INDIANAPOLIS - The defending U.S. champion at the 50 kilometer distance, Benjamin Shorey, and Olympian John Nunn headline Sunday’s field at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Men’s 50 km Race Walk in Santee, California.
A prize purse of more than $15,000 will go to the top finishers of the 50 km (31 mile) walk, the longest track and field event in the Olympic Games. First place will take home $6,000, with the top five finishers guaranteed prize money.
In order to secure their place as track and field nominees to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team in London, the men will need to not only finish in the top three, but also meet the Olympic “A” standard of 3:59:00 or the “B” standard of 4:09:00. Not only are Olympic berths on the line, but the event also serves as the selector for who will represent the U.S. at the IAAF World Race Walking Cup in Russia in May.
Shorey (Kenosha, Wisc.) is the top returning athlete from the 2008 edition of the Trials where he edged out Stephen Quirke, also of Kenosha, by one second to finish third. Since 2008, Shorey went on to win the USA 50 km title in 2011 where he crushed the field with a margin of victory of more than nine minutes. That victory gives Shorey the fastest qualifying mark of the field in 4:16:01.
Nunn (Chula Vista, Calif.) will have the support of the hometown crowd behind him as he attempts to qualify for the Olympics in the longer of the two race walks after representing Team USA in the 20 km in 2004. After Nunn’s win at the West Coast 50 km Race Walk last December, he is the second fastest athlete at 4:17:28. Nunn most recently represented Team USA at the 2011 Pan American games in the 20 km race walk where he was the top U.S. finisher in eighth place.
Tim Seaman (Chula Vista, Calif.) is surely the most decorated of all competitors with a whopping count of 10 American records in his name. Seaman excels on the track indoors or outdoors and also on the roads. Seaman was the runner-up in last year’s USA 50 km Race Walk Championships where he recorded his qualifying time of 4:25:19. Seaman is a two-time Olympian at the 20 km distance and has dozens of U.S. titles to his name. Seaman is also sure to be a crowd favorite as he is the head coach of the Cuyamaca College men’s cross country team in nearby El Cajon.
One athlete with a unique journey to the trials is Erin Taylor-Talcott (Oswego, N.Y). As the only female on the starting line, Taylor-Talcott will walk with the men, but is unable to qualify for the Olympics because the 50 km race walk is not offered to women. Taylor-Talcott is entered into the trials in a time of 4:41:36. While she may be the only woman in the race, she will certainly not feel alone as she will be joined by her husband, Dave Talcott, who entered with a time of 4:42:19.
The 50 km race walk begins at 7:30 a.m. this Sunday. The start and finish line of the 1.25 km loop course is located near Mast Blvd. and Magnolia Ave. in Santee. The event is free and open to the public.
For more information on the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, visit www.usatf.org.