CAPE ELIZABETH — No skunks or dead fish fouled the race course, as has happened here before. No thunderstorms or oppressive humidity cowed runners or spectators.

But once again this year, a pair of Kenyans dominated the event.

More than 6,400 runners completed the journey through Olympic gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson’s hometown Saturday morning in the 22nd edition of the TD Beach to Beacon 10K road race, the largest in Maine each year.

“Weatherwise, this is the best edition yet,” Samuelson, the race founder, said to runners shortly before an air horn set them off on Route 77, where they passed Crescent Beach State Park on their way to Portland Head Light. “I want you to take full advantage of it.”

Alex Korio and Joyciline Jepkosgei set their sights on course records in their first visit to Maine. Both fell a little short, but each wound up in control of the race from the time they turned onto Old Ocean House Road late in the second mile of the 6.2-mile race.

Korio, 28, was a last-minute replacement for a pair of countrymen whose visas were approved but not delivered in time for them to make the trip. He won the men’s race by almost a full minute in 27 minutes, 34 seconds.


That’s the fastest winning time since Gilbert Okari established the course record of 27:28 in 2003.

Fellow Kenyan Jairus Kipchoge-Birech was second in 28:27, and Bashir Abdi of Belgium was third in 28:35.

An elite women’s field of 16 started at 8 a.m., 12 minutes prior to the masses. Jepkosgei, 25, won last weekend’s Bix 7-Miler amid the stifling heat of Davenport, Iowa.

On Saturday morning, with temperatures in the low to mid 60s and a hint of a breeze, she was the top woman in 31:04, with last year’s champion, Sandrafelis Chebet-Tuei, 32 seconds behind. Charlotte Purdue of Great Britain placed third in 32:16.

Korio and Jepkosgei earned $10,000 apiece for their efforts, but won’t be able to collect for nearly a month as race organizers await results of drug testing implemented for the first time in 13 years.

The Maine resident category also saw a pair of first-time winners. Dan Curts, 23, grew up in Ellsworth and recently graduated from Iowa State University, where he earned All-America honors in track and field. Sofie Matson, 16, is entering her junior year at Falmouth High.


Curts threatened Ben True’s Maine men’s course record before settling for a victory in 29:26. The defending champion, Ryan Smith of Farmington, ran 23 seconds faster than in last year’s heat and humidity but still came up a minute shy of Curts, in 30:27.

Another former Maine champion, Will Geoghegan, 27, of Brunswick, finished third in 30:47.

True, a native of North Yarmouth who now lives in New Hampshire, won the Maine men’s category in 2009 with a record time of 29:10. Seven years later, he became the race’s first non-African overall winner, in 28:16.

All of the Maine women ran with the main pack, rather than attempt to keep pace with the elite women. Matson, a two-time Class A cross country state champion, finished in 36:01. Runner-up Corey Dowe, 26, of Farmington was a half minute behind Matson in 36:34, and Heather Gallant, 38, of Wayne was third in 36:58.

Tony Nogueira, 51, of Glen Ridge, New Jersey won his 12th wheelchair title, in 22:51. Michelle Wheeler of Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, was top female wheelchair finisher, in 30:25.

Sheri Piers, 48, of Falmouth, who placed fourth among Maine women and third among female masters, marveled at the near-ideal conditions.

“It’s rare,” she said. “I could have used this a few years ago when I was younger and in shape.”

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