CAPE ELIZABETH — Ethan Hemphill describes it as “no-man’s land” — the two-plus minute gap that separates the elite runners from the rest of the field.

It is where Ben True will likely find himself during Saturday’s running of the TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon 10K.

True, the defending Maine champion, is expected to smash the Maine men’s course record. To do so, he’ll have to survive in no-man’s land and perhaps pick off a few of the elite runners.

“I’m excited to see how fast Ben True runs,” said Hemphill, the 2003 Maine division winner and perennial top-three contender. “It would be pretty dangerous for him to go out with the front guys. I’ve talked to him about this, and he gets it. So, his strategy should be a good one.”

True, the former standout at Greely High School and Dartmouth College, won last year’s Maine division in a pedestrian 31:02, using the race more as a workout to help prepare for the cross country and Nordic ski seasons at Dartmouth.

Retired from skiing, True, 23, of North Yarmouth, is running Beach to Beacon for the first time as a racer. His goal, he says, is sub-29 minutes, which would crush Eric Giddings’ 30:34 Maine record.

That time puts him smack in the middle of no-man’s land.

“I’ve never raced this course to my full potential, so I’m very excited to do that,” True said. “Hopefully, there will be a few guys around me.”

True competed in the 1,500 at the U.S. Track and Field Championships in June. He failed to qualify for the finals, saying he lacked the speed training needed to be competitive.

Even with a breakthrough performance Saturday, True believes the 5,000-meter run is where is future lies. To make it to that next level, True is moving to Oregon in September to join the renowned Oregon Track Club.

As with True, Sheri Piers is expected to be far ahead of the rest of the Maine women. The mother of five, Piers was second last year to training partner Kristin Barry of Scarborough. Both broke the former course record, with Barry finishing 10 seconds ahead of Piers in 34:37.

But since then, Piers has enjoyed a breakout year, running a 2:37 marathon at Boston and easily winning recent road races in Freeport and Yarmouth, where she broke Barry’s course record. Barry, meanwhile, is just returning to form after a leg injury sidelined her for a couple of months in the spring.

“We train together, so when she’s out, it’s difficult,” Piers said. “But it looks like she’s back. I’m really happy to have her back because it makes it so much nicer. We race well together. We always try to help the other out and lower our time.

“It’s a great situation and we’re best friends.”

Piers said she’s planning to enter the Twin Cities Marathon in October in an attempt to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Trials.

Saturday’s race also includes two past Maine women division winners — Susannah Beck (2004)and Christine Reaser (2001, 2002). Former Oxford Hills standout Mandy Ivey of Paris and Colby College could challenge for a top-three berth.

Other leading local women entered include Anne Martin of Auburn and Kelly Brown of Lewiston, who could be among the top women masters finishers.

Tyler Jasud of Rumford and Matt Dunlap of Farmington headline the local entrants in the men’s race. Scott Brown of Lewiston is one of the top Maine runners in the 50-and-over senior division.

Also entered is Jefftrey Caron of Watertown, Mass., a former standout runner at Edward Little and the University of Maine.

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CAPE ELIZABETH — Ethan Hemphill describes it as “no-man’s land” — the two-plus minute gap that separates the elite runners from the rest of the field.

It is where Ben True will likely find himself during Saturday’s running of the TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon 10K.

True, the defending Maine champion, is expected to smash the Maine men’s course record. To do so, he’ll have to survive in no-man’s land and perhaps pick off a few of the elite runners.

“I’m excited to see how fast Ben True runs,” said Hemphill, the 2003 Maine division winner and perennial top-three contender. “It would be pretty dangerous for him to go out with the front guys. I’ve talked to him about this, and he gets it. So, his strategy should be a good one.”

True, the former standout at Greely High School and Dartmouth College, won last year’s Maine division in a pedestrian 31:02, using the race more as a workout to help prepare for the cross country and Nordic ski seasons at Dartmouth.

Retired from skiing, True, 23, of North Yarmouth, is running Beach to Beacon for the first time as a racer. His goal, he says, is sub-29 minutes, which would crush Eric Giddings’ 30:34 Maine record.

That time puts him smack in the middle of no-man’s land.

“I’ve never raced this course to my full potential, so I’m very excited to do that,” True said. “Hopefully, there will be a few guys around me.”

True competed in the 1,500 at the U.S. Track and Field Championships in June. He failed to qualify for the finals, saying he lacked the speed training needed to be competitive.

Even with a breakthrough performance Saturday, True believes the 5,000-meter run is where is future lies. To make it to that next level, True is moving to Oregon in September to join the renowned Oregon Track Club.

As with True, Sheri Piers is expected to be far ahead of the rest of the Maine women. The mother of five, Piers was second last year to training partner Kristin Barry of Scarborough. Both broke the former course record, with Barry finishing 10 seconds ahead of Piers in 34:37.

But since then, Piers has enjoyed a breakout year, running a 2:37 marathon at Boston and easily winning recent road races in Freeport and Yarmouth, where she broke Barry’s course record. Barry, meanwhile, is just returning to form after a leg injury sidelined her for a couple of months in the spring.

“We train together, so when she’s out, it’s difficult,” Piers said. “But it looks like she’s back. I’m really happy to have her back because it makes it so much nicer. We race well together. We always try to help the other out and lower our time.

“It’s a great situation and we’re best friends.”

Piers said she’s planning to enter the Twin Cities Marathon in October in an attempt to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Trials.

Saturday’s race also includes two past Maine women division winners — Susannah Beck (2004)and Christine Reaser (2001, 2002). Former Oxford Hills standout Mandy Ivey of Paris and Colby College could challenge for a top-three berth.

Other leading local women entered include Anne Martin of Auburn and Kelly Brown of Lewiston, who could be among the top women masters finishers.

Tyler Jasud of Rumford and Matt Dunlap of Farmington headline the local entrants in the men’s race. Scott Brown of Lewiston is one of the top Maine runners in the 50-and-over senior division.

Also entered is Jefftrey Caron of Watertown, Mass., a former standout runner at Edward Little and the University of Maine.

[email protected]


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