Maria Bickford and friend Bill Brochu will travel to the Beach to Beacon in style Saturday morning, when they’ll pile into a limousine with a few other runners and make the trek to Portland.

“It’ll be pretty cool,” Bickford, 39, of Fairfield, said.

Added Brochu, 47, of Oakland: “It’s worth it. What the heck. Hey, we’re going green because we are all carpooling. We’re just really excited to go.”

So is Lauren LaRochelle.

The 31-year-old Augusta native is finally recovered from a ruptured Achilles tendon suffered about a year and a half ago during a local field hockey league game.

She missed the race last year, and only in the last few months has she regained her running form.

“I like to stay active,” she said. “When you have to stay off your feet for a long time, it’s disappointing.”

The 14th annual Beach to Beacon 10-kilometer road race is Saturday, beginning at 8 a.m. near Crescent Beach State Park in Cape Elizabeth. It ends at Portland Head Light.

The Beach to Beacon, one of the most anticipated road races in New England, annually attracts some of the top runners in the world.

American Deena Kastor, who won bronze in the marathon at the 2004 Olympics, is in the field. So is former two-time Olympic silver medalist Catherine Ndereba of Kenya. They will be competing for a $10,000 purse that could escalate to $12,500 should they set a course record.

But while Kastor and Ndereba, as well as a few other elite runners, will vie for victory, many of the 6,000 runners Saturday will try to shatter personal timing records, or maybe set a goal of just to finish the race.

Jim Lattin, 37, of Winthrop, ran competitively in the 1990’s.

“I used to run 90 to 100 miles a week,” he said. “I did two or three marathons a year. But then I got married, got moving in my career and had kids.”

Lattin and his wife, Harmony, entered the Beach to Beacon in what they hope will spurn a return to running.

“It’s a big event,” Jim Lattin said. “It’s exciting. The small local road races are fun, but there is a lot of enthusiasm for this big event. It pumps up the adrenaline. This is more of my attempt to return to running. I’d like to run a marathon again. We’ll see how this goes. I’m not the same person I was when I was 25, nor are my knees. I have to do more stretching, drink more water, ease more into a warmup. It’s taken awhile for my knees to adjust to the pounding again.”

Jim Moore, 68, of Waterville, has ran road races since 1980.

“I’ve done three marathons. It takes seven years to reach a peak, but then you realize you won’t get any better. I enjoy running. I enjoy being alone. It’s just a habit.”

Moore said he prefers the 10k races, because they are a bit harder to train for.

“It’s hard to find a good 10k now,” he said. “There’s not a lot of them. There are mostly 5ks now because they are easier to train for.”

Moore added he hopes to break 60 minutes.

“I usually go out and run probably 25 to 30 miles a week,” he said. “I try to get out six days a week.”

Bickford will run her second Beach to Beacon. Like Lattin, she too is busy balancing family life with a career.

“I’ve been busy with two boys playing baseball,” she said. “I run whenever I can. It’s usually at night.”

Bickford set a goal of finishing under 50 minutes.

“I did it for the first time last year and it was awesome,” she said. “It was a nice experience. Just the amount of people was incredible. I do the local races in Fairfield, Oakland. Usually the roster up here is 150. When you top out at 6,000 runners, it’s incredible.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

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