Defending TD Beach to Beacon 10K women’s champion Wude Ayalew of Ethiopia will return to Cape Elizabeth to defend her title, race organizers announced Friday.

The 19th edition of the race will be held Aug. 6.

Stephen Kosgei Kibet of Kenya, the reigning men’s champion, could not secure a visa and will not return to defend his title.

For the first time this year, the women’s elite field will start before the elite men and the rest of the field. The women’s elite field with start at 8 a.m., 12 minutes before everyone else.

Ayalew will be running the race for the fifth time. In Ayalew’s first Beach to Beacon in 2007, she was the prohibitive favorite but fell after getting tangled up with a male runner and finished fourth. In 2010, Ayalew was second to Lineth Chepkurui, who won in a course-record time of 30 minutes, 59 seconds. Ayalew finished in 31:07.

Ayalew ran 31:56 last year to win by four seconds.


This year’s professional field of 27 runners will be competing for more than $90,000 in prize money. The top overall man and woman each earn $10,000. The top American man and woman will make $5,000 each.

“I think the fields are extremely good,” said Larry Barthlow, the race’s elite athlete coordinator via email from Ethiopia. “I think our American field is very strong, with some of the best men who did not make the Olympics.”

Eric Jenkins of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, returns after winning the inaugural American-only division in 2015 when he was fourth overall. Jenkins finished fourth in the 5,000 meters at the U.S. Olympic trials. Other top American men are two-time Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein, four-time Olympian Abdi Abdirahman and two-time NCAA cross country champion Sam Chelanga.

Barthlow acknowledged that lining up a strong field of professional runners is more difficult during an Olympic year. The 2016 Games begin Aug. 5.

“The biggest problem is you play a waiting game. Waiting to see who makes various teams and who will be available,” Barthlow said. “The other problem is that sometimes after the USA Trials athletes are physically and mentally exhausted and they just shut it down as can be expected.”

The overall men’s race will feature Micah Kogo of Kenya, a bronze medalist in the 10,000 at the 2008 Olympics and a two-time Beach to Beacon winner (2011, 2013); Kenyans Daniel Salel and Patrick Makau, who have both placed in the top four at recent Beach to Beacons; and Ethiopia’s Adunga Takela.


Top rivals for Ayalew in the women’s race should be 2013 winner Joyce Chepkirui of Kenya, former New York City and London Marathon winner Mary Keitany of Kenya, Ethiopian marathoner Berhane Dibaba, and three-time Olympian Kim Smith of New Zealand.

The top American women expected to compete are Jordan Hasay, a 16-time All-American at Oregon, and 2015 NCAA indoor and outdoor 5,000 meter champion Emily Sisson. Both attempted to make the U.S. Olympic team in the 10,000 meters. Hasay was ninth and Sisson finished 10th.

Race organizers were hopeful that Laura Thweatt, seventh in the women’s field last year (third American) and the top American at the 2015 NYC Marathon would return. Barthlow said Thweatt has “a foot problem and I think it was wise she shut it down for a few weeks.”


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