Re: Re: Boston, New York to host 2008 Olympic Marathon Trials

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De Reuck, Culpepper praise trials

Olympic Marathon Trials awarded to NYC, Boston

By Michael Sandrock, For the Camera
June 23, 2006

The 2008 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials will be the most visible ever, as the men's race will be held on the weekend of the 2007 ING New York City Marathon and the women's the day before the 2008 Boston Marathon.

Both races will be on criterium courses designed specifically for the trials, with prize purses of $250,000 for each race. The top three runners in each race qualify to represent the United States at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

The announcement awarding the men's race to the New York Road Runners and the women's to the Boston Athletic Association was made Thursday in Indianapolis, where the U.S. national track and field championships are taking place.

Two local marathoners with special interest in Thursday's announcement, defending Olympic Trials champions Colleen De Reuck and Alan Culpepper, both praised the decision during a national conference call.

“This is fantastic, a great opportunity,” De Reuck said. “Being on a flat course is better for me. It's very exciting. I think an April race is fine. You have to be mentally prepared knowing you have to be ready to race in April. I think you can recover in time.”

Culpepper called the announcement “huge for the sport. I'm just very, very excited. This is where we want to showcase our efforts. It will continue the process of elevating the athletes.”

Added Culpepper, “I feel I have to get to work, because it's coming up.”

Indeed, the men's Olympic Trials marathon is now 16 months away. New York Road Runners head Mary Wittenberg said on the conference call that the trials would be held on the Friday or Saturday before the Sunday, Nov. 2, 2007, ING New York City Marathon, the largest marathon in the world.

The men's race will be held on a criterium course in Central Park, called by Wittenberg “the most beautiful urban park in the world,” finishing on the same stretch of road the mass marathon uses. According to Wittenberg, the men's trials will be a “strength runner's course.”

The women's marathon, set for April 20, 2008, will also be on a criterium course, starting and finishing at the Boston Marathon start line. Race organizer Guy Morse called the loop course his club is designing a “beautiful, downtown course in a city synonymous with running. Our expectations are high.”

Boulder's De Reuck is a four-time Olympian while Culpepper, who lives in Lafayette, has competed in two Olympics. The two have different expectations when it comes to making another Olympic team.

De Reuck, who was injured this spring, said with a laugh, “I will be happy to be on the start line (at the trials).”

Culpepper, however, said he is training with a focus of defending his Olympic trials title.

“That is my full intent,” he said. “I want to put myself in position to win another Olympic trials.”