Tuesday, September 12, 2023

2023 TD Beach to Beacon 10K Run-- 25th Anniversary

August 24, 2023 The TD Beach to Beacon 10K celebrated its 25th anniversary on Saturday, August 5th. Two years were lost to the Covid pandemic. According to the Beach to Beacon's Year By Year recap, 1998 was the inaugural year for the race, founded by Joan Benoit Samuelson. The race had a field size of 3,000; 2,408 runners finished. By 2019 the number of finishers had climbed to 6.417 from 9 countries, 42 states and nearly 260 Maine cities and towns. Although the race brings in professional elite athletes from many states and other countries, the Beach to Beacon has always prided itself on its Maine roots and its commitment to the health and well-being of Maine residents, with a special emphasis on young people. It has become an iconic race with avid runners from across the country seeking to enter. Weather conditions for the 25th anniversary race were good, with temperatures in the mid-60's, dewpoint at 63F, moderate headwinds at 5-6 mph under cloudy to partly cloudy skies. Local residents turn out in droves to cheer the runners on, especially as they make their way through the town center around three miles into the race.

I have run in the race regularly since my first entry in August 2014 when I won my 65-69 age division in 40:39. After missing 2015 and 2016 to injury, I came back in 2017 to finish 2nd in 70-74 with a 44:30, 5th in 2018 in 50:12 (racing despite rehabbing an injury) and winning again in 2019 with a 47:22. Competitions in 2020 and 2021 were lost to the Covid pandemic. Last year I finished 3rd in 75-79 in 53:41 on a very warm day. 

My coverage of the Professional and Masters races is based on the Beach to Beacon news report [YIHUNE AND OBIRI LEAD THE PACK IN THE 25TH RUNNING OF THE TD BEACH TO BEACON 10K - TD Beach to Beacon 10k Road Race (beach2beacon.org)], a Strava post by Connor Mantz, and posted results. I cover my own 2023 race as part of the Masters coverage which begins right after coverage of the professional athletes. If you are especially interested in how my race went, scroll down to the bold 75-79 in the MASTERS AGE DIVISION section.

PROFESSIONAL The professional racers at the front provided plenty of excitement. The Women start first but, unlike some other top races, there is no equalizer bonus. The advance start is 12 minutes; the top finishers in the women's race finish before the top professional men come across the line. WOMENHelen Obiri Kenya set the pace over the first 5K for a group that included Vicoty Chepngeno Kenya, Keira D'Amato Midlothian VA, and Fotyen Tesfay Ethiopia, all at 16:14. Tucked in behind at 16:15 were Sara Hall Redding CA and Edna Kiplagat Kenya, with Fiona O'Keefe Cary NC at 16:16. News reports indicated that Tesfay moved past D'Amato into 2nd place after the 4 mile mark and battled for the lead with Obiri the rest of the way. Obiri was able to outsprint Tesfay to take the win in 31:37, one second ahead of Tesfay. 

D'Amato won her own battle, taking 3rd in 31:58, one second ahead of Chepngeno. Kiplagat edged O'Keefe for 5th, 32:23 to 32:24. Hall finished 7th in 32:32. MEN: A large pack of men broke up between miles 2 and 3. According to news reports, Connor Mantz Provo UT dictated the pace in the early stages. By the time they crossed the 5 Km Mat, there was a 6-runner lead pack with a 3-runner chase pack 5 seconds back. Walelegn Amedework Ethiopia, Edwin Kurgat Kenya, and Addisu Yihune Ethiopia were pushing the pace in front at 14:15. Muktar Edris Ethiopia, Mantz, and Biya Simbassa Flagstaff AZ were tucked in, one second behind. The chase pack consisted of Yemene Hailesellaissie Ethiopia, Reid Buchanan San Diego CA, and Hideto Kosode Japan. With about a mile to go, it appears that Mantz made a move to separate from the rest of the lead pack and Yihune went with him. With a half mile to go, Yihune took the lead. According to Mantz's Strava post, "With less than 200m to go, I made a big surge to pass him again. There was a lot of room on the left, but he saw me passing him, he ran me into the fence. My momentum was gone....I’ll look forward to my next chance to race Addisu Yihune."  With no officials in a position to view the claimed foul and no official race video to review, the complaint could not become a formal protest. Mantz's final edit to the post focused on the positive: " Today’s race was a big win in the mental game, and that’s what I’m most excited for/focused on." Yihune won in 27:56, with Mantz two seconds back in 2nd place. Eight seconds later, Edris claimed third, a good 9 seconds ahead of Kurgat. Simbassa was 5th in 28:19. A half minute later, Amedework finished 6th in 28:55, 6 seconds ahead of Hailesellaisssie, with Buchanan a second back in 8th.

