Olympians Headline USA 15 km Championships

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    INDIANAPOLIS – Five 2004 U.S. Olympians will line up this Saturday, March 12, to compete for the title of national champion at the 2005 USA 15 km Championships, hosted for the 12th year by the Gate River Run in Jacksonville, FL.

    Gate River is part of the 2005 USA Running Circuit (USARC), a USA Track & Field road series, featuring USA Championships from 5 km to the marathon.

    2004 Olympians and former Gate River Run champions Colleen De Reuck (2004 Champion) and Jen Rhines (1998 Champion) headline the field. They will be joined by two-time Olympians Alan Culpepper (2004 Olympic Team Trials – Men’s Marathon Champion) and Abdi Abdirahman (2004, 2003 and 2002 USA 15 km Championships runner-up) and Anthony Famiglietti (2001 World University Games Steeple Chase Cahmpion) as they compete for a total prize purse of $58,000, with the USA Champion earning $10,000. De Reuck and Rhines competed in the women’s marathon in Athens, while Culpepper was 12th in the men’s marathon, Abdrahman ran the men’s 10,000 meters and Famiglietti the men’s steeplechase.

    The 28th running of the Gate River Run will once again feature a strong field of the top American men and women competing for the USA Championship and points in the USA Running Circuit. Additional contenders for the titles will include Ryan Shay (2004 USA 20 km and Half Marathon Champion), Chris Graff (2003 USA Ten Mile Champion), Blake Russell (4th, 2004 Olympic Team Trials – Women’s Marathon) and Sarah Wells (2003 USA Women’s Marathon Champion).

    “Once again, Gate River Run has attracted a premier field of American distance runners,” said Event Director Doug Alred. “We’re pleased the race continues to be so attractive to both professional and recreational runners.”

    This year’s running will feature the Equalizer Bonus, awarding $5,000 to the first male or female to cross the finish line, with the top-seeded women beginning 5 minutes before the men. The 5 minute “head start” is based on the time differential of the U.S. 15 kmrecords – 42:22, Todd Williams (1995) and 47:15, Deena Drossin (2003) – both set on the Gate River Run course.

    In 2004, Meb Keflezighi, 2004 Olympic Marathon silver medalist, passed Colleen De Reuck at the 8 mile mark and cruised to his four consecutive USA 15 km title in 43:19 and to claim the Equalizer Bonus.

    USA Running Circuit

    The USA Running Circuit attracts the best U.S. distance runners, including Olympians Deena Kastor, Meb Keflezighi, Colleen DeReuck and Alan Culpepper. The eleventh edition for the men and tenth for the women, the 2005 circuit has nine events for men and eight events for women.

    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 ($6000, $4000, and $2500) 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 $4 million dollars to U.S. distance runners.

    For more information on the 2005 USA 15 km Championships and the 2005 USARC, visit http://www.usatf.org

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