Running USA wire #20-03-04

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    magpie
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    Wire 20, March 21, 2004

    In this edition of the Running USA wire:

    1) Brian Maxwell, PowerBar Co-Creator, Passes Away

    2) Ethiopia Dominates 2004 World Cross Country Championships

    Team Running USA sponsored by Nike

    Supported by grants from the New York Road Runners and Atlanta Track

    Club

    Copyright © 2004 Running USA

    All Rights Reserved

    *********************************************

    UPCOMING EVENTS:

    NYRR 8000, New York, NY, March 27

    *USA Men’s Championship

    http://www.nyrrc.org

    Carlsbad 5000, Carlsbad, CA, March 28

    http://www.eliteracing.com

    U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Women’s Marathon, St. Louis, MO, April 3

    31st USA Women’s Marathon Championship

    http://www.usatf.org/events/2004/OlympicTrials.asp

    Spirit of St. Louis Marathon, Half-Marathon, MO, April 4

    http://www.stlouismarathon.com

    American 100K Championship, Eagle, WI, April 4

    http://www.americanultra.org

    Papa John’s 10 Miler, Louisville, KY, April 10

    *USA Men’s Championship

    http://www.papajohns.com/louisville/index.htm

    *********************************************

    Brian Maxwell, PowerBar Co-Creator, Passes Away

    On Friday, March 19, Brian Maxwell, PowerBar co-creator, died of an

    apparent

    heart attack; he was 51.

    A world ranked marathoner in the 1970s, the Canadian born Maxwell

    created

    PowerBar with his future wife Jennifer and UC Berkeley biochemist Bill

    Vaughn in

    the mid-1980s and together, they launched the now ubiquitous sports bar

    market.

    Maxwell, who lived in Ross, Calif., is survived by his wife and six

    children.

    # # #

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Bekele, Johnson and Ethiopia Golden at World Cross

    Junior Women Lead USA Efforts in Brussels with 4th

    By Charlie Mahler, Running USA wire

    BRUSSELS, Belgium – (March 20, 2004) – Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele won

    his

    sixth World Cross title and brought himself half-way to an unprecedented

    third

    straight World Cross “double” with his victory in the Men’s 4K event,

    while

    Australia’s Benita Johnson won her country’s first-ever World Cross

    medal and

    established herself as an Olympic medal contender by winning the Women’s

    8K event

    at the 32nd IAAF World Cross Country Championships on Saturday.

    Bekele, the World Champion at 10,000 meters, and Johnson, a bronze

    medalist

    at the last World Half-Marathon Championships, each used storming final

    laps of

    the muddy 2K circuit at Brussels’ Parc de Laeken to seal their victories.

    Bekele, soaked by a driving rain, broke away from countryman, and

    eventual silver

    medalist, Gebre Gebremariam to win his third straight World Cross 4K

    title in

    11:31. Gebremariam ran 11:36. The expected challenges from Kenyan’s

    Abraham

    Chebii and John Kibowen and Kenyan-turned Qatari Saif Saaeed Shaheen,

    the

    former Stephen Cherono, never fully materialized.

    Johnson for her part accomplished what USA’s Deena Drossin could not in

    last

    year’s championships in Switzerland – she broke free from Ethiopia’s

    Werknesh

    Kidane, the 2003 World Cross Champion, with a powerful attack at the

    start of

    her final circuit of the sodden course, to win in 27:17. Kidane ended up

    third, in 27:34, behind teammate Ejagayhu Dibaba who ran 27:29.

    Johnson, who finished 4th in the 4K event at World Cross in 2003,

    emerges as

    a serious contender at 10,000 meters in Athens with her victory. The

    24-year-old, who plans to compete in the Women’s 4K on Sunday, could

    become only the

    second women to accomplish that double. Ireland’s Sonia O’Sullivan, wife

    of

    Johnson’s coach Nick Bideau, accomplished the feat at the 1998 World

    Championships

    in Marrakech.

    Bekele, an established master of such doubles having won the 4K and 12K

    titles at the last two World Cross Country Championships plus the Junior

    Men’s

    title in 2001, lead Ethiopia’s 4K men’s squad to the team title with his

    run, one

    of the three team titles the East African nation swept in today’s

    competition.

    Bekele’s 4K squad tallied 17 points to defeat Qatar and Kenya who had 39

    and

    52, respectively. The Ethiopian Junior Women won with a perfect 10 point

    score

    as they grabbed the top four places in the race. Ethiopia’s senior women

    edged Kenya 26-30 in the 8K.

    The American effort was paced by its Junior Women’s squad, which matched

    the

    country’s best-ever finish with a fourth place result. The pack-running

    team

    established itself well in the early-going – leaving the Ethiopians and

    Kenyans

    to themselves yet running near the front of the “rest of the world”

    peloton –

    but couldn’t match the strong middle lap racing of the bronze medal-winning

    Japanese team.

