Moen ran an upfront race from the gun, taking the lead at various times during the race. "I felt good and I am really fit," he said. "I just took the approach of 'run hard or go home' and I wanted to make the race honest so I pushed the pace." Although Moen is preparing to run the USA Men's Marathon Championship in New York on Nov. 1, he dropped his mileage down to 90 miles this past week to taper for the race.
"It was fun to see Josh, Patrick and Jason run so well," said Team USA Minnesota coach Dennis Barker. "They have had some good workouts together in the last few weeks and were confident going into the race. Josh's battle with Abdi (Abdirahman who took first place) was entertaining. Every time I saw them on the course they were trading off surging on each other."
Smyth and Lehmkuhle ran together for much of the race, with Smyth edging out his teammate once the finish line was in sight. "I'm really happy to bounce back well from the 20k (championships on Labor Day where he placed 11th)," said Smyth. "I didn't have any real problems during this race. We had a good clip going. It was a good course with lots of variation in the terrain so it was easy to not get into a lull."
Race morning temperatures were in the mid-40s with an overcast sky and a slight breeze.
USA Women's Marathon Championship
At the USA Women's Marathon Championship, held today as part of the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, Kristen Nicolini Lehmkuhle finished in third place with a time of 2:35:06. The race was her debut marathon as well as her highest finish in a U.S. championship event, having previously placed fifth at the USA Women's 10 Mile Championship and sixth at the USA 20k Championships this year. The time is under the "A" standard of 2:39 for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.
"I went out a little quicker than I would have liked and found myself alone by mile seven so I was glad when some others caught up with me," she said. "Another competitor and I were together on Summit Avenue and I thought if I had anything left, I would pick it up going down the hill to the finish line in order to get third place. I have always been curious about this distance and I really enjoyed the training for it. I hoped it would be a memorable experience and it was. I had a lot of supporters out on the course calling my name."
Michelle Lilienthal Frey, who has been returning from a long plantar injury, also achieved her qualifier for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials by running 2:42:54 to obtain the "B" standard (under 2:46). "This was such a great debut for Kristen and it has been really great training with her," said Lilienthal Frey, who has a best of 2:35:51 in the distance. "At this point, I don't have enough long runs in my legs but I hope to get my "A" qualifier in the marathon either next spring or fall."
According to Coach Barker, "the whole team felt good going into the weekend. They had all stayed healthy during training except for Michelle missing a couple of weeks. Kristen has enjoyed moving up to run some longer races this year. She has handled the marathon training well and today looked more confident as the race progressed. They all ran in the range of what we thought they could. It's a great group to coach."
Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon
Running in the open men's division of the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, Antonio Vega finished in eighth place with a time of 2:15:45, a personal best by 8 minutes. "Last year at Twin Cities didn't go well for me but this time in my second marathon I am making steps in the right direction," said Vega. "I woke up with a tight hamstring this morning so I knew I just needed to buckle down and run my own race. However, I was able to run with Luke (Watson who finished seventh) from mile 11 on and that really helped. This is my home town so it is huge for me to run well here."
About Team USA Minnesota
Team USA Minnesota is based in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul. Formed in 2001, the purpose of the training center is to improve post-collegiate American distance running and to develop Olympians. The athletes are coached by Dennis Barker, head cross country and track coach at Augsburg College in Minneapolis. Team USA Minnesota's major sponsor is Life Time Fitness (www.lifetimefitness.com) and its silver sponsor is the Twin Cities Marathon, Inc. (www.mtcmarathon.org). It is also supported by the New York Road Runners and the USA Distance Project. For more information, visit the web site at www.teamusaminnesota.org.