MASTERS The race offers cash prizes for the top 3 masters athletes, both Men and Women, ($1000, $500, $250) and the top three Seniors, both Women and Men, 50+ ($500, $250, and $125). Places 1 through 5 win an LL Bean Gift Certificate. 

MASTERS MENEd Baker Cambridge MA 44 carved out an 18 second lead in the first half of the race, leading Chris Ritchie Stratham NH 40 16:24 to 16:42. Almost half a minute back, Matt Daly Eliot ME 40 had 8 seconds on Joe Satterfield Bowdoinham ME 46, 17:09 to 17:17. Baker was not pressed in the latter stages of the race, taking the Masters win in 33:37. Ritchie cut Baker's lead to 11 seconds but could not get any closer, taking 2nd with over a half minute on Daly. Daly's 34:25 gave him the final prize money spot, with Satterfield 13 seconds back. 

Ed Baker 33:37     Chris Ritchie 33:48     Matt Daly 34:25

Ed Baker on his way through downtown Cape Elizabeth on the way to the Win in the Masters men category at the 2023 Beach to Beacon Run in Cape Elizabeth ME Photo courtesy of Beach to Beacon Run and Geosnapshot

Chris Ritchie halfway to his 2nd place finish in the Masters men category at the 2023 Beach to Beacon Run in Cape Elizabeth ME Photo courtesy of Beach to Beacon Run and Geosnapshot

MASTERS WOMEN Gretchen Speed Portland ME 42 lived up to her name, hitting the 5K mat in 19:02 with an 18 second lead on Alixe van Sickle Denver CO 47. Adrienne Glasheen Aldie VA 44 was in 3rd at 19:25. She had a 19 second lead on the 4th place runner, Monica Diez Boston MA 49. Christine Twining Brunswick ME 48 crossed the mat 11 seconds after Diez, one second ahead of Bridget Gagne Reston VA 40. Speed stretched her lead over the 2nd half of the race, winning the Masters race by 54 seconds in 38:30. Glasheen, despite her best efforts, could only trim a single second off of the 5 second lead that van Sickle enjoyed at the 5 Km mark. Second place went to van Sickle in 39:24, with Glasheen closing out the podium at 39:28. Diez was a half-minute back in 4th at 39:59. Gagne overtook Twining in the final 3 miles, finishing 5th in 40:13, six seconds ahead of Twining.

Gretchen Speed 38:30     Alixe van Sickle 39:24     Adrienne Glasheen 39:28

Gretchen Speed running along Shore Road on her way to the win in the Masters Women category at the 2023 Beach to Beacon Run in Cape Elizabeth ME Photo courtesy of Beach to Beacon Run and Geosnapshot

Alixe van Sickle finishes off her run that carried her to 2nd place in the Masters Women category at the 2023 Beach to Beacon Run in Cape Elizabeth ME Photo courtesy of Beach to Beacon Run and Geosnapshot

SENIOR WOMEN Abby Dean Wilmington DE 50 ran almost fast enough to get on the Masters (40+) podium. And this was not her best effort; she ran much faster at the 10 Km Masters Championships in Dedham in April. Dean crossed the halfway mat in 19:54, good enough to be a half minute faster than the athlete in 2nd place, Katsue Heginbotham Lexington MA 52. Mimi Fallon Walpole MA 58 who finished 3rd at Dedham in 55-59 was having another good day, hitting the halfway mark 24 seconds slower than Heginbotham in 20:48. Renee Durgin Scarborough ME 50 was a half-minute slower than Fallon but still had a shot at the Senior podium. Dean slowed slightly over the second half of the race but was never seriously threatened. She took the win and the top Senior prize in 40:19. Heginbotham closed to within 16 seconds but could get no closer. Her 40:35 merited 2nd place. Fallon finished 3rd in 41:55. Durgin had cut her lead almost in half but was still 17 seconds slower in 4th place.

