St. Louis to host U.S. Women’s Marathon Trials

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    Ryan
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    American women’s marathon record holder Deena Kastor will lead the nation’s finest long distance runners as they compete for three Olympic team berths Saturday, April 3, at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Women’s Marathon Trials in St. Louis.

    The 2004 Olympic Women’s Marathon Trials will be held as part of the Spirit of St. Louis Marathon & Family Fitness Weekend. The race will begin at 7:00 a.m. at Washington University’s Francis Field with runners entering a criterium course in Forest Park and finishing on Government Drive, below the World’s Fair Pavilion. The route is the same one used for the 2003 Michelob Ultra USA Women’s Marathon Championship.

    Favorites to earn the three coveted spots on the Team USA roster for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens include Deena Kastor, Colleen De Reuck, Deeja Youngquist, Blake Russell, Magdalena Lewy Boulet, Jenny Spangler, Sylvia Mosqueda, Jill Boaz and Sara Wells among others. The top three finishers will represent the U.S. at the 2004 Olympic Games in the women’s marathon on Sunday, August 22.

    A total of 150 athletes entered the Trials after running times of 2 hours, 48 minutes, 00 seconds or better, of which 132 are entered. Thirteen of those eligible have times below 2:37:00, the new Olympic “A” qualifying time. The previous “A” time was 2:33:00. The new Olympic “B” standard is 2:42:00. Prize money for the top 20 Olympic Trials finishers totals $250,000, including $35,000 for the Trials champion and $10,000 to each woman participating in the marathon at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

    A look at the favorites:

    Jill Boaz: The 2002 USA women’s marathon champion and the ninth place finisher at the 2003 Boston Marathon, Boaz, 37, has the eighth fastest qualifying time in the field of 2:34:54. The 39th place finisher at the 2000 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, Boaz, who did not run in high school or college, is a kitchen designer, who resides in Los Osos, California.

    Magdalena Lewy Boulet: The 2002 UPMC Pittsburgh Marathon champion, Lewy Boulet’s runner-up performance at that event in 2003 (2:31:38) gives her the fifth best qualifying time in the field. A resident of Oakland, Calif., Lewy Boulet was born in Jastrzebie, Poland, and became a U.S. citizen on September 11, 2001. A member of the 2003 U.S. World Half-Marathon Championships team, Lewy Boulet, 30, received her B.A. in Human Biodynamics from UC-Berkeley in 1997.

    Colleen De Reuck: The 2002-03 USA Running Circuit Grand Prix Champion, De Reuck enters the Trials with the second fastest qualifying time in the field of 2:28:01. A three-time Olympian for her native South Africa, De Reuck won the 1996 Berlin Marathon and was the runner-up at the 1997 New York City Marathon. In winning the senior women’s bronze medal in the long course race at the 2002 World Cross Country Championships in Dublin, her efforts helped lead Team USA to the overall silver medal. The former world record holder at 10 miles (51:16 – Cherry Blossom) and 20 km (1:05:11 – New Haven), De Reuck earned a team bronze medal at the 2003 World Cross Country Championships, where she placed eighth in the individual competition. A resident of Boulder, Colo., De Reuck, 39, won the women’s long course national title last month at the 2004 USA Cross Country Championships in Indianapolis.

    Deena Kastor, 31, of Mammoth Lakes, Calif., continued her dominance as America’s finest women’s distance runner in 2003 by setting a new American women’s marathon record of 2:21:16 at the Flora London Marathon. Kastor’s performance bettered the 2:21:21 set by 1984 Olympic gold medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson in winning the 1985 Chicago Marathon. Earlier in 2003, Kastor won her sixth USA Cross Country 8 km national title, and won the silver medal at the World Cross Country Championships for the second consecutive year. Kastor also won her fourth consecutive U.S. 15 km road race title in 47:15, bettering her own American record of 48:12 set at the 2002 Championship. Kastor concluded the year winning the 2003 Jesse Owens Award as USA Track & Field’s most outstanding women’s athlete. She married Andrew Kastor, who also is her physical therapist, on Sept. 14, 2003.

    Sylvia Mosqueda: In finishing 13th at the 2003 New York City Marathon in 2:33:10, Mosqueda enters the Trials with the seventh fastest qualifying time in the field. A resident of Los Angeles, Mosqueda, 37, also qualified for the Olympic Trials in 1988 and 1992. The 1987 Philadelphia Distance Run champ (1:10:47), Mosqueda enjoys salsa dancing in her spare time.

    Blake Russell: In winning the 2003 Twin Cities Marathon in 2:30:41, Russell enters the Trials with the fourth fastest qualifying time in the field. Russell’s win at Twin Cities was the first marathon of her career and the fourth fastest debut ever by an American woman. A resident of Acton, Massachusetts, Russell, 28, placed fourth in the 10,000 meters at the 2003 USA Outdoor Championships in 32:28.25.

    Joan Benoit Samuelson: One of the most accomplished marathoners in history, Benoit Samuelson won the first ever Olympic women’s marathon at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles. Benoit Samuelson, 46, will compete in her fourth U.S. women’s marathon Trials on Saturday (1984, ’96, ’00 ’04). A two-time Boston Marathon champion (1979 & 1983), Benoit Samuelson won the A.A.U. Sullivan Award in 1985 and set the U.S. women’s marathon record of 2:21:21 that year in Chicago, which stood until 2003. A mother of two, Samuelson lives in Freeport, Maine.

    Jenny Spangler: The 1996 Olympic Marathon Trials champion, Spangler enters her fifth Olympic Trials (1984, ’88, ’96, ’00, ’04) with the sixth fastest qualifying mark of 2:32:39 (U.S. Masters record) from the 2003 Chicago Marathon. Spangler, 40, set her personal best of 2:29:54 in winning the 1996 Olympic Trials. A resident of Lake Villa, Illinois, Spangler owns an MBA from Samford University, and is the mother of two.

    Sara Wells: The 2003 USA women’s marathon champion with a personal best of 2:35:37, Wells enters the Trials with the ninth fastest qualifying time. A resident of Edina, Minnesota, Wells was the runner-up in the 2003 USARC Grand Prix, and the winner of a bronze medal in the long course team competition at the 2003 World Cross Country Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland. Wells, 25, plans a medical career after running.

    Deeja Youngquist: With her 10th place finish at the 2003 Chicago Marathon in 2:29:01, Youngquist, 27, enters the competition on Saturday with the third fastest qualifying time in the field. A resident of Albuquerque, N.M., Youngquist’s performance at Chicago was her first marathon, which ranks as the third fastest debut ever by an American woman.

    For more information on the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Women’s Marathon, visit http://www.usatf.org.

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