INDIANAPOLIS - 2003 USA Men's 10 Mile Champion Chris Graff returns to Louisville for the Papa John's 10 Miler this Saturday, April 9, in search of his second USA Men's 10 Mile Championship. But he will have to contend with more than 30 of the top 100 ranked U.S. distance runners.
One of the most serious opponents for Graff will be Abdi Abdirahman, runner-up at the recent USA 8 km Championships. Abdi, who is quickly earning a reputation as a seasoned veteran, brings 27:42 10 km credentials to the table along with a host of international experience that includes twice representing Team USA in the 10,000 meters at the Olympic Games, in 2000 and 2004.
The 2005 edition of the USA Men's 10 Mile Championship boasts a field that includes three Olympians as well as a strong class of dark horses. Among those seeking to claim the championship title is Matt Lane who until recently has been know as a track runner, but the 2005 USARC has seen him make late charges to finish 5th at the USA Men's Half Marathon Championships in Houston and 3rd at the USA 15 km Championships in Jacksonville.
Also capable of noteworthy challenges will be Brian Sell, who last weekend won the LaSalle Bank Shamrock Shuffle for the second year in a row, Robert Gary, 2004 Olympian in the steeplechase, and Pete Julian who finished 8th at the recent USA 8 km Championships.
The Papa John's 10 Miler/USA Men's 10 Mile Championship is the fourth stop on the 2005 USA Running Circuit (USARC) and pays a total of $26,500 in prize money, with the winner earning $10,000.
The USARC, a USA Track & Field road series, features USA Championships from 5 km to the marathon and attracts the best U.S. distance runners, including several Olympians. The eleventh edition for the men and tenth for the women, the 2005 circuit has nine events for men and eight events for women.
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 a final $12,500 grand prix purse ($6000, $4000, and $2500) for the top three men and women point scorers overall. The USARC points at the USA Marathon Championships will be doubled.
The mission of the USA Running Circuit is to showcase, support, and promote U.S. runners. Since its inception in 1995, the USARC and its races have provided over $4 million dollars to U.S. distance runners.
For more information on the 2005 USARC and USA Men's 10 Mile Championship visit www.usatf.org.