 division (36:19).

In all, 5,876 runners took part. They hailed from 12 countries and 43 states.

“I continue to see this race change lives and to see the faces of these runners as they close the finish line is truly inspiring to me,” said race founder and 1984 women’s Olympic marathon champion Joan Benoit Samuelson. “Every one of these runners is a champion to me.”

More than $60,000 in prize money was awarded.

This year’s race beneficiary was Day One, a non-profit agency providing substance abuse prevention, intervention, treatment and aftercare programs for Maine youth.

Looking ahead, you can mark your calendars for the 15th annual event, Aug. 4, 2012.

Sun Journal staff writer Justin Pelletier and Jason Wolfe of Wolfe News contributed to this story.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Kenya’s Micah Kogo had no peer in Saturday’s race, coming in first in 27 minutes, 48 seconds.

Ethiopia’s Aheza Kiros raises her arms in triumph after becoming the top female finisher. She had a time of 32 minutes, 9 seconds.

Falmouth’s Sheri Piers became the Maine women’s champion for the second time in three years with a time of 35 minutes, 11 seconds.

Cape Elizabeth’s Christina Kouros, a fan favorite, is honored after winning the wheelchair division with a time of 53 minutes, 33 seconds.

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A massive throng of humanity sets off in quest of glory as the 14th annual Beach to Beacon race begins.

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.