Abby Dean 40:19     Katsue Heginbotham 40:35     Mimi Fallon 41:55

Photos below in order of finish in Senior Women category: Dean, Heginbotham and Fallon

Photos courtesy of Beach to Beacon Run and Geosnapshot

SENIOR MEN There was greater strength in the 55-59 division than 50-54 this year. Peter Burke Westbrook ME 55, Byrne Decker Yarmouth ME 56, and Wayne Levy Waban ME 58, all from 55-59, started toward the front, crossing the start line just 7 seconds after the gun sounded, except for Levy who was a second behind the other two. The only runner from the 50-54 group who would challenge them for the podium was Jeremy Ashfield Bangor ME 51, who crossed the start line over a minute and a half after Burke, Decker and Levy. They would never have seen him! Burke got out the fastest, crossing the halfway mat in 18:14, very nearly a full minute ahead of Decker. Decker, in turn, had 25 seconds on Levy. But unknown to Decker and Levy, Ashfield, who didn't cross the halfway mat until over a minute after Levy, was 28 seconds ahead of Levy and three seconds ahead of Decker, on net time. Burke had no trouble claiming the win with a 36:53. Decker, despite not knowing about Ashfield, had the right plan. He ran a very evenly paced 10K, bringing him home in 38:27, which was 14 seconds faster than Ashfield. Levy had no such luck; his 39:47 left him a good 1:09 seconds slower than Ashfield, who claimed third. Levy was 4th; Christopher Mertz Easton PA 51 was 5th in 39:59.

Peter Burke 36:53     Byrne Decker 38:27     Jeremy Ashfield 38:38

Photos below in order of finish in Senior Men category: Burke, Decker and Ashfield 

Photos courtesy of Beach to Beacon Run and Geosnapshot


Age division prizes go five deep and are gift certificates to LL Bean. In this section I note some of the interesting races and exceptional performances by age grading standards. The USATF Masters LDR Committee designates scores from 80.00% to 89.99% as 'National Class' performances with the term 'World Class' reserved for 90.00% and above. At their National Championship road races, Masters LDR awards bronze performance medals to those achieving 80.00 to 84.99%; Silver Medals to those at 85.00 to 89.99% and Gold Medals to those at or above 90.00%. I cover my M75-79 division in more detail as the final section.

WOMEN The strongest division on the Women’s side was 65-69. Sharon Vos Denver CO 68 ran 51:36 for a national class PLP of 83.06 but finished 5th in the division on net time, and 5th in age grading in the division. Lucy McCausland Rehoboth Beach DE 69 sped to a 46:27 in her last year in the division to take the 65-69 win! McCausland had the only Masters World Class performance at B2B, with a PLP of 92.26! She had to come from behind as she started 19 seconds after Emie Barnes Naples FL 68. Barnes also ran 21 seconds faster over the 1st 5K; she crossed the mat 40 seconds before McCausland did. But McCausland had plenty in the tank, running a negative split--23:26/23:01. She passed Barnes on the course and took the win with over a minute to spare on net time! 

Lucy McCausland cruising along the Shore Road on her way to the 65-69 win at the 2023 Beach to Beacon Run in Cape Elizabeth ME Photo courtesy of Beach to Beacon Run and Geosnapshot 

Dawn Ebbets Exeter NH 69 was only a minute and change back at 48:50. And Ann Kilgore Millcreek UT 68 was less than a minute behind in 4th at 49:44! The PLP's for Barnes, Ebbet and Kilgore were 88.49, 87.76, and 84.96. Amazing! 

The 60-64 division was almost as strong, and the hometown favorites went 1-2, just! Erin Chalat Cape Elizabeth ME raced to a high national class time of 44:06, scoring an 88.33%. 

Erin Chalat, happy with her run along Shore Road on her way to the 60-64 win at  the 2023 Beach to Beacon Run in Cape Elizabeth ME Photo courtesy of Beach to Beacon Run and Geosnapshot 

Elizabeth Bostwick Cape Elizabeth ME 60 was a half-minute ahead of Sue George Harvard MA 61 at the halfway mark. George had started 4 seconds ahead of Bostwick. By the halfway point, Bostwick had caught and passed George. George had a stronger second half and must have passed Bostwick in real time, just before the finish line. George finished 2 seconds ahead on gun time but two seconds behind Bostwick on net time! That gave the hometown a 1-2 finish to celebrate! But I imagine George was pretty proud of her effort as well!