    “We all stuck together and it was awesome,” said top USA finisher Amber

    Harper, as freshman at Brigham Young University. “There were a lot of

    people

    yelling at us that Japan was the team right in front of us. I know I

    passed one of

    their gals towards the end.”

    Harper finished 24th in 21:58. She was followed closely by Allison

    Costello,

    30th in 22:10, Amanda Trotter, 31st in 22:11, Jennifer Barringer, 35th

    in

    22:19, Kathleen Trotter, 36th in 22:20 and Brittany Brockman, 62nd in 23:04.

    Meselech Melkamu of Ethiopia won the Junior Women’s race in 20:48 for 6K.

    The USA Senior Women’s team, medalists at the last two World

    Championships,

    finished a surprising fifth considering it ran with only a single

    returning

    member from either of those medal-winning squads. Great Britain took the

    bronze

    medal behind Ethiopia and Kenya with 74 points. France was fourth with

    90,

    while the young Americans tallied 98 and the Australians had 99.

    “I really didn’t know what to expect,” offered top USA finisher Katie O’Neill

    who finished 15th in 28:37. “It’s sort of crazy with the crowd and the

    mud,

    and I couldn’t get a sense of pace, so I decided to put as much effort

    into it

    as I could, and luckily, things worked out. I just kept looking up and

    tried

    to pass more people as I went along.”

    Kathy Newberry finished 25th in 28:56, Team USA Minnesota’s Katie

    McGregor, a

    member of last year’s bronze medal team, was 27th in 28:57, Anne Marie

    Schwabe was 31st in 29:05, Laura O’Neill was 38th in 29:27 and Molly

    Austin was 79th

    in 31:00.

    Though the spread between the first and fourth members of the USA Men’s

    4K

    team – the scorers – was a mere twelve seconds, that squad could only

    muster

    seventh place team finish. 2003 USA 4K Champion and 2004 USA 12K runner-up

    Robert

    Gary led the team with a 33rd place finish in 12:12. Team USA Minnesota’s

    Luke Watson was 36th in 12:17. Sandu Rebenciuc was 46th in 12:23, Jared

    Cordes

    was 48th in 12:24, Ian Connor was 58th in 12:29 and Isaiah Festa was

    60th in

    12:30.

    “I think all of us thought we’d finish a couple notches higher,” Watson

    said.

    “No one really blew up today, it didn’t seem. I think we all had

    middle-of-the-road races. We needed a “low stick” and we didn’t have

    that today. We had

    great depth today, we just didn’t do as well as we would’ve hoped.”

    Racing resumes Sunday with the Junior Men’s 8K at 1:15 p.m. local time

    followed by the Senior Women’s 4K at 2:05 p.m, and the Senior Men’s 12K

    at 2:45 p.m.

    DAY 2

    Ethiopians End Kenyan Cross Country Reign with Sweep

    Bekele Completes Unprecedented Triple-Double

    By Charlie Mahler, Running USA wire

    BRUSSELS, Belgium – (March 21, 2004) – Consider it fair warning if the

    sun

    doesn’t rise tomorrow morning. Yesterday’s certainties – death, taxes,

    bad music

    on the radio – may no longer be so tomorrow.

    The Kenyans, after all, are no longer the lords of cross country running.

    Kenenisa Bekele, extending to three his unprecedented string of

    individual

    doubles with a 35:53 clocking over Brussels’ sticky 12K course, led

    Ethiopia to

    the Senior Men’s 12K team title at the World Cross Country Championships

    on

    Sunday, emphatically terminating Kenya’s eighteen-year string of

    victories in

    the men’s 12K event with a one-two-three sweep of the individual medals.

    Bekele,

    who won the 4K event yesterday, was joined by teammates Gebre

    Gebremariam and

    Sileshi Sihine on the medals podium.

    Bekele’s win earned him his seventh World Cross gold. Gebremariam took

    his

    second silver of the weekend with 36:10 and Sihine grabbed the bronze

    with

    36:11. Yibetal Admassu sealed Ethiopian potentially sea-changing triumph

    by

    finishing 8th in 36:52. The team scored 14 points.

    Kenya, which had not lost the premier men’s event at World Cross since

    1985

    (also to Ethiopia), earned the silver with a 30 point score. World 5000

    meter

    champion Eliud Kipchoge led Kenya with a fourth place finish. Ethiopia’s

    neighbor Eritrea was third with 66.

