Beach to Beacon founder Joan Benoit Samuelson (155) raises her arms in celebration as she finishes the race Saturday alongside, from left, race director Dave McGillivray, Olympic bronze medalist Deena Kastor, five-time Beach to Beacon winner Catherine Ndereba, and former race president David Weatherbie. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Once every five years, Joan Benoit Samuelson has run the race she founded in her hometown, the TD Beach to Beacon 10K.

She has run with New York City firefighters after 9/11 and former marathon greats like Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers. In 2017, Samuelson raced seriously for the first time and set a 60-and-over American 10K record in 39 minutes, 19 seconds.

Leading up to this year’s race, the 25th anniversary event, Samuelson said she intended to run again but was not sure who she would run with, noting, “people have plans for me.”

One day, it was supposed to be Samuelson, race director Dave McGillivray and David Weatherbie, the president of the race for the first 16 years. Then it was going to be Joanie with Catherine Ndereba, an Olympic silver medalist who won Beach to Beacon five times and the Boston Marathon four times. Or maybe Samuelson, the 1984 Olympic gold medalist and former American marathon record holder would tour the course with 2004 Olympic marathon bronze medalist Deena Kastor, who broke Samuelson’s American marathon record in 2003.

Less than 30 minutes before Saturday’s race, with the starting line still shrouded in damp fog, race organizers, including McGillivray, still weren’t sure what the plan was. Plus, Samuelson wasn’t anywhere near the site.

Eventually, it all worked out. Samuelson, 66, showed up. She encouraged all the runners and specifically gave a shout out to the 93 legacy runners who have participated in every Beach to Beacon.


Then she ran with all her friends. She started the race with Weatherbie, Ndereba and Kastor. McGillivray started later but caught up to the group. The five friends finished together.

“We ran Catherine’s pace as the five-time winner and said hi to a lot of people and passed some people and got passed by a lot of people, and it was just fun,” a clearly invigorated Samuelson said. “It was really nice. Especially three Olympic medalists running on the 39th anniversary of my win, that was more than a gift.”

Kastor, 50, who lives in Mammoth Lakes, California, said “it didn’t really hit me until we were out there (in the race) that this is gold, silver, bronze medal running together side-by-side, and it felt so special. To come here to see what Joan has done for Cape Elizabeth, let alone the whole running community, is so special. When she invites you to come to this race, the only answer is ‘Yes.’ You clear your calendar and you come.”

Herman Garic of Utica, New York, crosses the finish line to win the men’s wheelchair division of the Beach to Beacon 10K on Saturday morning. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

WHEELCHAIR CHAMPS: Hermin Garic and Yen Hoang raced to TD Beach to Beacon 10K wheelchair titles for the second year in a row. How they got to the finish line, however, was markedly different.

Garic repeated as the men’s champion, competing the 6.2-mile course in 23 minutes, 25 seconds. He was comfortably ahead of James Senbeta (25:17), who set the course record of 21:46 in 2015, and Jason Robinson (26:20).

“It’s an excellent feeling,” Garic said. “Getting the race crew back together and getting everyone involved, that was awesome. And repeating a win, even better. It sweetens everything.”


Hoang defended her title in a time of 28:25, ahead of Hannah Babalola (31:28) and five-time champion Christina Kouros (41:37).

“It’s the same feeling,” Hoang said. “It’s always nice (to win).”

Hoang’s victory came with a physical toll. The Champaign, Illinois, resident was nearing the finish line when she carried too much speed into a left turn and careened into a fence on her right side with 100 meters to go. She pushed herself over the line with just her left arm, and received assistance in the medical tent for what she said was a fractured right wrist.

Hoang wore a cast on her right arm and an ice bag on her shoulder, with scrapes evident on her right elbow, as she recounted the events.

“I really wanted the course record (of 26:39). I was 12 seconds off of it last year, so I was just going hard while I was still in the park,” she said. “It was the last turn, and I just didn’t turn enough.”

Yen Hoang of Champaign, Illinois, crosses the Beacon to Beacon finish line as the fastest female wheelchair competitor on Saturday. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Hoang had been cruising up until the crash, pacing herself with 12-time male champion Tony Nogueira.


