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Updated: August 8, 2022

TD Beach to Beacon 10K race makes comeback, raises $70K for Portland charity

Runner crossing finish line checking watch on wrist Photo / Jim Neuger Matthew Kimeli of Kenya won the men's division of Saturday's TD Beach to Beacon 10K race with a time of 28:38.
Wheelchair athlete crosses finish line Photo / Jim Neuger Yen Hoang, of Illinois, won the women's wheelchair division in a time of 26:51.
Female runner reaching the finish line Photo / Jim Neuger Fentyea Belayneh of Ethiopia approaches the finish line at Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth to win the women's division in a time of 32:06.
Volunteer with water bottles. Photo / Jim Neuger After the race, volunteers handed out bottles of water to thirsty athletes.

As Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” blared over the loudspeaker at Cape Elizabeth's Fort Williams Park, the first athletes — in wheelchairs and running on foot — crossed the finish line at Saturday’s TD Beach to Beacon 10K race, back in person for the first time since 2019.

“It was tough. The headwind was pretty tough,” 32-year-old Hermin Garic, of Utica, N.Y., said after winning the men’s wheelchair division in 23 minutes and 11 seconds. “I’m happy, I’m good,” he added as he waited for fellow racers before heading off to get water. Yen Hoang, 25, of Champaign, Ill., was the top female wheelchair finisher with a time of 26:51.

Garic and Hoang were among more than 7,600 registered participants from a dozen countries. Athletes braved hot temperatures and humidity to compete in the 24th running of the event.

The race, which debuted in 1998 with 2,408 runners crossing the finish line, was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic and held virtually in 2021, with more than 2,000 participants. The Beach to Beacon was launched by Cape Elizabeth native Joan Benoit Samuelson, the gold medalist in the first women’s Olympic marathon in 1984.

Larry Wold, Maine state president of race sponsor TD Bank, is a regular participant.

Larry Wold at running race.
File photo / Renee Cordes
Larry Wold, who will retire at year's end as TD Bank's Maine market president, stops to talk to volunteers after completing the 2022 TD Beach to Beacon 10K race.

“Now I’m done. I feel great,” Wold told Mainebiz between breaths after his run. “We were confident the runners would come back,” and pleasantly surprised that spectators also “turned out in force,” he said.

The 10-kilometer, or 6.2-mile, hilly course goes from outside Crescent Beach State Park on Route 77 to Fort Williams and the beacon that is Portland Head Light. The 2022 edition raised more than $70,000 for the Cromwell Center for Disabilities Awareness, a Portland-based nonprofit designated as this year’s beneficiary.

The amount includes $30,000 from TD Bank and $40,000 from participants, with the final total due to go up following related fundraisers for the beneficiary.

'That when is now’

Matthew Kimeli, 24, of Kenya, a former national champion in the 10,000 meters, was the first-place men’s finisher in 28 minutes and 38 seconds; while Fentyea Belayneh, 21, of Ethiopia, was the first woman to finish, in 32 minutes and 6 seconds. The fastest Mainer was 21-year-old Sam Mills of Biddeford, who clocked in at 31 minutes and 8 seconds.

Throughout the morning, two announcers offered encouragement to participants, reassuring those competing for the first time that “this won’t be your last,” and that “it was never a question of if, it was only a question of when you can cross the finish line. That when is now.”

Spectators included Turner resident Laurie Sidelinger, the board chairperson for Honor Flight Maine, a Portland-based nonprofit that brings veterans to Washington, D.C., to tour, experience and reflect at the military service memorials there.

Watching Saturday’s race, she held a poster featuring a red-colored heart and message of support for her fiancé, Gary St. Laurent, who turned 60 the day before. He ran the Beach to Beacon in honor of Tina White, a 46-year-old neighbor recently killed by a hit-and-run driver.

“Our hearts are broken but this is a good tribute to her,” Sidelinger said.

During the hilltop awards presentation, TD Bank’s Wold gave a shout-out to the town of Cape Elizabeth for again rolling out its “green carpet” and to the hundreds of volunteers that helped ensure a smooth return, saying: “This year felt like more of a commitment to volunteer.”

Samuelson was also on stage, embracing top finishers and telling all those gathered that “this day belongs to all of you … We’re back, and we’re back for good.”

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