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Drake Relays to host historic first masters women’s race Saturday


One of the nation’s premier track and field events, the 104th edition of the Drake Relays will make history Saturday when it hosts the first ever women’s masters competition. Scheduled for 11:20 a.m. Saturday, the women’s 800-meter invitational race will feature many of the world’s best competitors over the age of 40.

Entrants were forced to meet difficult qualifying standards and the field includes world masters record holders and champions and national champions.

The list of participants includes:
Jennifer Burke (41), Missoula, Mont., is representing Montana’s Mountain West Track Club. She was ranked third in the world in the 800m in 2012 in the Women’s 40-44 Division, with a time of 2:13.59.

Tania Fischer (46), the Santa Monica, Calif., high school track coach, representing The Janes Elite Racing Club, was a UCLA scholarship athlete. She was an Olympic Trials finalist in the 5000m in 1996.

Alisa Harvey (47), Manassas, Va., presently runs for RIADHA.  She ran for the University of Tennessee, where she was a 1,500m national champion in 1986.  Harvey was part of the Tennessee 4x800m team that set an NCAA record. In 1992, she competed at the Olympic Trials and as a masters runner, she currently holds the W35 and W40 indoor world record for the mile. She also holds the W40 American outdoor records in the 800m and the mile.

Kristen Leetch (45), runs for The Janes Elite Racing Club of Santa Monica, Calif. She ran for the University of California-Berkeley and was a 1988 Olympic Trials finalist in the 10,000m and ran in the 1996 Olympic Trials Marathon. She was also a High School Kinney (Footlocker) All-American in 1983 and a five-time NCAA All-American. 

Lisa Ryan (43), Sioux City, Iowa. She won the women's 40-44 2000m steeplechase, was third in the 1500m and fifth in the 800m at the 2011 World Masters Athletics Championships. She currently holds the women's 40-44 world record in the steeplechase.

Lisa Valle (46), Albuquerque, N.M., is representing the New Mexico Track Club.  Lisa attended Idaho State and the University of New Mexico. Lisa won three world masters championship races in 2009 in the 800m, 1500m and the steeplechase. She also won the W45 2000m steeplechase as well as the 800m and was second in the 1500m at the 2011 World Masters Athletics Championships. She holds the W45 age group world record in the steeplechase.

Jill Vollweiler (44), Purchase, N.Y. She attended Colby College at Waterville, Maine, where she was a four time All-American runner, and still holds the 10,000m school record.

For more information on the Masters Invitational Program can be found here.

USATF Masters Invitational Program Director Mark Cleary thanks Drake Relays Meet Director Brian Brown for including the event in the meet.

Interested media can contact Bob Weiner, National Masters Media Chair, and Richard Mann at 301-283-0821 or 202-306-1200 (cell) or email at; or Mark Cleary, Masters Invitational Director, at 949-589-0242 or email at

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