The TD Beach to Beacon 10K road race, scheduled for Aug. 1, has been canceled. Maine Running Photos

CAPE ELIZABETH — The board of directors of the TD Beach to Beacon 10K road race announced the cancellation of this year’s event on Tuesday, April 28. The directors cited COVID-19 pandemic concerns and state regulations.

Scheduled for Aug. 1, the starting line of the race begins each year in Cape Elizabeth, near Crescent Beach State Park, and is the largest road race in Maine, according to the event’s organizers. Each year, there are approximately 6,500 runners and over 800 volunteers.

On the same day of the announcement, Gov. Janet Mills announced a new four-stage plan to reopen state businesses, broken down on a monthly basis. In the tentative timeline, August could still feature a ban of gatherings of more than 50 people.

According to the cancellation announcement, runners will be refunded their $55 race entrance fees in the following weeks. They will also have the chance to register early for the 2021 race.

While disappointing, David Backer, president of the TD Beach to Beacon 10K, said the decision was made with the health of all participants in mind.

“COVID-19 and its impact on our state, the nation, and the world is unprecedented and after significant review and in partnership with our medical partners we have made this very difficult decision,” he said. “We know this will be disappointing for those of us who look forward to the race each year but the health and safety of our runners, volunteers, spectators, staff, and community remains paramount.”

The TD Beach to Beacon race isn’t an overall revenue generator for the Cape Elizabeth, despite its use of Fort Williams, said Town Manager Matt Sturgis, who sits on the event’s board as a town representative.

“It’s sad to not have it, but it’s definitely the right choice,” he said. “The board thought long and hard about it. Everyone’s so passionate about the race, you know?”

Joan Benoit Samuelson, founder of the event, said the cancellation is heartbreaking, but still the only right thing to do in unclear times.

“The TD Beach to Beacon 10K will return next year, consistent with the enduring nature of our sport, team and community,” Samuelson said. “As we run apart, we gain new strengths and appreciation for those who keep pace with us in our daily lives, especially those who have been on the front lines of this pandemic with selfless endurance and courage.”

The event joins many others in the past and future months that have been canceled for fear of spreading illness, an upsetting but true reality, said Sturgis.

“I think it was a wise decision and one made with a great deal of thought, and also in compliance with the governor’s orders issued earlier that day,” he said. “We look forward to having the Beach to Beacon come back next year when we’re all experiencing good health. We’re optimistic for the future.”

JMG, the planned race beneficiary for 2020, will remain for the 2021 event, said the organizers.

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