And 55-59 was just as strong as 60-64. 

In 55-59Mimi Fallon Walpole MA 58, who took the division bronze medal at the Masters National 10 Km Championships in Dedham MA in April, shaved a few seconds off of that time to take the win. Her 41:55 earned an 88.32 PLP. Pilar Whitworth Ellsworth ME 58 finished 2nd on net time, 43:50, and had the 2nd best age grade score, 84.46. Kelly Brown Ashburn VA 59 was not far back; her 45:00 net earned a PLP of 83.30. And that is where the national class times ended, although Mary Darling NY, NY 57, who tied her fellow New Yorker, Pamela Hunt 55, on net time got as close as you can get. Her time merited a 79.99%!

The oldest division winner, at 80, was Joan Johnson Warwick RI who finished first in 80-84 at 1:39:28.

Joan Johnson finishes off her winning effort in the 80-84 division at the 2023 Beach to Beacon Run in Cape Elizabeth ME Photo courtesy of Beach to Beacon Run and Geosnapshot 

Divisions 40-44, 45-49, and 50-54 are covered above in Masters and Senior division summaries.

MEN Baker, who was first Masters athlete and 1st in his 40-44 division, had the top Performance Level Percentage PLP at 84.12. Burke, who took first in the Senior Men competition and in the 55-59 division, had the next highest PLP at 84.12. Satterfield, who finished 4th in the Masters race and won the 45-49 division, earned an 82.98 PLP.

In 45-49, Andrew Johnson Middlebury VT 45 and Ryan McCalmon Cape Elizabeth ME 47 battled for third. As it turned out, McCalmon crossed the starting line 5 seconds before Johnson did. So, when McCalmon crossed the halfway mat in 17:48, 7 seconds before Johnson did, 5 seconds of that difference were due to the early start. Johnson made up that 7 seconds and more to take 3rd place in the division 35:35 to 35:51 for McCalmon. McCalmon, however, edged Johnson in age grading, 80.83 to 80.11. 

In 60-64 Nick Persampieri Burlington VT 63 started 11 seconds after the professional men, with John Whitfield New York NY 62 a second behind him. Phillip Stern Newton Centre MA 60, in contrast, started 32 seconds after the professional men. By the halfway mark, Stern was still 18 seconds behind Persamperi on gun time but three seconds ahead on net time, with his 20:08. Stern had passed Whitfield and crossed the mat 12 seconds before Whitfield did. Stern never did catch up to Persampieri on gun time. He held to this pace well enough to edge Persampieri by 2 seconds on net time. Persampieri never saw Stern in the race but had to accept the 2nd place prize while Stern's 40:39 gave him the division first place! 

Phillip Stern's sprint to the finish line helped him to the 60-64 win at the 2023 Beach to Beacon Run in Cape Elizabeth ME Photo courtesy of Beach to Beacon Run and Geosnapshot  

Persampieri, at 63, had the distinction of being the only athlete in the division with a national class time, scored at 82.03. Stern and Whitfield were not far off though at 79.82 and 79.47 respectively.

In 65-69, Floyd Lavery Sebago ME 66 and Edward Hughes Bangor ME 69 dueled for 2nd. Lavery started 4 seconds before Hughes. By the halfway point, Hughes had made up the 4 seconds and crossed the mat 1 second ahead of Lavery. Lavery had kept more in the tank though, running a negative split, wiping out not only the gun time advantage of Hughes but beating him by a half minute on net time, 44:37 to 45:07.

The oldest division winner, at 81, was David Barnard Yarmouth ME who took the 80-84 division crown in 1:04:47.

David Barnard chugging through downtown Cape Elizabeth on his way to becoming the oldest winner on the day at 81--at  the 2023 Beach to Beacon Run in Cape Elizabeth ME Photo courtesy of Beach to Beacon Run and Geosnapshot 

Other Age Division winners not mentioned above included: Scott Brown Lewiston ME 43:03 65 79.02; 

Scott Brown speeding along Shore Rd on his way to the 65-69 win at the 2023 Beach to Beacon Run in Cape Elizabeth ME Photo courtesy of Beach to Beacon Run and Geosnapshot 

Richard Boyle Frankford DE 45:46 71 78.93.

