CAPE ELIZABETH — Ben True, a native of North Yarmouth who placed third in the 2014 TD Beach to Beacon 10K, has withdrawn from Saturday’s 18th running of the race.

True’s agent, Matt Lane, said Wednesday the decision was a difficult one, given True’s admiration for the race and its founder, Joan Benoit Samuelson, as well as the possibility that True had a shot at becoming the first American to win the event.

“The worst part of our job is when we have to make a decision to not do a race, especially this race,” Lane said. “But we’re trying to balance what’s the most important part of his season.”

True, 29, is scheduled to run in his first World Championships later this month in Beijing. He qualified for the U.S. team by placing second in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters at the national championships in Eugene, Oregon, in late June.

However, in order to run his preferred distance of 5,000 meters in Beijing, True still needed to achieve a sub-13 minute, 23 second time by early August. He did so less than two weeks ago in Belgium, finishing third in a race in Heusden in 13:06.

Lane said running the two high-pressure races in Oregon followed by chasing the world championship standard in Europe took a toll on True.

“He was pretty tired in the two weeks leading up to Heusden,” Lane said. “He ran great there. I think he even surprised himself. But he’s fatigued and we were getting to the point when we had to make a decision about the season.”

In addition to the world championships, True plans to return to Belgium to run in the Diamond League finals in Brussels on Sept. 11. Because he won the New York Diamond League 5,000 in early June, True has a chance to win the overall points title. If he does, he would gain automatic entry into the next world championships as well as significant prize money and sponsor bonuses.

The six 5,000-meter races in the Diamond League series have seen six different individual winners, so whoever wins in Brussels – where point totals are doubles – is likely to be crowned the overall champion.

“He’s got a lot of travel ahead of him,” Lane said. “At this point, he needs the rest.”

A former two-time winner of the Maine men’s category at Beach to Beacon, True set a course record of 29:10 for Maine residents in the 2009 Beach to Beacon. Last year his third-place finish was the best of any American man in the race’s history, with a time of 27:49.

“We’ll miss Ben,” Samuelson said Wednesday. “The world championships have to be his focus. But it will allow for a very exciting race among the American men.”

True isn’t the only scratch from this year’s elite field. African athletes represented by manager Zane Branson, who suffered a fatal heart attack Saturday morning in Kenya, have canceled plans to come to Maine.

“His runners are in shock and just do not feel like racing,” said Larry Barthlow, elite athlete coordinator, in a prepared statement.

Among those pulling out are 2013 women’s champion Joyce Chepkirui, Emily Chebet, Nikolas Bor, Patrick Madau and Tadelech Bekele.

In their stead, organizers scrambled to recruit Moses Kipsiro of Uganda and Paul Kipchumba Lonyangata of Kenya.

Although True will be absent, three former Maine men’s champions plan to compete in the elite field: Will Geoghegan of Brunswick, Riley Masters of Veazie and Ethan Shaw of Falmouth. All three are running professionally and training out of state.

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