BOSTON - Deena Kastor (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) heads the women's U.S. field for the 111th running of the B.A.A. Boston Marathon on Monday. Boston will host the 2007 USA Women's Marathon Championship to start the year-long build-up to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Women's Marathon.
The championships will also be used to finalize the Team USA marathon squad for this year's IAAF World Championships in Osaka, Japan.
Kastor, who also is favored to win the open Boston title, leads a field that features several developing U.S. talents including, Mary Akor (Gardena, Calif.), the runner-up in the 2006 USA Marathon Championships in Minneapolis, Minn. in October. Akor is a prolific marathoner with a best of 2:33:50, and she completed 17 marathons in 2005 and 2006. In Boston she is hoping to qualify for her second World Championships team, having placed 50th at the 2005 IAAF World Championships in Helsinki.
Along withlooking to earn a spot on the Osaka team, Zoila Gomez (Alamosa, Colo.) will have her eye on lowering her best of 2:35:26, set last fall when she finished third at the championships in Minneapolis, while Turena Johnson Lane (Palmetto Bay, Fla.) and Jenny Crain (Milwaukee, Wis.) are each looking to qualify for their second consecutive World Championships marathon squad.
Before toeing the line in Hopkington on Monday, the U.S. women will have an opportunity to preview the course they will be running next year at the Olympic Team Trials - Women's Marathon. The 2008 Olympic Trials will be held in Boston on Sunday, April 20, the day before the 112th Boston Marathon. The Olympic Trials course will follow a multi-loop course through Boston and Cambridge. The top three finishers in that race will qualify for the U.S. team competing later that summer at the Olympic Games in Beijing.
Additional Olympic Trials qualifiers are also entered in the 2007 USA Marathon Championship in preparation for 2008. Still other athletes will be using the Championship to achieve their Olympic Trials qualifying times. To qualify for the Olympic Trials, athletes must run the "A" standard of 2:39:00 or the "B" standard of 2:47:00. Women may also qualify with a 10,000m performance of 33:00.00.
USA Running Circuit
The 2007 USA Women's Marathon Championship is the third event for women on the 2007 edition of USA Track & Field's 2006 USA Running Circuit (USARC). 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. The thirteenth edition for the men and twelfth for the women, the 2007 USARC has nine 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 2007 USA Women's Marathon Championship and the 2007 USARC, visit www.usatf.org.