CAPE ELIZABETH — In a week where records embarrassingly tumbled by the bushel at the world swim championships in Rome, local race officials believe the record book for the TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon 10K could face its own onslaught Saturday.

This record book, however, won’t be the victim of apparel. Instead, a talented and perhaps the strongest field in the 12-year run of the Beach to Beacon will vie for more than $60,000 in prize money on the 6.2-mile course, starting near Crescent Beach and ending near Portland Head Light in Fort Williams Park

“If the weather cooperates, we certainly have the cards in the deck here to do so,” said race founder and former world-record holder Joan Benoit Samuelson.

With runners, such as defending champion Ed Muge, three-time race winner Gilbert Okari and breakout performer James Kwambai – all Kenyans – leading a deep, lead pack, Okari’s men’s record of 27:28, set in 2003, is in danger of falling.

Owner of two of the 10 fastest marathons ever run, Kwambai pushed Haile Gebrselassie to his world record time last fall before following that up this spring with the third fastest timer in the history of the sport in 2:04:20.

A couple of late scratches has weakened the women’s field, but those who are left are expected to challenge Russia’s Alevtina Ivanova’s mark of 31:26 set in 2006.

Ben True of North Yarmouth and Falmouth’s Sheri Piers are likely to set new standards in the Maine men’s and women’s divisions.

Even the masters division, which now includes 2002 Beach to Beacon champion James Koskei, could see its nine-year record broken.

Larry Barthlow, the architect for putting together the elite field, said it’s getting harder every year to entice the world-class athletes to visit Maine the first weekend of August. Big-money circuits springing up in Europe, India and Africa have changed the landscape during the past 10 years. Expenses like plane fares, finding a place to stay and U.S. taxes has contributed to the decline.

“The great runners aren’t coming the U.S. anymore because it’s hard to be here and make money,” Barthlow said. “Other places in the world have taken a share of the market. It’s supply and demand.”

Despite the challenging task, Barthlow still cobbled together a stellar field, including Olympians, world champions and some of the best young runners in the sport.

Muge owned the roads last year, winning several big races in the U.S. He repeated at the Kenyan championships earlier this year, but remained in Kenya to train at altitude why allowing an injury to heal.

“The injury is getting better,: Muge said. “I feel confident, really confident.”

Another runner feeling confident is three-time winner and crowd-favorite Okari, who has dealt with his own knee problems during the last two years. Okari, 30, owned the Maine race from 2003-2005. Samuelson credits Okari with proving that runners could record fast times on the Beach to Beacon course.

With his two-year absence from the world running stage and with this being his first race of the summer, Okari’s ability to race with the leaders is unknown.

“:My training has been very good,” Okari said. “That’s why I came back to Maine. I like this place. I like Maine. I like the people of Maine. I like running the Beach to Beacon. It’s a very good course, and I hope to defend my course record.

Within the last week, the race lost Alina Alexeeva, who had run a 30:31 in the Russian 10K championships. The decision by the Russian Federation clearly frustrated Barthlow.

“That’s part of your elite field,” he said. “To find out 5-6 days before the race, you absolutely can’t replace that caliber of an athlete. You just have to beg, borrow and steal.”

Still, the women’s field does not lack stars. Veteran Ethiopian runner Berhane Adere, 36, is a former 10,000 meter world champion and two-time winner of the Chicago Marathon. She currently has one of the 10 fastest times in the 5,000, 10,000 and marathon — the only female runner with that accomplishment.

Things get under way at 7:55 a.m. with the wheelchair entrants, while the rest of the pack of 6,000 runners begin at 8:05 a.m. This year’s race beneficiary is Maine Hsndicapped Skiing. Several handicap athletes are expected to run.

[email protected]

CAPE ELIZABETH — In a week where records embarrassingly tumbled by the bushel at the world swim championships in Rome, local race officials believe the record book for the TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon 10K could face its own onslaught Saturday.

This record book, however, won’t be the victim of apparel. Instead, a talented and perhaps the strongest field in the 12-year run of the Beach to Beacon will vie for more than $60,000 in prize money on the 6.2-mile course, starting near Crescent Beach and ending near Portland Head Light in Fort Williams Park.

“If the weather cooperates, we certainly have the cards in the deck here to do so,” said race founder and former world-record holder Joan Benoit Samuelson.

With runners, such as defending champion Ed Muge, three-time race winner Gilbert Okari and breakout performer James Kwambai — all Kenyans — leading a deep, lead pack, Okari’s men’s record of 27:28, set in 2003, is in danger of falling.

Owner of two of the 10 fastest marathons ever run, Kwambai pushed Haile Gebrselassie to his world record time last fall before following that up this spring with the third fastest timer in the history of the sport in 2:04:20.

A couple of late scratches has weakened the women’s field, but those who are left are expected to challenge Russia’s Alevtina Ivanova’s mark of 31:26 set in 2006.

Ben True of North Yarmouth and Falmouth’s Sheri Piers are likely to set new standards in the Maine men’s and women’s divisions.

Even the masters division, which now includes 2002 Beach to Beacon champion James Koskei, could see its nine-year record broken.

Larry Barthlow, the architect for putting together the elite field, said it’s getting harder every year to entice the world-class athletes to visit Maine the first weekend of August. Big-money circuits springing up in Europe, India and Africa have changed the landscape during the past 10 years. Expenses like plane fares, finding a place to stay and U.S. taxes has contributed to the decline.

“The great runners aren’t coming to the U.S. anymore because it’s hard to be here and make money,” Barthlow said. “Other places in the world have taken a share of the market. It’s supply and demand.”

