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De Reuck avoids déjà vu, wins USA Title at Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon


Ryan Lamppa
Media Correspondent
USA Track & Field
(805) 696-6232

De Reuck Avoids Déjà Vu and Wins USA Title at Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon

By Charlie Mahler, Running USA wire

DULUTH, Minn. - (June 21, 2003) - Over two months ago, Colleen De Reuck held a big lead going into the final miles of the USA Marathon Championship in St. Louis. Before the finish, though, she'd suffer, be passed and, ultimately, end up in the hospital.

At Saturday's USA Half-Marathon Championship, the 5th stop on USA Track & Field's USA Running Circuit, the pattern looked eerily similar. De Reuck established a big lead on the field and in the late going felt her body suddenly go weak. Unlike her Gateway City ordeal, however, De Reuck would win her race in the "Zenith City of the North," earn $8000 in prize money and incentives and demonstrate clearly that she is back on track.

De Reuck, 39, of Boulder, Colo., clocked 1:10:00 to set USA Championship and course records (#3 American all-time too) and beat national runner-up Christine Clifton by over a minute and a half. Clifton ran 1:11:31, while Team USA California's Jen Rhines was third in 1:11:59. Deeja Youngquist was fourth in 1:12:51 and Susannah Beck was fifth in 1:13:03. Conditions were ideal with start time temperatures in the high forties and a gentle tail wind easing racers down the point-to-point course which follows the scenic north shore of Lake Superior.

"Around about 10 miles my sugar levels just plummeted," De Reuck explained. "I started getting shaky and I was like 'uh-oh!' Then I grabbed some Ultima off the course. It flashed me back to St. Louis. But then it came right after two minutes."

De Reuck began to build her lead during the fourth mile. Clifton, the 2003 USA 25K Champion, pushed the pace initially after a languid opening pair of miles in the 5:30s. She upped the ante to 5:11, which dropped Rhines, Youngquist and 2003 USA Marathon Champion and Team USA Minnesota's Sara Wells, but then backed off.

"I've got to be patient!" Clifton admitted. "I felt worse the first two miles going so slow, I just picked it up because it just didn't feel good to go so slow. Then I realized, shoot, what did I do? She [De Reuck] kept pressing on and it was a little bit faster than I was going to be able to go today. I felt strong so I thought, if she fades, I'll be here."

De Reuck held the pace, though, and steadily pulled away from Clifton and the rest of field. The South African native turned U.S. citizen hammered two sub-5:10 miles between five and seven miles which stretched the lead to a binocular distance.

"I didn't like to be out in the front," De Reuck admitted. "When Christine slowed down at a watering table, I said, no, I'm going to keep working it. It wasn't my plan at all. I planned to run with the group and just see what happens."

De Reuck's victory was another in an impressive string of races since her crash-and-burn in St. Louis. The South African Olympian took two weeks completely off after the USA Marathon Championship and admitted to feeling "totally depleted" at the time. Since the lay-off, De Reuck finished 7th at Bolder Boulder 10K in Colorado, was runner-up at the USA 5K Championship in Albany, New York in late May and was third at the Steamboat Classic 4 Mile two weeks ago in Peoria, Illinois.

De Reuck attributes the comeback more to racing than training: "After the marathon, I've been racing," the 2002 USA 20K and 7 Mile Champion offered. "So, you train, you race, you train, you race, and I haven't done anything really substantial."

The top three finishers in the event earned automatic berths on the USA squad for the World Half-Marathon Championships in Vilamoura, Portugal on October 4. De Reuck, however, plans to decline the opportunity in favor of pursuing an Olympic "A" qualifying standard of 2:32 at the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon this fall. Clifton and Rhines both plan to race for the USA, however.

"I don't know why I keeping banging my head against this marathon," De Reuck who earlier claimed to have sworn off the distance and has a marathon best of 2:26:35 puzzled. "You always believe you can improve and do better and I think that's why we keep doing it."

With her U.S. title at the Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon (worth 15 USA Running Circuit points), De Reuck, the 2002 USARC Grand Prix Champion, solidified her USARC lead, and with two Circuit events remaining, she is guaranteed at least second in the USARC GP. Sara Wells sits second in the USARC standings with 42 points followed by Marla Runyan and Christine Clifton with 27 points each. The next Women's USARC race is the New Haven 20K on Labor Day, September 1 in New Haven, Conn.

The 2003 USARC, a USA Track & Field road series featuring USA Championships from 5K to the marathon, offers over $340,000 in championship prize money plus a $25,000 grand prix purse. At each event, the first ten U.S. runners earn Circuit points (15 for first, 12 for second, 10 for third, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1). For more information on the USARC including current standings and schedule, go to:

Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon: USA Women's Championship

Duluth, MN, Saturday, June 21, 2003

1) Colleen De Reuck, CO	        1:10:00* $8000
2) Christine Clifton, WA	1:11:31  $6500
3) Jen Rhines, PA		1:11:59  $6000
4) Deeja Youngquist, NM         1:12:51  $5000
5) Susannah Beck, OR		1:13:03  $4000
6) Sara Wells, MN		1:13:16  $3500
7) Rachel Sauder, AL		1:13:55  $3000
8) Turena Johnson Lane, GA	1:13:59  $2500
9) Sonja Friend-Uhl, FL	        1:15:20  $1250
10) Naoko Ishibe, MD		1:15:24  $1000
11) Janet Robertz, 43, MN	1:15:36  $1500#
12) Heather Bury, WV		1:15:41   $500
13) Johanna Olson, ID		1:15:41   $500
14) Tamara Lave, CA		1:15:56   $500
*USA Championship Record (previous record 1:11:01 by Libbie Hickman at the 2000 Parkersburg Half-Marathon, WV) and course record; #Also Masters prize money

For complete results and more, go to the race website at:

2003 USARC Standings

WOMEN after five races

1) Colleen De Reuck, 39, Boulder, CO	61
2) Sara Wells, 24, Edina, MN		42
3) Marla Runyan, 34, Eugene, OR		27
    Christine Clifton, 30, Kirkland, WA	27
5) Kelly Flathers, 31, Htgton Bch, CA	20
6) Deeja Youngquist, 26, Albuq, NM	19
7) Deena Drossin, 30, Mammoth Lks, CA	15
8) Stacie Alboucrek, 35, Ft. Ldale, FL	14
9) Turena J. Lane, 27, Statesboro, GA	13
10) Beth Old, 28, Douglasville, GA	12

2003 USARC Champions: Women

Deena Drossin       47:15* Gate River Run 15K, Jacksonville, FL, March 8
Sara Wells        2:35:37  Michelob Ultra USA Marathon Championship, MO, April 5
Christine Clifton 1:29:30  Fifth Third River Bank 25K, Grand Rapids, MI, May 10
Marla Runyan        15:25  Freihofer's Run for Women 5K, Albany, NY, May 31
Colleen De Reuck  1:10:00+ Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon, Duluth, MN, June 21
*U.S. Record; +USA Championship Record

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