The Sunday evening race under the neon lights of the famous Las Vegas Strip attracted a deep field of American competitors as well as thousands of participants in the half marathon. Lehmkuhle posted 1:03:37 and Gabrielson’s time was 1:04:19 on a course that was also at altitude (just over 2000 feet). The two teammates ran near to each other throughout the race. Both are preparing to compete at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials in Houston on Jan. 14.
“All things considered, I’d qualify the race as a successful tune-up,” said Lehmkuhle. “Like many of the guys in the field, I definitely felt some of the accumulated marathon training in my legs, but the goal going in was just to remind my body of the feeling of racing and getting a hard effort in.
“The race itself was a pretty amazing experience. Racing down the middle of Las Vegas Boulevard at night is something I won’t soon forget.”
McGregor’s time of 1:11:45 was a personal best in the half marathon (previous was 1:12:01) with Peyton posting 1:14:57. The two are also training for the marathon trials where Peyton will be making her debut in the distance.
“I know I still have a lot of work to do but I am satisfied with a PR,” said McGregor. “It shows me that I am moving in the right direction. Benita (Willis, an Australian who won the race in 1:10:40 which was a course record) took the race out hard. I never checked my splits so I am not sure what pace we were running but Amy (Hastings who was the second place finisher in 1:11:22) and I worked our way up to her in the first mile.
“I was basically keying off those two, so I didn’t really ever lead the race. I stayed with them until around 7 or 8 miles. The course was a slight downhill going out, then made a bunch of turns for a few miles before heading back to the Strip. It was slightly uphill on the way back with a little headwind.”
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 the competitiveness of 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 Twin Cities In Motion (www.tcmevents.org). It is also supported by the New York Road Runners and the USA Distance Project. For more information, visit the team’s web site at www.teamusaminnesota.org.