Take your mark: TD Bank Beach to Beacon adopts new online registration system
CAPE ELIZABETH — After registration filled up in less than two hours last year, organizers of the annual Beach to Beacon road race have implemented a new online registration system they hope will be more equitable for runners hoping to participate.
Registration for this year's race – the 13th, and now officially known as the TD Bank Beach to Beacon 10K – opens on March 12.
The new registration process will combine the previous first-come, first-served system with a second-chance lottery for runners who get shut out online. Also, slots will be reserved for Cape Elizabeth residents and those who have participated in every previous race.
"We feel like we've developed a very fair and equitable registration process for the race this year that balances the needs and the concerns of a number of constituencies," race President David Weatherbie said in a press release.
The new registration process was devised after last year's race filled up in less than two hours, shattering the previous record of 26 hours. Input was also sought from the running community through a survey of 1,300 runners.
Weatherbie said runners who completed the survey were evenly split between favoring the former system and going to a lottery, or some combination of both. They also said special accommodations should be made for Cape Elizabeth residents, who make up much of the 800-person volunteer team for the event.
"They recognized the sacrifices the community makes in hosting this event and wanted a mechanism to ensure Cape residents can get in,” Weatherbie said.
In 2009, 579 Cape residents finished the race, he said.
Runners will still register at Beach2Beacon.org and pay a $35 entry fee for the Aug. 7 race, which attracts participants and world-class runners from all over the world. Race organizers said they will accept 7,000 runners in 2010, up slightly from 6,850 in 2009.
Beginning at 8 a.m. on Friday, March 12, Cape Elizabeth residents will have 24 hours to fill 600 slots. Online registration will open to the general public on Saturday, March 13, at 8 a.m. and will remain open until 4,000 runners are signed up.
Another 1,500 slots will be awarded through a lottery, the registration for which will be open until midnight on Sunday, March 20. Lottery entrants will be limited to one online entry and will be charged $5. The drawing will be held on Monday, March 21.
The remaining 900 slots will be set aside for sponsors, elite athletes and charities as well as so-called "streakers" – runners who have participated in every race.
Meanwhile, the computer platform used for registrations has been upgraded, since the old system was overwhelmed, leading to confusion and duplicate registrations, Weatherbie said.
The TD Bank Beach to Beacon is one of Maine’s premiere sporting events and one of the most popular events on the U.S. road race circuit.
The race, founded by Cape Elizabeth resident and Olympic gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson, begins near the Crescent Beach State Park entrance on Route 77, winds south along the coast and ends in Fort Williams Park at historic Portland Head Light.
More than $60,000 in prize money is awarded to the top finishers in the various categories for men and women.
Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or email@example.com