Muge of Kenya wins Beach to Beacon again

Posted Aug. 01, 2009, at 12:27 p.m.

CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine — Ed Muge may not have the marathoning endurance possessed by his competitors in Saturday’s TD Banknorth Beach to Beacon 10K road race, but the 26-year-old Kenyan had two vital things going for him.

He had won this race last summer, and owns the speed neccessary to pull away from any pack.

Muge used both of those traits to his advantage to emerge from a tight pack five miles into the 6.2-mile race and win in 28 minutes, 4.5 seconds on a hot, humid morning.

Boa Cheboiywo of Kenya wound up second in 28:08.9, followed by Gashu Ibrahinm-Jelian of Ethiopia in 28:19.7.

Gilbert Okari of Kenya, the only repeat champ at B2B before Muge’s victory Saturday, finished fourth in 28:21.8 while Tekeste Kebede of Ethiopia covered the course in 28:26.5 to round out the top five.

Irina Limika of Kenya used a similar plan to win the women’s race in 32:06.1 while Nadia Ejjiani of Morocco took second at 32:12.8 and Berhane Adere of Ethiopia third in 32:28.0.

Aheza Kiros overcame a fall early in the race to finish fourth in 32:30.6 while Rebecca Donaghue of State College, Pa. took fifth in 32:46.2.

Race organizers and media alike had forecasted all week leading up to the race that both Maine course records would be in jeopardy, and, expectedly, Ben True and Sheri Piers made those predictions hold up.

True, 23, of North Yarmouth, shattered the previous mark of 30:35 held by Eric Giddings by finishing in 29:10.3, also earning him 10th overall and the title of first American finisher.

Sintayheu Taye of Cape Elizabeth overtook Jon Wilson of Falmouth to win a great battle for second. Taye was timed in 31:31.9 and Wilson 31:39.0.

Curtis Wheeler of Buxton took fourth in 32:00.4 and Claton Conrad of North Yarmouth fifth in 32:04.8.

Piers of Falmouth broke friend and training partner Kristin Pierce-Barry’s 2008 course record by 17 seconds while also earning a personal-best time of 34:17.0.

Susannah Beck of Brunswick took second in 35:31.2 while Barry, who returned to the roads recently after a leg injury earlier this season, finished third in 36:03.0.

Carry Buterbaugh of South Portland (37:14.2) and Mandy Ivey of South Paris (39:07.9) rounded out the top five.

In the men’s races, Muge, knowing he had a throng of top-flight marathoners behind him, made his move at the five-mile mark, where the uphills come into play, and was never challenged again, even saying after the race he was surprised that Cheboiywo, Ibrahinm-Jelian and Okari didn’t make any moves themselves.

True didn’t have to make any to win the Maine division, hanging with the trail elite runners throughout the race.

Even though True, who will head to Oregon later this summer to join the prestigous Oregon Track Club and turn pro, annihilated his old high school rival’s course record (True ran for Greely, Giddings at South Portland), he admitted he was a tad disappointed that he didn’t break 29 minutes, which was his goal coming in.

Once he finished, he exchanged an emotional hug with race founder Joan Benoit Samuelson, who said, “awesome race kiddo.”

In the women’s races, Limika made her move just after the four-mile mark to open up a slight gap on Ejjiani, Adere and Kiros before eventually pulling away.

This was Limika’s first Beach to Beacon, and she said afterward she enjoyed it and would love to come back next summer.

Piers is no stranger to this race, but finally has a Maine women’s crown which is only an addition to what has been an outstanding season for the Falmouth runner, who was the third American finisher at the Boston Marathon last spring.

Beck’s time was also good enough to earn her top Maine women’s masters honors while Mark Gottel of Cumberland took men’s honors in the masters (ages 40 and up) division.

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