CAPE ELIZABETH – Micah Kogo would be the first one to tell you his strength is not in shorter distance races. Knowing that, Kogo ran strategically and executed his race plan to perfection in winning the 16th TD Beach To Beacon 10K Road Race Saturday.

The win was the second for the Kenyan runner who also captured the top spot in 2011.

Kenya’s Joyce Chepkirui won the women’s division in a time of 31:23.2. Bangor’s Riley Masters was the top finisher on the male side (30:18.6) while Scarborough native Erica Jesseman was the first Maine woman to cross the finish line, narrowly missing out on the Maine record with a winning time of 34:17.6.

Kogo is one of the top ranked 10,000-meter runners in the world. He was runner-up by five seconds this spring at the Boston Marathon and has a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the 10,000.

Kogo immediately went with the pack of 10 elite runners at the start of the race.

With the skies overcast and temperatures barely cracking 70-degrees, many of the top runners never grabbed a drink at any of the designated water areas. The only water some saw were the first-ever rain drops falling during the BTB.


After three miles, the lead pack dwindled to five competitors running at a 4:28 per mile pace. At the 15:44 mark, Kogo decided to surge ahead and the five-man pack was reduced by one.

Kogo would increase the pace twice more. The first would leave just himself and fellow countryman Silas Kipruto vying for the top spot. The second would see Kipruto fall back as Kogo effectively won the race before the five-mile mark.

I’ve been training for half marathons,” said Kogo who didn’t want the race to turn into a sprint in the final stages. “I was trying to move ahead before the finish line. I find I can run a 10K and a half marathon and still have speed.”

Kogo spent the second half of the fourth mile drafting behind the 6-foot, 4-inch Kipruto. With just over a mile to go, Kogo snuck out from behind and raced ahead to stay. Kipruto ended up second in a time of 28:21.9 while Emmanual Mutai, who had fallen out of the pack of five, rebounded to finish third.

Former UMaine runner and recent University of Oklahoma graduate Masters was the first Maine runner across the finish line. He battled current Dartmouth runner and Brunswick native Will Geoghegan for much of the race before he began to have some separation at about the 4.5 mile mark.

I was confident,” said Masters of his chances to win going in. “I knew some of these guys were going to bring their A game.”


Ironically, Masters recently spent time running in Europe only to return in the past few days with his passport, wallet and sponsor wearable kit somehow come up missing.

I had to buy a shirt at the Expo for 20 dollars,” said Masters. “Usually I get them for free.”

Geoghegan finished 14 seconds behind Masters for the Maine crown. Chesterville native and former Mt. Blue runner Kelton Cullenberg was the top local finisher. His time of 32:12.4 earned him the 31st spot overall.

In the women’s race, Chepkirui led much of the way with eventual runner-up Gemma Steel of the UK pushing her for most of the way.

I took the lead at the five-mile mark,” said the 24-year old Chepkirui who holds the fifth-fastest 10K road race time all time. “(Gemma) is strong.”

After finishing runner-up to Falmouth’s Sheri Piers the last two years, Jesseman was finally able to switch spots with Piers who crossed 23 seconds after the former UNH runner. Jesseman’s time was just six-tenths of a second behind Piers’ Maine record.


Jesseman found a pair of her male teammates before the start who ran similar 10K times and decided to stay with them to help monitor her pace.

I stayed close to them and kept a close eye on my watch,” said Jesseman, but it didn’t help. I still went out too fast.”

With too many runners on the course, Jesseman wasn’t able to keep track of her competition from Maine.

I didn’t know where anybody else was,” she said. “I was just focused on the finish line.”

The win was nice for Jesseman, but her effort was more satisfying.

I was focused on getting a personal best,” she said after lowering her 10K road race PR. “It was not letting this race get the best of me. I’ve had some pretty crappy races here.”

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