CAPE ELIZABETH — Race day for the 21st annual TD Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race is here.
Action begins Friday, with the Kids Fun Run at 4 p.m. and High School Mile at 6 p.m., presented by Oakhurst Dairy.
The High School Mile is a two-loop course that will begin near Portland Head Light in Fort Williams Park and finish across the official Beach to Beacon finish line.
The 10K main event, with more than 6,500 participants expected to tackle the challenging 6.2-mile course, begins Saturday, Aug. 4, at 7:50 a.m., when wheelchair racers take off. They’ll be followed by the elite women at 8 a.m. and the elite men and general field at 8:12 a.m.
This year’s race beneficiary is WinterKids, a Maine and New Hampshire nonprofit that teaches children to move, learn and explore in the outdoors during winter.
Since its founding in 1997, the organization has helped more than 100,000 Maine children to get outside and active with “innovative outdoor education programs for preschools and elementary schools,” according to its website.
This year’s elite field will be full of familiar faces, including Maine native and 2016 race champion Ben True, along with Mainers Jesse Orach and Rob Gomez, who made headlines last year after Gomez helped Orach, who had fallen, cross the finish line and win the Maine Men title.
Other marquee competitors will include South Sudan-born Lopez Lomong; Olympic champion triathlete Gwen Jorgensen; diminutive runner and Arizona native Rochelle Kanuho, and Olympian Molly Huddle, the American record holder at 10,000 meters and the half marathon, who is making her Beach to Beacon debut.
Beach to Beacon founder and Olympic gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson won’t be running the race this year, since she’s made it a tradition to do so only every five years. She will, however, be greeting runners as they cross the finish line and will present awards, as she does every year.
The course begins on Route 77 and proceeds north on Old Ocean House Road. After rejoining with Route 77 for a short distance, the route turns right on Shore Road and ends at Fort Williams Park behind the Head Light.
The awards ceremony will begin at 9:45 a.m. at the top of Flagpole Hill, featuring check presentations, gifts to age-group winners, and a total purse of more than $90,000.
Because the route runs along some of Cape Elizabeth’s most highly trafficked roads, many will be closed throughout race day: Route 77 will be closed in phases from Sprague Hall to Hill Way from 6-10 a.m., Old Ocean House Road will be closed from 7:30-10 a.m., Fowler Road from 7:15-10 a.m., Scott Dyer Road eastbound from 6:15-8 a.m., and Shore Road south of the park at 7:30 a.m.
Crescent Beach State Park won’t be accessible to the public until after 9 a.m.
Parking at Fort Williams are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Three satellite parking locations are available at Cape Elizabeth High School, 343 Ocean House Road; Hannaford Bros. corporate headquarters at 145 Pleasant Hill Road in Scarborough, and Southern Maine Community College at 2 Fort Road in South Portland.
Shuttle buses will transport runners to the start on race morning from 6-7:15 a.m.
After the race, shuttles will be available from 9 a.m.-noon to bring runners and spectators back to their vehicles in the Sprague Fields start area lots or satellite parking locations.
The Bicycle Coalition of Maine is providing free and secure bicycle parking for runners, spectators and volunteers at Fort Williams, with shuttle bus service for registered bike valet runners to the start line. The complimentary bike service is inside Fort Williams Park. Runners can drop off their bikes starting at 6 a.m. and must pick them up by 2 p.m.
Because of the early start time, limited parking and limited access to the start line, pre-registered runners were encouraged to pick up their bibs and T-shirts at Cape Elizabeth High School between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on either Thursday or Friday.
Those who are pre-registered but couldn’t pick up their bib number prior to race day can pick up bibs at Sprague Hall, near the start line, from 6:30-7:30 a.m. on Saturday morning.
Father and son John and Austin Logan and Art O’Brien, of Theodore Logan & Sons in Portland, paint the start line July 29 on Route 77 in Cape Elizabeth in preparation for the 21st TD Beach to Beacon 10K on Aug. 4.
The 21st annual TD Beach to Beacon 10k Road Race will be held Saturday, Aug. 4, with the wheelchair division starting at 7:55 a.m., followed by the elite women field at 8 a.m. and the elite men and general fields at 8:12 a.m.