Despite the challenging task, Barthlow still cobbled together a stellar field, including Olympians, world champions and some of the best young runners in the sport.

Muge owned the roads last year, winning several big races in the U.S. He repeated at the Kenyan championships earlier this year, but remained in Kenya to train at altitude why allowing an injury to heal.

“The injury is getting better,: Muge said. “I feel confident, really confident.”

Another runner feeling confident is three-time winner and crowd-favorite Okari, who has dealt with his own knee problems during the last two years. Okari, 30, owned the Maine race from 2003-2005. Samuelson credits Okari with proving that runners could record fast times on the Beach to Beacon course.

With his two-year absence from the world running stage and with this being his first race of the summer, Okari’s ability to race with the leaders is unknown.

“:My training has been very good,” Okari said. “That’s why I came back to Maine. I like this place. I like Maine. I like the people of Maine. I like running the Beach to Beacon. It’s a very good course, and I hope to defend my course record.”

Within the last week, the race lost Alina Alexeeva, who had run a 30:31 in the Russian 10K championships. The decision by the Russian Federation clearly frustrated Barthlow.

“That’s part of your elite field,” he said. “To find out 5-6 days before the race, you absolutely can’t replace that caliber of an athlete. You just have to beg, borrow and steal.”

Still, the women’s field does not lack stars. Veteran Ethiopian runner Berhane Adere, 36, is a former 10,000 meter world champion and two-time winner of the Chicago Marathon. She currently has one of the 10 fastest times in the 5,000, 10,000 and marathon — the only female runner with that accomplishment.

Things get under way at 7:55 a.m. with the wheelchair entrants, while the rest of the pack of 6,000 runners begin at 8:05 a.m. This year’s race beneficiary is Maine Handicapped Skiing. Several handicap athletes are expected to run.

[email protected]

CAPE ELIZABETH — In a week where records embarrassingly tumbled by the bushel at the world swim championships in Rome, local race officials believe the record book for the TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon 10K could face its own onslaught Saturday.

This record book, however, won’t be the victim of apparel. Instead, a talented and perhaps the strongest field in the 12-year run of the Beach to Beacon will vie for more than $60,000 in prize money on the 6.2-mile course, starting near Crescent Beach and ending near Portland Head Light in Fort Williams Park.

“If the weather cooperates, we certainly have the cards in the deck here to do so,” said race founder and former world-record holder Joan Benoit Samuelson.

With runners, such as defending champion Ed Muge, three-time race winner Gilbert Okari and breakout performer James Kwambai — all Kenyans — leading a deep, lead pack, Okari’s men’s record of 27:28, set in 2003, is in danger of falling.

Owner of two of the 10 fastest marathons ever run, Kwambai pushed Haile Gebrselassie to his world record time last fall before following that up this spring with the third fastest timer in the history of the sport in 2:04:20.

A couple of late scratches has weakened the women’s field, but those who are left are expected to challenge Russia’s Alevtina Ivanova’s mark of 31:26 set in 2006.

Ben True of North Yarmouth and Falmouth’s Sheri Piers are likely to set new standards in the Maine men’s and women’s divisions.

Even the masters division, which now includes 2002 Beach to Beacon champion James Koskei, could see its nine-year record broken.

Larry Barthlow, the architect for putting together the elite field, said it’s getting harder every year to entice the world-class athletes to visit Maine the first weekend of August. Big-money circuits springing up in Europe, India and Africa have changed the landscape during the past 10 years. Expenses like plane fares, finding a place to stay and U.S. taxes has contributed to the decline.

“The great runners aren’t coming to the U.S. anymore because it’s hard to be here and make money,” Barthlow said. “Other places in the world have taken a share of the market. It’s supply and demand.”

Despite the challenging task, Barthlow still cobbled together a stellar field, including Olympians, world champions and some of the best young runners in the sport.

Muge owned the roads last year, winning several big races in the U.S. He repeated at the Kenyan championships earlier this year, but remained in Kenya to train at altitude why allowing an injury to heal.

“The injury is getting better,: Muge said. “I feel confident, really confident.”

Another runner feeling confident is three-time winner and crowd-favorite Okari, who has dealt with his own knee problems during the last two years. Okari, 30, owned the Maine race from 2003-2005. Samuelson credits Okari with proving that runners could record fast times on the Beach to Beacon course.

With his two-year absence from the world running stage and with this being his first race of the summer, Okari’s ability to race with the leaders is unknown.

“:My training has been very good,” Okari said. “That’s why I came back to Maine. I like this place. I like Maine. I like the people of Maine. I like running the Beach to Beacon. It’s a very good course, and I hope to defend my course record.”

Within the last week, the race lost Alina Alexeeva, who had run a 30:31 in the Russian 10K championships. The decision by the Russian Federation clearly frustrated Barthlow.

“That’s part of your elite field,” he said. “To find out 5-6 days before the race, you absolutely can’t replace that caliber of an athlete. You just have to beg, borrow and steal.”

Still, the women’s field does not lack stars. Veteran Ethiopian runner Berhane Adere, 36, is a former 10,000 meter world champion and two-time winner of the Chicago Marathon. She currently has one of the 10 fastest times in the 5,000, 10,000 and marathon — the only female runner with that accomplishment.

Things get under way at 7:55 a.m. with the wheelchair entrants, while the rest of the pack of 6,000 runners begin at 8:05 a.m. This year’s race beneficiary is Maine Handicapped Skiing. Several handicap athletes are expected to run.

[email protected]


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