TD Beach to Beacon 10K founder and Olympic gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson offers tips ahead of race

The TD Beach to Beacon 10K is happening on Saturday, August 5,and it's celebrating a major milestone: 25 years. It was founded in 1998 by Olympic gold medalist and Mainer Joan Benoit Samuelson. 

The race draws top athletes from around the world to Cape Elizabeth.

TD Bank sponsors the race and, this year, the beneficiary is Valo, a nonprofit organization that offers free programs to help Maine teens with their emotional wellbeing.

Benoit Samuelson said a diverse mix of people run the race, which makes it even more exciting for all.

"The kids run came along shortly after the 10K, and now the high school mile, which is very competitive, so there is something really for everybody," she explained. "

And my favorite part of the race is the fact that we've pulled many runners off the sidelines; those people who have come to cheer the runners on and then asked themselves, 'Do you think I might be able to cover the distance?' and they come out and they cover the distance. And I love being at the finish line for the invited runners, the professional runners, and I like being at the finish line when the stragglers come in, those people who never thought they could do the distance."Race day includes the wheelchair division, elite women, and the general public. The competitive high school mile and the children's 1K race will take place on Friday, August 5, at Fort Williams.

Benoit Samuelson said she founded the race as a way to give back to her community and promote the importance of a healthy lifestyle. This year, more than 6,500 runners and 800 volunteers are expected to participate.Larry Wold is the president for TD Bank in Maine. He is a legacy runner, meaning he has run the race for the past 24 years.

"To be able to run in the same race at the same time with world class athletes, with world record holders, with Olympic gold medalists, and know that you are in the same event they are, [it] has a fun attraction to it," he explained. "We know there are families that have now established sort of family routines around this event."

Wold offered some tips for everyone participating.

"Don't go out too fast. Make sure you are well hydrated, let the crowd bring you along, run a nice steady comfortable pace, and you are going to be great," he said.

Of course, Benoit Samuelson also gave some advice for runners. 

"Just make sure your buildup is gradual. Don't try to build room over night. It's important to stay fit at some level throughout the year, and then a lot of people go out and run the course, some people have never gone 10K in training and they hope that they can go the distance after maybe running 3 to 5 mile runs on a regular basis," she said. "Don't try anything new race week, meaning don't change your diet in any significant way and don't try the newest and latest item on the market that might improve your performance. Make sure you have double knots in your shoe laces."

Race day is usually hot and humid, so Benoit Samuelson said to wear at hat and clothes that are light in color.

posted Thursday July 27th
by Hannah Yechivi