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Kosgei, Ayalew Winners at Beach to Beacon

Stephen
Kosgei Kibet of Kenya and Wude Ayalew of Ethiopia Finally Break Through to Win at 18th
TD Beach to Beacon 10K

 

 Eric Jenkins
and Alexi Pappas win new American category; Erica Jesseman and 19-year-old Ben
Decker grab Maine Resident titles

 

CAPE
ELIZABETH, Maine

(August 1, 2015) ‰ÛÓ Stephen Kosgei Kibet of Kenya and Wude Ayalew
of Ethiopia, two familiar faces who’ve been knocking on the door, finally
broke through as champions on Saturday in the 18th TD Beach to
Beacon 10K Road Race in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.

 

Kibet (28:28), one of the
world’s all-time half marathoners, stretched away from a three-man pack
inside Fort Williams in a tactical race to claim his first title in four tries,
including runner up finishes in two of the past three years. Moses Kipsiro (28:40)
of Uganda outkicked Kenyan Daniel Salel (28:41) for second.

 

Ayalew
(31:56), who ran the second fastest time ever on the TD Beach to Beacon course
in 2010 only to place second, this time outdueled Diane Nukuri (32:00) for her
first win, also in four tries. Sentayehu Ejigu (32:16) took third while
defending champion Gemma Steel of Great Britain finished a distant fourth
(32:57).

 

In
the new American-only prize category, the top Americans were former Oregon
standouts Eric Jenkins (28:50) and Alexi Pappas (32:57), who also finished
fourth and fifth overall, respectively.

 

In
the Maine resident races, Erica Jesseman, 26, of Scarborough (34:53), the 2013
champ, regained her title in dominant fashion while 19-year-old Ben Decker of
Yarmouth (32:49) won a wide open men’s race.

 

Also,
a new course record was set in the wheelchair division by James Senbeta
(21:46), who shaved seven seconds off the previous mark to win his first TD
Beach to Beacon title.

 

Complete results are available at Cool
Running
.

 

The world-class athletes were among a record-setting
6,602 runners from 15 countries, 41 states and more than 265
Maine cities and
towns who finished the winding, rolling, often breathtaking 6.2-mile coastal
course on a bright sunny morning that quickly grew hot and a little muggy. But
heat and humidity did not affect the enthusiasm of thousands of spectators who
lined the course and filled bleachers to cheer the runners.

 

The
TD Beach to Beacon (www.beach2beacon.org)
is considered one of the country’s top 10K road races, known for
attracting the world’s best runners but also for its top-notch organization,
community support and the involvement of Olympic gold medalist and Maine native
Joan Benoit Samuelson, who founded the race in 1998 and continues to inspire
runners both in Maine and globally.

 

The
2015 race beneficiary was Good Shepherd Food Bank (
www.feedingmaine.org), Maine’s
largest hunger relief organization. Good Shepherd received a $30,000 donation
from the TD Charitable Foundation, the charitable giving arm of TD Bank,
America’s Most Convenient Bank®. TD Bank has now donated
$540,000 to Maine charities over the history of the race.

 

The
addition of a $23,000 prize purse for American men and women meant the field
this year included many top U.S. distance runners along with the expected
world-class athletes from Kenya, Ethiopia and other African nations.

 

But
Kibet, 28, and fellow Kenyan Micah Kogo, 29, had the most experience on the
course, having run three times before. Kogo, though, has won twice (2013 and
2011), while Kibet had to settle for a fourth in 2010, followed by a pair of
runner-up finishes, in 2012 and again last year, when even his personal best
10K (27:43) wasn’t good enough.

 

On
Saturday, a determined Kibet pulled into the front in the second mile and then
remained at or near the head of the lead pack, which included Kogo, Kipsiro,
Salel and Jenkins. The pack had thinned to Kibet, Kipsiro and Salel as they
entered Fort Williams but by then Kibet had stretched his lead to
insurmountable, leaving the excitement to Kipsiro’s sprint finish to nip
Salel.

 

The
warm, thick air, together with a tactical first half of the race, resulted in
the second slowest winning time in the history of the men’s race on a 10K
course known as one of the fastest.

 

Jenkins,
a two-time NCAA champ at Oregon who grew up in Portsmouth, N.H., was able to
stick with the African runners for much of the race. He has been turning heads
all summer while launching his professional career on the European track
circuit, recently clocking a 13:07.33 at 5,000m.

 

Among
Americans, Jenkins was followed by Aaron Braun, 28, of Alamosa, Colo. (29:28),
four-time U.S. Olympian Abdi Abdirahman of Flagstaff, Ariz. (29:37), and two
former Maine Resident champions now running professionally: Will Geoghegan, 23,
of Eugene, Ore. (29:48) and Riley Masters, 25, of Seattle (29:55). Chris
Solinsky, 30, of Williamsburg, Va. (30:04) rounded out the top 10.

On
the women’s side, Ayalew, 28, appeared equally determined after failing
to win in her previous three visits to Cape Elizabeth. She and Ejigu, 30,
quickly moved to the lead with Nukuri, 30, the two-time Burundian Olympian, who
like Ayalew has three previous Top 10 finishes on the TD Beach to Beacon
course, including a personal-best 31:52 to finish third last year.

 

Those
three eventually shook Steel, and then Ejigu fell off the pace, leaving a
two-woman duel along the homestretch, with Ayalew sprinting in for the
win. 

 

Among
Americans, Alexi Pappas, 25, of Eugene, coming off a win at the Peachtree 10K
in July, finished just behind defending champion Steel and just ahead of Liz
Costello, 27, of Newton, Mass. (32:58), who finished fourth at 10,000m in the
Pan American Games in Toronto last month.

