CONFIDENT KOGO SEEKS THIRD TITLE AT TD BEACH TO BEACON 10-K
By Chris Lotsbom, @ChrisLotsbom
(c) 2014 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved, used with permission.
CAPE ELIZABETH, MAINE (01-Aug) — Micah Kogo is well aware that he’d make race history tomorrow morning if he breaks the finish tape first at the 17th annual TD Beach to Beacon 10-K. The 28-year-old Kenyan is seeking his third win in four years, hoping to join fellow countryman Gilbert Okari as the only men ever to achieve a trifecta of titles here on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.
“It is an amazing time for me being back for a third time, looking forward to defend my title this year,” Kogo told Race Results Weekly. “I’ve been training well with no injury, and I am looking forward for me to try and do my very best.”
Relying on a strong finish, Kogo separated from Silas Kipruto in the final mile of last year’s contest, going on to win by five seconds in 28:03.3. While beginning his build-up for a fall marathon, Kogo has focused on fine-tuning that same killer kick this year, knowing it may come in handy tomorrow morning. Of the last ten editions of this race, eight have been decided by six seconds or less.
“I have been going on with my training for a fall marathon, but for speed work I did shorter distances to put more speed in my body,” he said, describing various sessions consisting of 800’s, 400’s, and 200’s. “For speed, I hope I have speed. If they test my body, it should respond to go with the leaders no problem.”
Kogo knows that retaining his title may be tough considering the rest of the field. Fellow countrymen Bedan Karoki, fifth in the 2012 Olympic 10,000m, Emmanuel Bett, who boasts a 26:51.16 personal best on the track, and Patrick Makau, the former marathon world record holder, are all entered. Stephen Kosgei Kibet, Markos Geneti, and Sam Chelanga will also vie for the podium.
Maine native Ben True is seeking to become the first American to claim the $10,000 winning prize, while Meb Keflezighi will do his best to contend despite battling a niggle in his hamstring.
“I see the field is very strong this year, and I hope to defend my title and also to try and do my best time,” said Kogo, the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist at 10,000m.
At today’s press conference, it was revealed that Karoki, 23, has his eyes firmly set on Gilbert Okari’s course record of 27:28. In addition to telling race organizers his plan to go after the time, Karoki discussed the mark with Kogo. The latter anticipates a fast early pace to try and better the mark that has stood for eleven years.
“My Kenyan colleague said he wants to run fastest time, Bedan Karoki, so I should go with him if my body can respond because I am feeling a fastest time,” said Kogo. “My personal best is 27:01. So if my body can respond, it all depends on my body responding.”
Speaking to members of the media after his 2013 win, Kogo gushed about the sense of community he felt while here competing, thanking his host family and all the fans lining the 6.2 mile course. The fans, he said then, spurred him on to victory.
Today, Kogo told Race Results Weekly he was most excited to try and win for a third time in front of friends and his host family, Erin & Joe Chalat.
“It would be great for me because I love the course and the people, the fans and also the host families,” he said. “The more special thing is the host families. They host you for maybe a couple days, then you go and compete, and to them you are family. It is like they are your own family. It is a great achievement for me if I can be defending my champion, my title for the host family here in Maine.”
PHOTO: Micah Kogo in advance of Saturday’s TD Beach to Beacon 10-K where he is seeking his third title (photo by Chris Lotsbom for Race Results Weekly)