Richard Boyle negotiates the lowest point in the race along Shore Road, just before the finishing hills at the 2023 Beach to Beacon Run in Cape Elizabeth ME Photo courtesy of Beach to Beacon Run and Geosnapshot 

Other national class performances were turned in by Chris Ritchie 81.06; Robert Worful Melrose MA 47 81.55; Byrne Decker 81.39; Wayne Levy 80.09.

75-79 This is my division, Paul Carlin Three Oaks MI 77. Background The first year I ran was 2014. At the top of my game, two weeks before my first major hamstring injury, I took the win in the 65-69 division, with almost two minutes to spare in 40:39. Under the 2010 standards active at the time, the performance age graded at over 88%. Bill Reilly Brownfield ME 76 finished 2nd, Bob Sholl Scarborough ME 76 finished 4th, with Jose Faria Cape Elizabeth ME 75 in fifth. I mention them because I have run against those three almost every year I have raced the B2B since then. My next race was 2017 when I finished 2nd in the 70-74 division, coming in well ahead of Reilly and Sholl. I encountered Rudy Kelley Bernard ME 76 who finished a minute ahead of Sholl, for the first time. Bob Poulson, who came in ahead of me that year, has not been a regular. The next year, 2018, was Reilly's to win, with Sholl 3rd and me 5th, rehabbing after injury. Faria was 6th. Largely injury free in 2019, I dropped my 2018 time, despite warm conditions, by almost 3 minutes, to 47:22 to take the win. Kelley also improved from 2017 and was just 29 seconds back in 2nd. We missed 2020 and 2021 to Covid. Last year, in 2022, I was partially recovered from an Achilles tendon issue that had kept me from training for 7 months in late 2021. Conditions were unusually warm and humid, so times were all slower. Kelley took the 75-79 win in 51:07, with Sholl 1:46 back in 2nd. I finished 3rd, 48 seconds behind Sholl. Reilly was, unfortunately, four minutes further back. No doubt he was hampered by an injury or other barrier to successful distance running. Although in the 70-74 division last year, Bob Mildrum St Albans VT 75 ran a minute faster than Kelley and Faria, also in 70-74, ran 9 seconds faster than Sholl. 

The 2023 Race Thirty-three competitors aged 75-79 finished the race. With Faria, Kelley, Mildrum, Sholl and Reilly all lining up against me, as well as possibly unknown new challengers, how would 2023 go? The good news was that conditions were much more pleasant to run in. Would I be able to break 50 minutes again in a 10K? I had come close at the Masters 10 Km National Championships in 2022, with a 50:02 and again this year, with a 50:04. And what about the 80% age grading barrier? I have not cracked that at this race since 2017 when I graded at 82.19% under the 2015 standards in force at the time. 

The only information I have on the race my rivals ran is the halfway split that the race provides. None of them post on Strava, as far as I can tell. I post on Strava and, of course, can review my GPS watch history in any case. The first part of the race is downhill, followed by an uphill which wipes out a large part of the 40' drop in the first quarter mile. Still, at the end of the first Mile, Strava says there has been a 29' drop overall. I knew I needed to run that first mile well under 8 minutes to have a good day. My watch is set to report 1-mile splits. The first one was 7:32. It could certainly be a good day! But I knew I needed to keep it going. The terrain is misleading. The 2nd mile doesn't really have a steep part but there apparently is a stretch from the 1 mile to the 1.8 mile where we gain 50' even though the grade is usually below 1% and never gets above 2.2%. The goal through there is to keep the 2nd mile split from climbing much above 8 minutes. The second split was 8:01. That seemed okay but I was worried the next split might be higher and I needed some seconds in the bank for mile 6 where we climb up toward Fort William Park and the Portland Light. The elevation chart on Mile 3 is deceptive. It simply says -8'. That should be a fast stretch then, right? Not necessarily. You drop 80' in the first half mile but then you climb up all but 8' of that 80' drop to get your -8'. So you have to be careful not to hold back too much on the downhill stretch because you will surely give back time on the uphill. Others use the approach of holding back a bit more on the downhill and attacking the hills. That used to work better for me. Now I find it does not. Strava shows that my pace on the downhill dropped as low as 7:01/mile for a very short stretch. On the steepest stretch my pace slowed to 9:30 per mile, again for a short stretch, and did not return to 8:00 per mile until we crossed the 5 km mat before turning back up onto Ocean House Road in downtown Cape Elizabeth near the high school. But that was okay. My split for the third mile was 7:58. I had almost a half-minute in the bank toward the goal of averaging under 8 per mile. My official halfway split was 24:29. 

