Kenyans Kogo, Chepkirui win TD Beach to Beacon 10K road race; Veazie’s Masters, Scarborough’s Jesseman earn Maine titles
CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine — Similar strategies propelled Kenyans Micah Kogo and Joyce Chepkirui to victory at the 16th Beach to Beacon 10K road race Saturday morning.
Both winners surged at the 5-mile mark of the 6.2-mile race, held amid cool temperatures and threatening skies.
Kogo, 27, pulled away slightly from his final challenger, countryman Silas Kipruto, to win the men’s division for the second time in three years with a time of 28 minutes, 3.2 seconds.
Kipruto was 5.3 seconds behind Kogo as Kenyans swept the top four positions. Emmanual Mutai (28:21.9) and Stephen Kipkosgei-Kibet (28:27.0) next, followed by the top American, fifth-place Meb Keflezighi in 28:37.2.
Among others in the top 10 was ninth-place Gabe Proctor of Corinth and Gunnison, Colo., where he won NCAA Division II track championships this spring in both the 5.000- and 10,000-meter as a senior at Western Colorado State University.
Proctor stayed with the lead pack for the better part of two miles before falling off that pace, then regrouped late in the run to secure his top-10 finish.
Chepkirui, 24, accelerated the pace after the 5-mile mark in an effort to separate herself from a pack of five runners, and only Gemma Steel of Great Britain was able to hang close to the Kenyan runner until the final 200 meters when Chepkirui pulled away to win the women’s overall title in 31:23.2.
Steel was next, 12 seconds behind the winner, with Sule Utura (31:37.6) and Yebrugal Melese (31:39.5) of Ethiopia third and fourth and Kenya’s Linet Masai completing the top five.
The top American in the women’s field was 2004 Olympic marathon bronze medalist and the U.S. record holder at that distance, Deena Kastor, 40, of Mammoth Lakes, Calif. Kastor also broke a 13-year-old women’s masters division record with her seventh-place time of 32:28.2. Judy St. Hilaire set the previous women’s masters division mark of 33:37.0 in 2000.
Riley Masters of Veazie and Erica Jesseman of Scarborough were first-time Maine race champions.
The 23-year-old Masters, a Bangor High School graduate and All-American during his college running career at the University of Maine and the University of Oklahoma, ran with several other Maine contenders early in the race, then pulled ahead of Brunswick’s Will Geoghegan in the latter stages to defeat the Dartmouth College senior with a time of 30:19.3, good for 15th place overall among the race-record field of 6,238 finishers.
Geoghegan was next among the Maine men in 30:33.7, with Jonny Wilson of Falmouth (30:49.3) and Rob Gomez of Saco (31:22.4) third and fourth.
Jesseman, a 24-year-old assistant track and cross country coach at Saint Joseph’s College in Standish, dethroned two-time defending Maine women’s champion Sheri Piers with a time of 34:17.6 — just 0.6 seconds off Piers’ 2009 TD Beach to Beacon Maine women’s course record.
Piers, 42, was second in 34:40.2, followed by 19-year-old Emily Durgin of Standish (36:12.3) and 17-year-old Kirstin Sandreuter of North Yarmouth (36:17.5).
Krige Schabort, a native of South Africa now living in Cedartown, Ga., became the first wheelchair athlete to complete the TD Beach to Beacon course in less than 22 minutes, finishing with a clocking of 21:53 that bested the old record by 1:34.
Christina Kouros, 18, of Cape Elizabeth won her second women’s wheelchair title in the last three years with a time of 41:17.
And 43-year-old Joseph Ekuom of Kingston, N.Y., was the men’s masters champion in 32:55.0.