TD Beach to Beacon still has a few entry spots available

·3 min read

Jul. 26—In its return from a two-year COVID hiatus, the TD Beach to Beacon 10K road race still has a few spots available for runners to participate in the 2022 race on Aug. 6.

Typically, the Beach to Beacon entries sell out on the first day general registration opens in March. On Tuesday morning race organizers sent a mass email notifying people they still had an opportunity to pay $65 to run in the iconic race founded by 1984 Olympic marathon gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson.

"The way the registration system went this year was completely different than in the past and the numbers got skewed," said Matt West, the CEO of DMSE which is in charge of race management for Beach to Beacon, the Boston Marathon and many other top-tier road races. "It truly is a response to the pandemic."

As of 1:30 on Tuesday afternoon, there were less than 100 registration spots available, West said. Registration is available on the race's website. COVID vaccinations are required for all runners and volunteers.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic and, specifically Maine's strict limits on crowd sizes, the 2020 TD Beach to Beacon was canceled in late April of that year. Entry fees (then $55) were refunded and registered runners were given first-priority to register in 2021. In 2021, race organizers opted to hold a virtual-only event. The first 1,000 entries to the 2021 virtual event were also given priority status for this year's race.

More than 3,500 runners who had registered for either the canceled 2020 race or participated in the 2021 virtual event claimed their entry into Maine's largest road race through early registration from March 1-7. Approximately 4,000 runners were eligible to sign up at that time.

West said registration for Cape Elizabeth residents and general population runners "sold out where we thought it would sell out but we ended up with more," available spots. "When you do something different it produces different results and that's what we're seeing."

While much slower than a pre-pandemic year, Beach to Beacon's registration rate is well above the national norm in 2022, said West, who is also the president of the board of Running USA, the running industry's trade association.

"As a general number, it's in the 60 to 70 percent of what the 2019 numbers were," West said. "Some of that is a reaction to COVID restrictions, whether those are governmental, self-imposed, venue-imposed."

West said he suspects the decline in road race numbers can be attributed to several factors, including runner hesitancy to return to a large-crowd event, vaccination requirements, and a 9.1 percent annual inflation rate, the highest since 1981.

Beach to Beacon annually draws runners from across the country, with the race serving as the centerpiece of a Maine vacation.

Beach to Beacon will be looking to fill roughly 7,700 registrations, recognizing there is a typical 15-20 percent no-show rate on race day, West said. In 2019, 6,419 runners reached the finish line at Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth.

Volunteers have been a key part of Beach to Beacon becoming a world-class event with top international professionals and Maine's largest field of runners. Volunteer registration for 2022 is also still open.

"We are still actively recruiting volunteers, we can find a place for every single helpful hand," said Chandra Leister of Portland, Beach to Beacon's volunteer coordinator.

Leister said Beach to Beacon typically has between 800-900 volunteers with many filling multiple roles throughout the weekend and the recruitment of volunteers typically continues right up until race day.

"We're in good shape. We need more. It's hard to put a number on how many because we're looking to fill minimum spots and then we have places for everybody," Leister said.

All volunteers receive a shirt with the race design and are celebrated at the volunteer party held at Fort Williams on Wednesday. A list of well over 100 spots where volunteers are needed is on the race website.