Where were my rivals? I did not know. Only by checking later can I see that Kelley had started three seconds in front of me and had run the first half of the race in 24:19. So he crossed the mat 13 seconds ahead of me. The fastest halfway split for our crew was by 'young' Mildrum, in his first year in the division, at 24:04. But since he started 46 seconds after me, and was 25 seconds faster, he was still 21 seconds behind me, on gun time, when he crossed the mat at 5K. Faria was over a minute slower than me at 25:48 and Reilly and Sholl were at 27:17 and 27:39 respectively.

Mile 4 was more of the same. We climbed 33' in the first two-thirds of a mile and lost that and 7' more as we turned down onto Shore Road. My 7:55 split buoyed my spirits! 

Running Along the Shore Road at the 2023 Beach to Beacon Run in Cape Elizabeth ME photo courtesy of B2B

Mile 5 is sweet. The course drops 40' in a series of rolling downhills through the first three-quarters of a mile. During that stretch, my top speed was 6:58 per mile. The last quarter mile carries you into the start of the closing hills, but overall, it should be the fastest mile split. I delivered, at 7:50. Mile 6 has been the end of many high hopes. In the first 0.4 mile you climb 40' in a series of three rolling climbs. But then you have two more valleys where there is a dip followed by a climb. By the time you are at 5.9 miles, you are 52' higher than you started the day. My split for that mile was 8:27; that is why I needed seconds in the bank. At that point, Garmin tells me that we had 235.5 feet of ascent in the run. The final 200 meters or so drops you 33 feet downhill to the finish. My average pace for that last bit was 7:13 per mile, topping out at 6:20! My final time was 49:33.

Later after climbing over the hill and down to the post-race snacks area, I discovered the individual time board. If you walked up close to it, your bib # could be read by the device and your official time and division place would appear. Dave McGillivray and DMSE at the top their game, Tech wise! My reading showed 49:33 and 75-79 3rd place. Same place as last year but at least this year I broke 50! I averaged 7:56 per mile over the 6.25 miles my gps had recorded, presumably reflecting that I had not always run the tangents well. If I figure it over 6.2137 miles, the true distance in miles following all tangent lines, I get 7:58.46 per mile, still under 8:00. The national class performance still eludes me, at 79.56%. I took some consolation from knowing that if the 2015 standards had not been updated in 2020, it would have been an 81.13%. 

Mildrum took the win by almost a minute in 48:27. 

Bob Mildrum looking strong 5 miles in on his way to the 75-79 win at the 2023 Beach to Beacon Run in Cape Elizabeth ME Photo courtesy of Beach to Beacon Run and Geosnapshot  

Interestingly, Kelley had been ten seconds faster than me on net time at the halfway mark and was still ten seconds ahead at the finish. We had negotiated the second half of the race in exactly the same time, 25:04. 

Rudy Kelley, striding along on his way to a 2nd place finish in 75-79 at the 2023 Beach to Beacon Run in Cape Elizabeth ME Photo courtesy of Beach to Beacon Run and Geosnapshot  

Kelley was at 49:23 in 2nd; I took 3rd (and enjoyed an LL Bean Gift Card). Faria was 4th in 51:59, Sholl 6th in 54:04, with Reilly 7th in 55:29. 

Sprinting to the Finish Behind Two of My Younger Rivals-At the 2023 Beach to Beacon Run in Cape Elizabeth ME Photo courtesy of B2B

I turn 78 in October; this was a good outing. The goals for next year include: being healthy enough to run next August, breaking 50 again, 8:00 per mile and the age grade of 80% or better. If I can achieve all of those, a podium goal should be included. A goal of winning will probably have to wait until 2026 when I will be 80 and 10 months. And, of course, I am always happy to be able to race, regardless of the outcome. It is a gift and a privilege at 77; it gets bigger each year.

1 comment:

  1. Nice run Paul. I also enjoyed the article. Thanks for doing this for us masters.