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Trafeh, Suver Lead Strong Fields at USA Half Marathon Championships

INDIANAPOLIS – Ranking third in the latest USARC standing, freshly minted USA 25km record holder Mo Trafeh and  USA 25 km Championship women’s runner-up Mattie Suver lead deep and talented fields at the USA Half Marathon Championships this Saturday in Duluth, Minnesota, hosted by the Grandma’s Marathon.

The USA Half Marathon Championships are the sixth stop on the USA Running Circuit, which will conclude this fall with the .US National Road Racing Championships. The top ten finishers at each race on the circuit qualify to compete in the .US National Road Racing Championships.

After his American record setting effort in Grand Rapids a few weeks back, Trafeh looks to not only challenge for the win in Duluth, but also jump to the top of the USARC standings. Trafeh currently sits a mere three points behind leader Ben True. A win in Duluth would put him firmly in the top spot heading into the second half of the USARC season.

Following on Trafeh’s heels will undoubtedly be four-time Olympian Abdi Abdirahman, who won the 2012 Half Marathon Championships. In March, Abdirahman ran 62:34 in New York City. Josephat Boit, who finished a close second to Trafeh at the USA 25 km Championships tests his fitness over the half marathon distance and should run stride for stride with the top contenders for much of the race.

Two more athletes of intrigue are Bobby Mack and Shadrack Biwott. Biwott, who’s had much success over the half marathon distance, including a 62:23 finish in Houston early in 2012, is a top three contender, while Mack, who finished 19th at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, is riding a wave of confidence heading into this weekend.

Other top challengers include veterans Brent Vaughn, 2012 third place finisher Ian Burrell, 2012 fifth place finisher Timothy Ritchie, USA 25 km Championship fifth place finisher Craig Curley and 2012 ninth place finisher Nick Arciniga. All five athletes have shown time and again that they can challenge for top five finishes at nearly any distance on the roads.

The second and third placing Americans at the 2013 Boston Marathon are also entered in Saturday’s competition, with ninth place finisher Daniel Tapia and tenth place finisher Craig Leon entered. Both had breakthrough races in Boston and will look to lower the personal bests in the half marathon event.

In the women’s race, Suver leads the way after her runner-up effort at the USA 25km Championships and strong first place finish at the GO! St. Louis Half Marathon. In addition, she finished 26th at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships earlier in the year.

In addition to Suver, the comeback of Olympian Desiree Davila from injury is a storyline not to be missed. Davila, who earned a spot on the U.S. marathon squad at the London Olympics has a personal best of 70:34 over the half marathon distance and looks to build on the healthy training she’s put in as of late.

Other top contenders include three athletes currently ranked U.S. top five in the event. U.S. No. 2 Stephanie Rothstein-Bruce ran a terrific mark of 70:53 back in March and continues to show her strength over longer races. U.S. No. 3 Adriana Nelson has run 71:09, while U.S. No. 5 Serena Burla has a seasonal best of 71:24.

One of the strongest runners in the USARC circuit so far in 2013, Brianne Nelson looks to continue her recent success. Nelson ranks second in the most recent USARC standings and a strong race in Duluth could push her into the top spot. She finished second in the USA 10 Mile Championships and fourth at the USA 15 km Championships, showing she’s more than capable to handle the half marathon distance and challenge for the victory.

Four of the top five finishers from the 2012 USA Half Marathon Championships are also entered in the field. Runner-up Maegan Krifchin ran to a finishing time of 70:56 last year and is showing she’ll be a contender for top three yet again. Third place finisher Michelle Frey, fourth place finisher Melissa White and fifth place finisher Alvina Begay will all vie for top five finishes this weekend, too.

Other top entries in the women’s field includes Ladia Albertson-Junkans, Renee Baille, USA 10 Mile Championship third place finisher Sarah Crouch and road race veteran Lindsey Scherf.

Live Coverage
Live text updates of the USA Half Marathon Championships will be available at beginning at 7:15 a.m. ET. Video of the race, post-race interviews and photos will be available shortly after the race in cooperation with Join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #USARC.

About the USARC
The USARC is a USA Track & Field road series featuring USA championships from one mile through the marathon and consistently attracts the best American distance runners with more than $500,000 to be awarded in total prize money. A total of $77,500 in prize money will be awarded at the USA Half Marathon Championships.

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 those earning the most points receiving prize money at the end of the series.

The mission of the USARC is to showcase, support and promote U.S. runners. Since its inception in 1995, the USARC and its races have provided over $7 million to U.S. distance runners.

Contributed by Scott Bush

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