    Kenya’s defeat did not come as a complete shock to close observers of

    distance running. Ethiopia had made gold medal inroads in other World

    Cross events in

    recent years. Kenya had already lost the steeplechase title – the track

    event

    most synonymous with Kenyan domination – at the World Track and Field

    Championships last summer, although in that case the East African nation

    could take

    some solace in the fact that the Qatari winner of the event was, until a

    few

    weeks before the event, a Kenyan citizen.

    Whether Ethiopia’s victory is the dawn of a new dynasty or confirmation

    of a

    two-superpower dynamic in the endurance wars remains to be seen. At the

    end of

    the Brussels championships, though, Ethiopia fly home with five of the

    six

    team golds, four of the six individual golds and 14 of the 18 individual

    medals

    on offer.

    For the United States teams, the second day of the championships was a

    slightly dimmer version of the first day’s modest results. Shalane

    Flanagan, a

    junior at the University of North Carolina was a bright spot as the top

    USA placer

    at the Championships with a 14th place finish in the Women’s 4K event.

    The

    USA’s Women’s 4K team placed 7th, as did the Junior Men’s squad. The

    Senior Men’s

    12K team placed 11th. For the first time since 1999 the Americans will

    return

    home without any harrier hardware.

    “Those ladies are fierce competitors and I tried to come in with that

    mentality,” Flanagan, who clocked 13:34, said. “This race helps me

    realize how great

    the world’s top runners are and how much harder I have to train.”

    Behind the 2004 USA 4K champ was former Stanford star Lauren Fleshman

    24th in

    13:56, Christin Wurth 43rd in 14:21, Missy Buttry 60th in 14:33, Sarah

    Hann

    64th in 14:38 and Janet Trujillo 77th in 14:57.

    Edith Masai of Kenya won her third straight Women’s 4K title with a 13:07

    clocking. World 5000 meter champion Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia was

    second in 13

    :09, teammate Teyba Erkesso was third in 13:11. Ethiopia edged Kenya 19-21

    for

    the team gold, while surprising Canada took the bronze with 87. The USA

    tallied 141 for seventh.

    High school senior Ryan Deak of Aurora, Colorado led the USA Junior Men’s

    squad with a 34th in 26:27 finish in 8K. Deak was followed closely by

    Stanford

    freshman Forrest Tahdooahnippah 37th in 26:29. Joshua McDougal was 49th

    in

    26:50, USA Junior Champion John Janson was 55th in 27:03, Trent Hoerr

    was 60th in

    27:08 and Ian Burrell was 81st in 27:42.

    “It went perfect,” said Deak. “I got a great start. I didn’t feel like I

    was

    going fast at all, but I was ahead of some Kenyans, so I relaxed about

    the

    next 100 yards and I relaxed up the hill and then relaxed to the first K

    point.

    About the 6K mark I got a horrible cramp in the side of my stomach and

    that

    totally killed my last loop.”

    Kenya won its lone team gold in the tightly fought Junior Men’s event

    with 20

    points, Ethiopia was second with 25 and Uganda was third 33. Meba

    Tadesse won

    the inidividual crown in 24:01, Uganda’s Boniface Kiprop was second in

    24:03

    and Ernest Meli Kimeli was third in 24:16. The USA tallied 175 for their

    7th

    place finish.

    Olympian Abdi Abdirahman led the USA’s Senior Men’s 12K squad with a

    34th

    place finish in 38:08. American 5000 meter record-holder Bob Kennedy was

    second

    for the Americans in 44th with 38:28. Richie Brinker of Team USA

    Michigan, who

    picked his way through the field in defiance of World Cross convention,

    was

    51st in 38:36, Dave Davis was 82nd in 39:30, Nolan Swanson was 93rd in

    40:03 and

    Joshua Eberly was 108th in 41:03. The team tallied 211 points for 11th.

    “This was not a good day for us Americans at all,” Abdirahman said. “This

    is

    a real cross country course. This course shows your strengths and

    weaknesses.”

    “I didn’t feel good. I never did,” USA 12K champion Kennedy observed. “I

    felt

    decent warming up, but I never felt right. For at least three kilometers

    I

    was in the position I wanted to be, with the idea that I would start

    picking

    through the pack, but I went the other way.”

    The 2005 World Cross Country Championships are set for St. Etienne-St.

    Galmier, France on March 19 and 20.

    IAAF World Cross Country Championships

    Brussels, Belgium, March 20-21, 2004

    Saturday

    Senior Women’s 8K

    Senior Men’s 4K

    Junior Women’s 6K

    Sunday

    Senior Men’s 12K

    Senior Women’s 4K

    Junior Men’s 8K

    Complete individual and team results at:

    http://www.iaaf.org/wxc04/results/Byevent.html

    More Team USA coverage and quotes at:

    http://www.usatf.org

    # # #

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