MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - The USA Marathon Championships are set for Sunday, October 2, and will be hosted for the fourth time by the Twin Cities Marathon. The fields feature open and masters division championships for U.S. men and women. This year's event will begin a two-year engagement with The Twin Cities Marathon.
Leading the women's field will be two past USA marathon champions, both of whom won their titles at Twin Cities. Jill [Gaitenby] Boaz of Los Osos, Calif., is the 2002 USA marathon champion and a three-time member of the U.S. World Championships marathon. She also was the top American finisher at the 2004 edition of the Twin Cites Marathon and has a best of 2:34:54. Also contending is Kim Pawelek of Arden, N.C., who will look to add to her USA title of 1999.
Other challenges to the title will come from two first-time marathoners. Nicole Aish of Gunnison, Colo. who finished third at the USA 20 km Championships in New Haven, Conn., on Labor Day. The hometown favorite is Dana Coons of Team USA Minnesota, a 10 km specialist with a best of 33:07.
A late addition to the field and favorite for the women's masters title will be 1984 Olympic Marathon Gold Medalist and National Track & Field Hall of Famer Joan Benoit Samuelson of Freeport, Maine. 2004 U.S. Women's Masters Marathon champion Janet Robertz, Sharon Stubler and Debbi Kilpatrick-Morris round out the Women's Masters Field.
The favorite in both the open and masters men's fields will be Mbarak Hussein of Albuquerque, N.M., 40, who brings with him a marathon best of 2:08:10. Hussein set a pending U.S. Masters half marathon record in his final tune-up for the championships at the Jefferson Hospital Philadelphia Distance Run last week, where he finished in a time of 1:02:24. Hussein will be looking to win his first USA title since becoming a U.S. citizen on September 24, 2004.
Looking to win his first U.S. title will be the Big Sur Distance Project's James Carney of Marina, Calif. Making his debut at the marathon distance, Carney has a 10 km best of 28:31 and finished fourth at the 2005 USA 15 km Championships and in the 10,000 meters at the 2005 U.S. Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Other leading contenders in the men's field include Kyle Baker, Sergio Reyes and Joseph Driscoll. Dennis Simonaitis, Joseph Cresko, John Mirth and Daniel Boyle are expected to be in contention for the masters championship.
About the USARC
The USA Marathon Championships is the eighth race for the men on the USA Running Circuit (USARC) and the sixth for the women. The USARC is a USA Track & Field road series, featuring USA Championships from 5 km to the marathon and attracts the best U.S. distance runners. The eleventh edition for the men and tenth for the women, the 2005 circuit has nine events for men and seven events for women. Abdi Abdirahman leads the men's circuit with 48 points and while Colleen DeReuck leads the women's with 34.
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 USA Marathon Championships and the 2005 USARC visit www.usatf.org.