INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - 2003 USA 20 km champion and American Record holder Marla Runyan (Eugene, Ore.) returns to New Haven, Connecticut to lead the women's field at the 2006 USA 20 km Championships, while USA 25 km Champion Fernando Cabada (Bristol, Va.) and USA 12 km Cross Country champion Ryan Hall (Woodside, Calif.) headline the men. The race, hosted by the New Alliance New Haven 20K, will be held Labor Day, Monday, September 4.
Also looking to add a second USA 20 km title to her growing resume will be 2004 champion Turena Johnson Lane (Muncie, Ind.). Johnson Lane, a member of the 2005 U.S. World Championships marathon team, also won the U.S. 25 km title earlier this year at the Fifth Third Riverbank Run in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Additional contenders for the women's title will be 2004 Olympic Trials 10,000 meter runner-up Elva Dryer (Albuquerque, N.M.); 2003 and 2004 NCAA 10,000-meter champion Alicia Craig (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) and 2005 World Championships marathoner Jenny Crain (Milwaukee, Wis.).
On the men's side, Cabada, the U.S. 25 km record holder, and Hall of Team Running USA, will see strong challenges from an array of U.S. standouts that includes Team USA Minnesota's Andrew Carlson (St. Paul, Minn.), the runner-up at this year's USA Men's 10 Mile Championship. Carlson also has top-ten finishes at the USA Half Marathon, USA 15 km and USA Outdoor 5,000 this year. Joining the chase for the title will be 2004 20 km champion Ryan Shay (East Jordan, Mich.); 2003 USA 10 Mile Champion Chris Graff (Arlington, Va.); USA Men's 10 Mile third place finisher Jason Lehmkule (Minneapolis, Minn.); and Josh Moen (Rochester Hills, Mich.) of the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project.
In addition to nearly $40,000 in prize money, athletes will be competing for a berth on the U.S. team that will compete at the IAAF World Road Running Championships in Debrecen, Hungary, on October 8.
This marks the 14th year that the New Alliance New Haven 20K has hosted the USA 20 km Championships for men and the sixth for women and is the fifth stop for men and the fourth for women on the 2006 USA Running Circuit (USARC). The USARC is a USA Track & Field road series that features USA Championships from 5 km to the marathon and attracts the best U.S. distance runners. The twelfth edition for the men and eleventh for the women, the 2006 circuit has eight events for men and seven 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 2006 USARC and USA 20 km Championships visit www.usatf.org.