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Team USA set for Chiba Ekiden Road Relay in Japan


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

INDIANAPOLIS - USA Track & Field has announced the men's and women's teams for the annual International Chiba Ekiden in Japan, the world's most competitive marathon road relay. The team competition, set for Monday, November 24 in Chiba-City, is expected to draw 14 countries including top national teams from Australia, Ethiopia, Japan, Kenya, Romania, Russia, South Africa and the USA.

The U.S. men's team is Chris Graff, Nolan Swanson, Teren Jameson, Peter Julian, Eddy Hellebuyck and Kevin Doyle, while the U.S. women's team includes Beth Old, Naoko Ishibe, Janet Robertz, Suzanne Weeder Einspahr, Jody Hawkins, Katherine Newberry and Carmen Ayala-Troncoso.

For the marathon distance (26.2 miles/42.195 km), the men will run five relay legs and the women six. The race starts and finishes at the Chiba Central Sports Center. On race day, there also will be an alternates' 5,000-meter race on the track.

The men's staff will be headed by team leader Mike Long (San Diego, Calif.) and coach Tomas Sitton, Jr., (Suwanee, Ga.). Women's team staff includes team leader LeeAnn Meyer, (White Bear Lake, Minn.) and trainer Ron Wagner (Carbondale, Ill).

Last year at the Chiba road relay, the Ethiopian men set an event record with their 1:57:56, while the U.S. men ran 2:03:59 to finish 7th overall (out of 16 teams). In the women's race, Ethiopia also won in 2:14:07 with the U.S. women 9th in 2:22:12 out of 15 teams.

The fastest U.S. men's time at Chiba is 2:01:40 by the 1991 team and the best place, 4th by the 1999 team, while for the U.S. women, the 1988 team ran 2:17:09 and placed second.

2003 USA Teams for the Int'l Chiba Ekiden

10 km - Chris Graff, 28, Palo Alto, Calif.
5 km - Nolan Swanson, 28, Springfield, Ore.
10 km - Teren Jameson, 26, Salt Lake City, Utah
5 km - Peter Julian, 32, Boulder, Colo.
12.2 km - Eddy Hellebuyck, 42, Albuquerque, N.M.
Kevin Doyle, 23, Rochester Hills, Mich.

10 km - Beth Old, 29, Douglasville, Ga.
5 km - Naoko Ishibe, 34, Silver Spring, Md.
10 km - Janet Robertz, 44, Shorewood, Minn.
5 km - Suzanne Weeder Einspahr, 32, Seward, Neb.
4.767 km - Jody Hawkins, 37, Blooming Grove, Texas
7.428 km - Katherine Newberry, 25, Williamsburg, Va.
Carmen Ayala-Troncoso, 44, Austin, Texas

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