“We’ve been putting a lot of miles in in Illinois, trying to prep for marathon season,” she said. “We’ve been doing 18, 20 miles a day, so the six miles are pretty comfortable.”

Garic, who lives in Utica, New York, pulled away from Senbeta a mile-and-a-half in and steadily added to his lead.

“I took over, he was in my draft for a little bit and I kept inching and inching away,” Garic said. “I just kept that going, hoping that some of these guys weren’t going to catch me, and kind of pushed it about 90 percent from that point on.”

Senbeta had a problem with one of his gloves, and knew his chances of winning were essentially dashed.

“I kind of saw a piece of my glove rubber peel off. Now I’m like ‘I’ve got to coast this,'” he said. “When technical issues happen in a race this short, you’ve got to make a call about whether you can go for it.”

WITH TEMPERATURES in the 60s and fog lifting at the start of the race at 8 a.m., runners were not subjected to the heat and humidity of recent Beach to Beacons. Dr. Michael Baumann, the race medical director and chair of emergency medicine at Maine Medical Center, said there was nothing unexpected at the medical tent.


“We’ve seen 49 people so far. That’s right around average for us,” Baumann said at approximately 9:50 a.m., nearly two hours after the women’s race began at 8. “The most we’ve ever seen is 150 (patients). It was really nice having the fog earlier. It kept it nice and cool.”

The fog had lifted by the time most of the runners were on the course, and that raised the temperature into the 70s, with humidity around 65 percent. As is the case each year, a vast majority of patients seen in the medical tent were due to heat-related issues.

“It’s always heat. We have one (patient) that was 110 degrees. Some people get their body temperature up super-high. It’s always people trying to get that personal best, get that last bit in. They definitely don’t get rid of heat as easily,” Baumann said.

Baumann said an average of less than one competitor per year has to be transported via ambulance to the hospital to be treated for heat-related illness following the race.

“This year, it looks like it will be zero,” Baumann said. “There are one of two that may. We’re still undecided. We try not to transport to the hospital. We have everything we need here.”

CLARE EGAN TRIES to run Beach to Beacon every year. On the race’s 25th anniversary, the Cape Elizabeth native and former Olympic biathlete was in the field, and was pleased to see how the event has grown.


“This is kind of an annual homecoming tradition for me,” said Egan, 35. “I don’t think that’s only for me, I think a lot of people come home for this weekend, either to run it or just see a lot of their friends.

“I think what’s really cool is how much it has influenced the health of our community, how many people in Maine who maybe never had run before now can run six miles. … They see ‘Hey, anyone can do this.'”

Egan, a former Cape Elizabeth High and Wellesley College runner who competed in biathlon at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and the 2022 Beijing Olympics, finished with a time of 43:23.

“I think the last time I ran 6.2 miles was last year, in the Beach to Beacon,” she said, laughing. “I just tried to run a medium pace. It was fun. … As fast as I could go and still feel comfortable, that’s a fun zone to be in.”

Egan retired from biathlon competition at the end of the 2021-22 World Cup season. She serves on the athletes’ committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency and chairs the International Biathlon Union athletes’ committee.

RESULTS ROUNDUP: Saturday’s race marked the first time the top three Maine men all finished under 31 minutes, according to Weatherbie. Winner Matt Rand (30:41) was followed by Grady Satterfield, 19, of Bowdoinham (30:52) and Ryan Jara, 36, of Gorham (30:55). Rand, who lives in Portland, is a Cape Elizabeth native. Weatherbie was his high school coach. … In the corporate team races, Unum (women’s), TD Bank (men) and Northeast Delta Dental (mixed) won titles. Northeast Delta Dental has sponsored the Maine men’s and women’s divisions since the race’s first year. … The Maine masters divisions (40-and-over) winners were Rob Gomez of Biddeford (32:26) and Michelle Lilienthal of Portland (37:30). … Teanne Ewings, 16, a junior-to-be at Greater Houlton Christian Academy, is often overshadowed by her Class C cross country and track opponent, Ruth White of Orono. White, 17, continued to impress with her win in the Maine women’s category, but Ewings, whose best event is the mile, also had a strong 10K race. She finished 28th overall among women, sixth in the Maine women’s category in 37:04.

Press Herald reporters Steve Craig, Drew Bonifant and Travis Lazarczyk contributed to this report.

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