Runyan plans USA title three-peat at Freihofer's Run for Women 5K
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
USA Track & Field
ALBANY - (April 19, 2004) - Marla Runyan, holder of the 2002 and 2003 USA 5 km national championship titles, today signaled her intention to earn three consecutive titles by joining the elite open field for the 26th annual Freihofer's Run for Women June 5 in Albany, New York.
Runyan (Eugene, OR) stormed to a nine-second victory in a time of 15 minutes, 27 seconds in 2002, then last year came within an arm's length of reaching Lynn Jennings' eight-year course record (15:25 vs. 15:24). She will use the 5 km national championship to stay sharp for the Olympic Trials July 9 in Sacramento, CA. She finished 8th in the 1500 meters at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.
"I've really enjoyed participating at Freihofer's over the past two years," said Runyan. "I love running with all the women, especially coming back into the park (Washington Park) and people calling me by name. I look forward to coming back in June to defend my title."
Runyan had everything going in the right direction in 2003. She followed up a 5th place (2:30:28) finish at the Boston Marathon with her victory in Albany, then claimed the USA 5000m title (15:16.18). On Labor Day she set an American 20K record (1:05:52) at the USA 20K Championships in New Haven, CT. Everything looked promising for a strong showing at the New York City Marathon in November, but a DNF at the World Half-Marathon Championship, and a disappointing 20th place finish in New York closed the curtain on an otherwise superlative season.
Runyan, who is legally blind from Stargardt's Disease, has raced sparingly since her New York experience. She decided to forego the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials two weeks ago to focus on making it to Athens in either the 5000 or 1500 meters. Freihofer's will be a rare road appearance mixed between several track meets this spring and summer.
"We're thrilled to have Marla back," said Freihofer's Event Director George Regan. "She is such an inspiration to all the women in the Capital region. We always like to see our defending champions return. I think the timing of our race is perfect for Marla and others planning to run the Olympic Trials in July."
Runyan will join as many as 4,000 recreational runners and seasoned national champions and Olympians in the main 5K event - the USA Women's Championship, the USA Masters Championship and Fitness Run. All races will be run concurrently at 10:15 a.m. on Madison Avenue next to the New York State Museum.
Event sponsors include the Charles Freihofer Baking Company (A Division of George Weston Bakeries Inc.), Price Chopper Supermarkets, B95.5 FM, NewsChannel 13 and the Albany Quality Inn.
As a national championship, Freihofer's also is part of the 2004 Women's USA Running Circuit, a USA Track & Field road series. The 2004 USARC offers a record of $818,700 in guaranteed prize money with a final $12,500 grand prix purse ($6000, $4000 and $2500) for the top three men and women point scorers overall. At each national road championship, the top 10 U.S. runners earn USARC points.
Visit www.usatf.org for USARC standings and more.