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Kastor To Continue Comeback At Beach To Beacon

It's a race she's long wanted to run.

Deena Kastor after finishing second at the 2010 NYC Half-Marathon. Photo: Jane Monti

It’s a race she’s long wanted to run.

Written by: David Monti

(c) 2011 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

American marathon record holder Deena Kastor will continue her comeback from maternity leave at the TD Bank Beach to Beacon 10K in Cape Elizabeth, Me., a week from Saturday, organizers reported yesterday. For Kastor, 38, the Beach to Beacon will be her second race since giving birth to daughter Piper Bloom Kastor on Feb. 21.

She first dipped her toe back in the competitive distance running waters at the NYRR New York Mini 10K on June 11, where she clocked 35 minutes flat, good for 25th place.  She’ll be using the Beach to Beacon as part of her build up to the USA Olympic Marathon Trials on January 14.  It’s also a race she’s long wanted to do, especially given her admiration for race founder, Joan Samuelson.

“I am finally running Beach to Beacon, which for years has been at the top of my list for races I want to run,” Kastor said in an e-mail message to Race Results Weekly.  “Joan Benoit Samuelson continues to be a hero of mine and a great source of inspiration in running and in life.  Not only is the race founded by Joan, but it is not surprisingly also known for its competitiveness and hospitality.”

Kastor, whose résumé includes victories at the Chicago, London and USA Olympic Trials marathons, has been coming back to top form at a gradual pace.  She said she wants to make sure that she builds the underlying strength she’ll need for hard marathon training so she can avoid injury.  She hopes that her trip to Maine from her home in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., will provide a spark for her training. “I have been anticipating this trip out east and hope a lighter week of training leading into the race will have me ready to race well,” she continued.  “I’m not exactly where I want to be in my training, but look forward to a challenging race.”

Challenging indeed.

Elite athlete coordinator Larry Barthlow has recruited a very strong women’s field, including Ethiopia’s Werknesh Kidane, Wude Ayalew Yimer, Aheza Kiros, Misiker Mekonnin Demissie, Buzunesh Deba, and Belainesh Gebre.  Other contenders for victory include Kenyans Catherine Ndereba and Jelliah Kerubo Tinega. Kastor’s USA teammate at the Beach to Beacon will be marathoner Adriana Nelson of Ft. Collins, Colo. “We’ve had some fast fields in the history of this race, that’s our reputation, but this may be the fastest yet,” Barthlow said through a news release. He continued: “It’s going to be something to see.” On the men’s side, Gebre Gebremariam, the defending champion from Ethiopia and last November’s ING New York City Marathon champion, will be in an excellent field which also includes top Kenyans Micah Kogo, Sam Chelanga, Wilson Chebet, and Alan Kiprono amongst others.

The best Americans entered are Patrick Smyth of Mammoth Lakes, Calif., and Jason Hartmann of Boulder, Colo.  Boasting a picturesque course which hugs the rugged Maine coast and finishes in Fort Williams Park at the Portland Head Light, the Beach to Beacon 10K was founded by Joan Samuelson in 1998 as a celebration of New England running.  Last year’s event saw a record 5,671 runners cross the finish line.  The race winners both received $10,000, as they will again this year, plus the chance to earn an additional $2,500 for a course record.