Twin Cities host top U.S. distance athletes this weekend
from USATF - INDIANAPOLIS - The top long distance runners in the U.S. will toe the line this Sunday as the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon plays host to the championships for the USA Women's Marathon, Masters Marathon and Men's 10 Miles.
Abdi Abdirahman (Tucson, Ariz.) will return to the Twin Cities to seek his fourth USA title at 10 miles but will face a strong field that includes this year's USA 15 km champion Anthony Famiglietti (Knoxville, Tenn.). Abdirahman and Famiglietti will face a field that includes Mohamed Trafeh (Flagstaff, Ariz.) and local favorite Jason Lehmkuhle (Minneapolis, Minn.), the second and third place finishers at the 2009 USA 20 km championships last month in New Haven, Conn.
The championship will offer $25,000 in total prize money with the champion earning $10,000.
Four-time Olympian Colleen De Reuck leads both the open and masters women's field Sunday. The 2004 Olympic Trials Marathon Champion, De Reuck recently won the USA Women's 20 km Championships and will lead a field of 30 women who competed in the 2008 Olympic Trials Marathon, which includes 2009 USA 25 km champion Sally Meyerhoff (Eugene, Ore.) and local favorite Kristin Nicolini (Minneapolis, Minn.).
The women's marathon will feature $72,500 in prize money with $25,000 going to the champion.
For the 19th consecutive year, the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon hosts the USA Masters Marathon Championship featuring the return of defending men's champion Dennis Simonaitis (Draper, Utah). Simonaitis will face 2009 USA Masters Half Marathon and 15 km champion Paul Aufdemberge (Redford, Mich.).
Racing De Reuck for the masters women's title will be defending champion Susan Empey (Mercer Island, Wash.) and 2008 runner-up Meghan Arbogast (Corvallis, Ore.).
The USA Masters Marathon Championships will feature over $50,000 in prize money with the overall men's and women's masters champions earning $7,500 each.
Olympic Trials qualifying begins
The women's marathon championships will also be the first and only day in 2009 for women to qualify for the 2012 US Olympic Trials with a 2:46:00 or better. The men's championships held here last year saw ten men take advantage of the first opportunity to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Trials; another 38 men have qualified during 2009. Lists of both men's and women's 2012 qualifiers will be maintained at www.usatf.org.
About the USARC
The USA Men's 10 Mile Championships and the USA Women's Marathon Championship will be the ninth stop for men and women respectively on the 2009 USA Running Circuit (USARC).
The USARC is a USA Track & Field road series featuring USA Championships from one mile to the marathon, which attracts the best U.S. distance runners. The 2009 USARC has ten events each for men and women. Magdalena Lewy Boulet (Oakland, Calif.) currently leads the women's standings with 49 points, while Famiglietti leads the men with 49 points.
The first ten U.S. runners earn points at each USARC race (15 for first, 12 for second, 10 for third, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1), with a final $12,500 grand prix purse ($6,000, $4,000, and $2,500) for the top three men and women point scorers overall. The USARC points at the USA Marathon Championships will be doubled.
The mission of the USA Running Circuit is to showcase, support, and promote U.S. runners. Since its inception in 1995, the USARC and its races have provided over $6 million dollars to U.S. distance runners.
For more information on the championships and the 2009 USARC visit www.usatf.org.