Minneapolis/St. Paul - Sept. 8, 2009 - Team USA Minnesota's Jason Lehmkuhle placed third at the USA 20k Championships in New Haven, Conn., in a personal best time of 59:04. Making his third appearance at the 20k race, held in conjunction with the Stratton Faxon New Haven 20k Road Race on Labor Day, Lehmkuhle previously finished third in 2007 in 59:42, and fifth in 2006 with a time of 59:55.
Also running in the 20k Championships was Patrick Smyth, who finished 11th with a time of 1:00:43, and Kristen Nicolini Lehmkuhle who placed sixth in the women's field with a time of 1:09:06. Both Smyth and Nicolini Lehmkuhle were running the 20k distance for the first time.
The men's race was marked by a fast start with a 4:34 first mile, 23:08 at the five mile mark, 28:56 at 10k and 47:34 at 10 miles. Lehmkuhle was in the lead pack from the beginning and was one of the final three men from the 10k point until the finish. A sprint to the finish line put Lehmkuhle in third (first place was 58:57 and second was 59:01).
"It was a really good race," said Lehmkuhle. "We got out very well although I knew immediately that this was not 20k pace. You make a decision a couple of miles in on a race like this whether you back off or you go with it. I decided I was going to play this out and see what happens. I didn't know what my race fitness was since I had not raced for awhile (since July 11 when he won the Midnight Madness 10k in Iowa). I am just starting my race buildup for the ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 1, which is also the USA Men's Marathon Championship."
Lehmkuhle and Smyth plan to run the USA Men's 10 Mile Championship on Oct. 4 which will be hosted by the Medtronic TC 10 Mile. Nicolini Lehmkuhle will be making her marathon debut at the USA Women's Marathon Championship on Oct. 4, held in conjunction with the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon.
Josh Moen won the 27th annual MDRA (Minnesota Distance Running Association) Victory 10k on Labor Day with a time of 29:30 (second place was 30:38). Moen immediately went to the front of the field on the out-and-back course and by four miles had a 30 second lead over the rest of the competitors, which he continued to increase for a strong finish.
Up next for Moen will be the USA Men's 10 Mile Championship on Oct. 4 at Twin Cities followed by the USA Men's Marathon Championship on Nov. 1 at New York.
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.