Countdown to men's Olympic Marathon Trials begins in New York
NEW YORK - The countdown to the men's 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Men's Marathon begins in New York City this weekend with a New York Road Runner (NYRR) sponsored training camp. NYRR will host 10-20 athletes who have qualified for the November 3, 2007 trials at this year's marathon in order to provide them with a preview of the trials weekend activities and course.
The Olympic Trials course will start outside the famed Rockefeller Center in the heart of Manhattan and finish at the historic Tavern on the Green in Central Park, New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg announced Thursday.
Wittenberg was joined by USA Track & Field CEO Craig Masback and leading U.S. distance runners Khalid Khannouchi, Abdi Abdirahman, and Jorge Torres at a news conference at Tavern on the Green. Next year's Olympic Trials race will take place the day before the ING New York City Marathon 2007, making for a marathon doubleheader.
"New York City will be the center of the marathon world next November with America's best long distance runners kicking off a spectacular marathon weekend," said Wittenberg. "We have put together a fan-friendly race course and national TV coverage to roll out the red carpet for our country's best men, who are now among the best runners in the world."
After starting in front of Rockefeller Center at 49th Street and Fifth Avenue, athletes will head up the Avenue of Americas to Central Park where they will enter through Columbus Circle and begin the course's criterion loops; one four-mile circuit followed by four identical five-mile circuits, finishing on the Park's west side at the historic Tavern on the Green.
"New York has been the site of some of history's top men's marathon performances," said Masback. "Having the 2008 Olympic Marathon Team Trials in a city with such a tremendous running tradition, and with some of the world's best race organizers, is only fitting. We look forward to what will be a first-class event for our most elite distance runners as they begin their Olympic journeys."
A media package featuring national broadcast coverage and live web streaming was also announced as part of an innovative broadcast package. The start will be shown live nationally on NBC's "Today Show" beginning at 7:35am and the race will be streamed in its entirety via the Web at www.NBCSports.com. In addition, a 30-minute highlight show will be broadcast nationally on NBC on Saturday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. EST. A total prize money purse of $250,000, provided by New York Road Runners, was also announced.
Currently 120 men have met the standards to compete in the trials by virtue of performances at the marathon distance as well as track performances for 5,000 and 10,000 meters, the most since the 1996 Olympic Trials in Charlotte, N.C.
In the greatest showing of male qualifiers since 1984, 44 men qualified at the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon on October 22 with 20 "A" standard qualifiers. The men's qualifying window will be open until October 7, 2007.
For more information on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon, visit www.usatf.org.