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USM freshman wins race to register first for Beach to Beacon

Toia Francis is a freshman at USM. This will be her fourth TD Beach to Beacon 10K, but it's the first time she has ever been the first registrant. She gives all the credit to autofill.

CUMBERLAND, Maine — Toia Francis is a freshman cross country and track and field runner attending the University of Southern Maine. 

She woke up at 6:55 a.m. Friday to register for her fourth TD Beach to Beacon 10K race, joining 3,999 runners to collectively fill all slots in a speedy 13 minutes.

But Toia had a pleasant surprise by winning another kind of race – the race to register – when she became the first registrant of this year's race. 

All the credit, she says, goes to autofill.

Credit: Toia Francis

"I have all my information saved already in my computer. I don't have to type anything in, and so I just clicked enter and that was it. I was done." The only thing Toia did have to think about was her T-shirt size. 

Unlike years past, this year's March 15 registration of the now-famous Maine 10K was void of any glitches, and Toia says by 7 a.m. she was back in bed. 

The South Portland student hopes to pick up her already swift pace in this year's Beach to Beacon and wants to run it in under 52 minutes. 

  • 2018 Toia ran B2B in :56
  • 2017 Toia ran B2B in 1:03
  • 2016 Toia ran B2B in 1:01

Toia runs cross country and track at USM, competing in the 400-meter, 800-meter and one-mile distances. She has been recovering from a stress fracture recently but says she should be in good shape for the August race.

RELATED: 2019 Beach to Beacon registration fills up in 13 minutes

In the past, Toia has not trained for the Beach to Beacon, but this year it will be different, she says. Toia says she loves running Beach to Beacon.

"There are a lot of supporters. There are a lot of people to run with...you are never running alone because there are so many people." But the best part for Toia is after the race. 

Credit: NCM