USATF Long Distance Running Notes


Jim Estes
LDR Programs Manager
USA Track & Field

Team USA named for Yokohama International Women's Ekiden

The Women's Long Distance Running Committee of USA Track & Field has announced the team members for the U.S. team, led by 2004 USA 10,000m road champion Amy Yoder-Begley, that will compete at the Yokohama International Women's Ekiden on February 26, in Yokohama, Japan.

The relay teams will consist of six legs each, ranging in distance from 5 km to 10 km, Team USA is as follows:

Samia Akbar, 24, Herndon, Va. Third at last fall's USATF National Club Cross Country Championships in Rochester, N.Y., Akbar competed for Team USA at the 2005 Beijing International Women's Ekiden last April as well as the Inaugural North American, Central American and Caribbean Cross Country Championships last March in Orlando, Fla. She has personal bests of 16:20 for 5,000 meters and 33:38 for 10,000 meters.

Erika Aklufi, 29, Santa Monica, Calif. The leading member of USATF National Club Cross Country Championship winning club team See Jane Run, Aklufi finished second just in front of Akbar in Rochester. She was also a teammate of Akbar's at the NACAC Cross Country Championships and the Beijing Ekiden. Aklufi has personal bests of 16:17 for 5,000 meters and 33:56 for 10,000 meters.

Annie Bersagel, 22, Lakeville, Minn. The newest member of USA Distance Center, Team USA Minnesota, Bersagel recently graduated from Wake Forest University, where she was an eight-time All-American in Cross Country and Track. She was 17th at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships last fall and has a best of 33:02 for 10,000 meters.

Stephanie Bylander, 22, Alamosa, Colo. Bylander was a member of the U.S. team for the 2005 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Edmonton, Canada, where she was the third finisher for Team USA. An NCAA Division II All-American for Adams State, Bylander has personal bests of 16:14 for 5,000 meters and 34:00 for 10,000 meters.

Michelle La Fleur, 33, Savannah, Ga. A past member of two U.S. Ekiden relay teams, La Fleur finished tenth at the 2005 USA 20 km Championships which earned her a spot on the U.S. team for the 2005 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships. She is a two-time Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier and five-time NCAA Div. III Champion and fourteen-time All-American.

Sylvia Mosqueda, 39, Los Angeles, Calif. The 1988 NCAA 10,000 meter champion, Mosqueda has been one of the top women road racers in the U.S. since 1987, when she won her first major road race at the Philadelphia Distance Run Half Marathon. Mosqueda has personal bests of 15:32 for 5,000 meters and 31:54 for 10,000 meters.

Amy Yoder Begley, 28, Kendallville, Ind. A 15-time All-American at the University of Arkansas, Yoder Begley was the 2004 USA Women's 10 km Champion and was runner-up at the 2005 championships. 2005 also saw her finish seventh in the 5,000 meters at the U.S. Outdoor Tack & Field Championships and fourth at the USA 5 km road championships. She has personal bests of 15:24 for 5,000 meters and 32:45 for 10,000 meters.

For more information on the 2006 Yokohama International Women's Ekiden visit

Culpepper to return to the Boston Marathon

BOSTON, MA - John Hancock Financial Services announced the return of two-time Olympian Alan Culpepper of Lafayette, Colorado, for the 110th running of the race scheduled for Monday, April 17, 2006. This is the 21st year that John Hancock is the major sponsor of the Boston Marathon.

"I had an incredible experience at last year's Boston Marathon, and I am excited to return in 2006," said Alan Culpepper. "John Hancock, the event organizers, and the crowds provided the support and environment that inspired me to return for this year's event. I learned a lot from my Boston debut and am looking forward to improving upon last year's fourth place finish."

Culpepper debuted at the distance in Chicago in 2002 and his time of 2:09:41 tied Alberto Salazar's time for the fastest American debut ever. Culpepper's Boston finish last year was the highest by an American since Dave Gordon's fourth in 1987.

"We are happy to have last year's top American return to Boston, and we're looking forward to seeing Alan improve on his performance," said Guy Morse, Executive Director of the Boston Athletic Association.

The 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials winner, in only his second marathon, Culpepper ran to 12th place in the Olympic Marathon. A five-time U.S. National Champion in track and cross-country, the University of Colorado graduate has also competed on five World Championship and two Olympic teams. In 2000, he competed in the 10,000m at the Olympics.

With Culpepper's commitment to run, the Boston Marathon will bring the top two U.S. marathoners together. Culpepper joins American Olympic silver medalist Mebrahtom "Meb" Keflezighi who announced his commitment to run earlier this month.

Find the latest news and information about the Boston Marathon at

Hospital Hill Run announces new sponsor

The Hospital Hill run has announced that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City signed on as a sponsor. The Hospital Hill Run will host the USA Women's Half Marathon Championship in Kansas City, Mo. on June 3, 2006.

"We're excited that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City has stepped up to support the Hospital Hill Run and the USA Women's Half Marathon Championships," said Race Director Lisa Drake. "Their support will allow us to provide some of the best women in the U.S. with a great racing experience in Kansas City."

This year marks the 33rd year for the Hospital Hill Run, which also hosted the USA Men's Half Marathon Championships from 2002 to 2004.

2006 USA Women's Half Marathon Championship prize money:

First $5,000

Second $3,000

Third $2,000

Fourth $1,000

Fifth $500

Sixth $400

Seventh $300

Eighth $250

Ninth $150

Tenth $100

Elite women interested in competing this year can contact Elite Athlete Coordinator Terry Drake at

For more information on the USA Women's Half Marathon Championship visit

Long Distance Running Resources

America's Running Routes

With over 8,000 routes, America's Running Routes allows runners to search all routes in a particular city or to narrow their search to find routes on a specific type of terrain, from hotels, in parks, from trailheads or from running stores. Business travelers can find routes to run from the hotel where they are staying or from local parks.


USATF Calendar

Search for long distance running events including national and association championships and grand prix events.

Resources for Event Directors

How to organize an event, race sanctions, course certifications, competition rules, how to submit results, championship bidding information and more.