Joyce Chepkirui of Kenya, the defending Beach to Beacon women’s champion, won’t return to Cape Elizabeth for Saturday’s 17th edition of the 10K road race.
Neither Chepkirui nor Emily Chebet, who were first and third Tuesday at 10,000 meters in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, came to Maine, as race organizers expected.
Following that race in Scotland, “the Kenyan Olympic Committee did not clear (Chepkirui and Chebet) to compete abroad in a non-track event as the runners had anticipated,” according to a statement put out by race organizers on behalf of the elite athlete coordinator, Larry Barthlow. “Therefore, both runners have withdrawn.”
Chepkirui, 25, led from start to finish last August to win by 12 seconds in 31:23 over Gemma Steel of Great Britain. Chebet, 28, was the 2012 Beach to Beacon runner-up, by less than a second to a fellow Kenyan, Margaret Wangari-Muriuki.
A Kenyan woman has won in all but three of the 16 races and the top 10 has never been without a Kenyan. As of Thursday afternoon, the only Kenyans entered Saturday are men.
Steel, 28, is back again. The top American runners are a three-time Olympian, Shalane Flanagan, and Desiree Linden, Megan Hogan, Alexi Pappas and recent University of Oregon graduate Jordan Hasay.