Last year, Wude Ayalew won the 18th TD Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race in Cape Elizabeth, Maine clocking 31:56.

Cape Elizabeth— Ethiopia’s Wude Ayalew will be back to defend her TD Beach to Beacon 10K title next month.

Saturday, Aug. 6, will be Wude Ayalew’s fifth time competing at Beach to Beacon,  and this time she won’t need to navigate around male runners. She’ll also be competing against a field that pared down due to the Summer Olympics in Rio, which begin the same weekend at Beach to Beacon.

While revealing the 27 professional runners in this year’s Beach to Beacon field Friday, organizers also announced the first-ever Elite Women’s start in the race’s 19-year history. The women will start at 8 a.m., which is 12 minutes ahead of the men and the rest of the field.

Race director Dave McGillivray said the Elite Women’s start offers the top female runners the opportunity to compete head-to-head while also providing their race with increased exposure among spectators and media. McGillivray also directs the B.A.A. Boston Marathon and the Falmouth Road Race, two other prominent races that start women earlier than men.

“We thought it would be a nice idea this year to showcase the women more — that is, enable everyone to see them better in the race rather than mixed in with the men,” McGillivray said.

Several talented runners will be in Rio, but Elite Athlete Coordinator Larry Barthlow said he is pleased with the field despite the challenges encountered in an Olympic year.

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