 

Americans
rounded out the Top 10: Laura Thweatt, 26, of Superior, Colo. (33:18), Sarah Pagano,
24, of Bridgton, Mass. (34:09), Stephanie Dinius, 25, of Brookline, Mass
(34:26) and Erica Jesseman, 26, of Scarborough, Maine (34:53).

 

In
addition to a Top 10 overall finish, Jesseman claimed her second Maine Resident
crown. She was followed by Emily Durgin, 21, of Standish, a University of
Connecticut standout (35:02), and three-time champ Sheri Piers, 44, of Falmouth
(35:40), who also won the Open Masters title.

 

On
the men’s side, Decker, a former soccer star at Yarmouth High now running
cross country and track at Williams College, took hold in a race without a
clear favorite.  Aaron Willingham, 18, of Farmington (32:51) placed second
and Robert Hall, 20, of Windham (33:11) took third.

 

In
all, prize money of more than $80,000 was awarded to the runners, including
$10,000 for the overall male and female winners, $5,000 for the second place
winners and cash prizes for the top 10 finishers and in the different
categories. The Maine Resident winners received $1,000.

 

The
American-only prize money, sponsored by Dunkin’ Donuts, was split evenly
among the top five U.S. men and women with $5,000 for first, $3,000, $2,000,
$1,000 and $500. Jenkins, for example, collected $5,000 for winning the
American category and collected an additional $2,000 for finishing fourth
overall.

 

Other
winners included: Masters Men ‰ÛÓ Jeff Jones, 45, of Chelsea, ME (34:02);
Masters Women ‰ÛÓ Sheri Piers, 44, of Falmouth, Maine (35:40); Wheelchair
Division, Men ‰ÛÓ James Senbeta, 28, of Champaign, Ill. (21.46), 
a new course record, and Women ‰ÛÓ Christina Kouros, 20, of Cape
Elizabeth (39:39).

 

In
the Senior Division (50+) ‰ÛÓ Men ‰ÛÓ Tom Thurston, 51,
of Waterbury, Vt. (35:16); Women ‰ÛÓ Mimi Fallon, 50, of Walpole,
Mass. (38:30).

 

Also,
in the IDEXX Business to Business Maine Challenge, pitting teams of
athletes from a number of New England corporations and businesses, it was a
repeat of last year with Unum again winning first place in the mixed team
division, Maine Health winning the men’s division, Maine Health the
women’s division and Fairchild won in the first-timer 10K division.

 

The
Johnny Kelley Award for the oldest finisher again went to 90-year-old
Dottie Gray. The 2015 Volunteer of the Year Award was awarded earlier this week
to longtime, tireless volunteer Lisa Petruccelli of Cape Elizabeth.

 

Karen Rand McWatters, a victim of the Boston Marathon
bombing who served as the Official Starter for the 2013 race and returned last
year to volunteer, was among the finishers on Saturday. McWatters, who lost her
lower left leg and wears a prosthetic, walked the course with her husband Kevin
McWatters, who was on the Boston Marathon course when the bombs went off.
Samuelson greeted the couple at the finish line in one of the most poignant
moments of the day.

 

Samuelson,
winner of the first Olympic women’s marathon in 1984, founded the TD
Beach to Beacon as a way to give back to her state and community. The route
follows the same coastal roads she trained on in Cape Elizabeth. With her
reputation, plus top-notch organization and strong community support, the TD
Beach to Beach is known and appreciated as a world-class event with small-town
charm. The race debuted in 1998 with 2,408 runners crossing the finish line.
Online registration now closes in less than five minutes.

 

The
TD Beach to Beacon begins near the Crescent Beach State Park entrance on Route
77 in Cape Elizabeth and winds along tree-lined roads and past dramatic ocean
vistas before ending in Fort Williams Park near Portland Head Light, the most
photographed lighthouse in America.

 

The
TD Beach to Beacon is directed by Dave McGillivray of DMSE Sports (www.dmsesports.com), who
has organized every TD Bank Beach to Beacon and also directs the B.A.A Boston
Marathon and other events around the world.

 

In
addition to TD Bank, other major corporate partners include Hannaford, Nike,
Poland Spring, IDEXX, Northeast Delta Dental, MaineHealth, Dead River Company,
Olympia Sports and WCSH6.

 

For
additional information about the race, visit www.beach2beacon.org, and follow the
race on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

About
the TD Charitable Foundation

The
TD Charitable Foundation is the charitable giving arm of TD Bank N.A., which
operates as TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®, and is
one of the 10 largest commercial banking organizations in the United States.
The Foundation’s mission is to serve the individuals, families and businesses
in all the communities where TD Bank operates, having made $121.8 million in charitable donations since its
inception in 2002. The Foundation’s areas of focus are affordable
housing, financial literacy and education, and the environment. More
information on the TD Charitable Foundation, including an online grant
application, is available at www.TDBank.com.

 

About
TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®

TD
Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, is one of the 10 largest banks in the
U.S., providing more than 8 million customers with a full range of retail,
small business and commercial banking products and services at approximately
1,300 convenient locations throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Metro D.C.,
the Carolinas and Florida. In addition, TD Bank and its subsidiaries offer
customized private banking and wealth management services through TD Wealth®,
and vehicle financing and dealer commercial services through TD Auto Finance.
TD Bank is headquartered in Cherry Hill, N.J. To learn more, visit www.tdbank.com. Find TD Bank on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TDBank and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TDBank_US.

 

TD
Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, is a member of TD Bank Group and a
subsidiary of The Toronto-Dominion Bank of Toronto, Canada, a top 10 financial services
company in North America. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades on the New York and
Toronto stock exchanges under the ticker symbol “TD”. To learn more,
visit www.td.com.

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