BEACH TO BEACON: AUGUST 4, 2007

PORTLAND PRESS HERALD

The Beach to Beacon 10K road race turned 10 in grand fashion Saturday. Three new champions were crowned. A wheelchair course record was lowered. The race founder, Joan Benoit Samuelson, ran through the streets of her youth.

“It was great,” Samuelson said after arriving at fog-bound Fort Williams alongside Jacqueline Gareau, the respective 1979 and 1980 Boston Marathon champions. “I’ve run these roads all by myself for so many miles and so many years. To see the course transformed on race day is hard to explain.”

Duncan Kibet of Kenya and Luminita Talpos of Romania are the new men’s and women’s champions, respectively. Kibet, in his first Maine visit, outsprinted a fellow Kenyan, Evans Cheryiout, to win by six-tenths of a second in 27 minutes, 51.7 seconds, after passing two runners inside Fort Williams.

Talpos, in her seventh attempt at this race, finally broke the tape with a toothy smile to win by eight seconds over Nataliya Berkut of Ukraine in 32:20.3. Talpos had been fifth four times, third and second before leading from start to finish this year.

Roughly $60,000 in prize money was awarded Saturday, including $1,000 to the three-time winner of the Maine women’s category, Emily LeVan of Wiscasset. Her winning time of 35:01.3 missed the oldest of the course records – set in 1998 by Julia Kirtland – by five seconds.

Nineteen-year-old Ayalew Taye, a former Portland High runner who will be a freshman at Georgetown University this fall, won the Maine men’s race in 30:46.8 after finishing third the previous two years.

On top of a $30,000 cash donation from the race sponsor, TD Banknorth, the race director, Dave McGillivray, pledged a dollar for every runner who beat Samuelson.

She finished 364th in a time of 41:57.2.

McGillivray told a crowd at the awards ceremony that math was never his strong suit, so he rounded up from 363 to $2,000.