Leading contenders officially enter U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Men’s Marathon

09-12-2007

Contact:
Jim Estes
Senior Manager of LDR and Marketing
USA Track & Field
317-713-4661

INDIANAPOLIS - The members of the 2004 Olympic Marathon team and several rising distance running stars have officially entered the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Men's Marathon, officials from USA Track & Field and New York Road Runners announced today.

By submitting their entries today, 2004 Olympic Trials champion Alan Culpepper (Boulder, Colo.), Olympic silver medalist Meb Keflezighi (San Diego, Calif.) and 10,000m and marathon Olympian Dan Browne (Portland, Ore.) lead a host of contenders who have officially made their bid to become the first members of Team USA's Track & Field squad for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Also joining Culpepper, Keflezighi and Browne on the official entry list for the November 3 event are half-marathon American record-holder Ryan Hall (Big Bear Lake, Calif.), 2004 Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein (Eugene, Ore.), Brian Sell (Rochester Hills, Mich.) and two-time Olympian Abdi Abdirahman (Tucson, Ariz.).

Keflezighi, 32, became the first American man to win an Olympic marathon medal since 1976 when he captured the silver behind Italy's Stefano Baldini in Athens. Last month, Keflezighi became the first American in 11 years to break 28 minutes for 10 km on the roads, running 27:58 at the TDBanknorth Beach to Beacon 10K in Maine. He is the American record holder at 10,000 meters on the track as well.

"I am thoroughly and excitedly preparing for a verysignificantmarathon weekend this fall in New York City," said Keflezighi. "Having the U.S.A. Men'sOlympic Marathon Trials on the same weekend as other significant events in New York will be amazing. With the joint efforts of USATF and the New York Road Runners, I am confident the Trials will provide a great spark to a historicalweekend inour sport."

Culpepper, who turns 35 this week, won the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Men's Marathon in Birmingham, Ala., by outsprinting Keflezighi in the final 400 meters. He finished 12th in the marathon in Athens, and also represented Team USA at 10,000 meters in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Culpepper won the 2007 USA Cross Country Championships in his adopted hometown of Boulder, Colo., earlier this year.

Browne, 32, represented the U.S. in both the 10,000 meters and the marathon in the Athens Olympics. He won his third USA 20 km Championships title in New Haven, Conn., on Labor Day.

Hall, 24, followed up his American 20 km record (57:54) last fall with a stunning 59:43 North American record at the USA Half-Marathon Championships in January, becoming the first American to break the 1:00 barrier. He established the American debut marathon record with his 2:08:24 eighth-place finish at the Flora London Marathon in April.

Abdirahman, 30, is a two-time Olympian at 10,000 meters. In 2007, he won the USA 10 km road and 10,000-meter track titles, and his seventh-place finish in that distance at the IAAF World Championships in late August was the best showing ever by an American in that event.

Ritzenhein, 24, represented the United States at 10,000 meters in the 2004 Olympic Games and recently finished ninth at that distance in the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Osaka. Ritzenhein and his wife, Kalin, are expecting their first child later this month.

Sell, 28, is the only Olympic Trials qualifier to have two performances under two hours, 11 minutes during the qualifying period. Earlier this spring he captured his second USA 25 km Championships title.

The U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Men's Marathon, to be held in historic Central Park, will start in front of the famed Rockefeller Center on 50th Street near Fifth Avenue, with St. Patrick's Cathedral as the backdrop. Athletes will run past renowned New York City locations, including Radio City Music Hall, Times Square and Carnegie Hall, and will enter Central Park at Seventh Avenue. From there, athletes will begin the course's criterium loops: one four-mile circuit followed by four identical five-mile circuits, and will finish on the park's west side at Tavern on the Green.

A media package featuring national broadcast coverage and live web streaming will bring the Olympic Trials Marathon action to marathon fans for the first time since 1996. The start will be shown live nationally on NBC's "Today" beginning at 7:35a.m. 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 2:00 p.m. EST.

More than 150 athletes have qualified to compete in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Men's Marathon and will be competing for $250,000 in prize money with $60,000 going to the champion. Included in the prize funds provided by NYRR will be an additional $20,000 training stipend for each of the three athletes who compete in the Olympic Games. The Olympic Trials qualifying window for the men's marathon is open until October 7, 2007.

USA Track & Field

USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the #1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States.

USATF is a volunteer-driven, not-for-profit organization with a staff of professional program administrators at the National Office in Indianapolis. The mission of USATF is to foster sustained competitive excellence, interest, and participation in the sports of track & field, long distance running, and race walking. For more information, visit www.usatf.org.

New York Road Runners

New York Road Runners, soon to celebrate its 50th anniversary, is dedicated to promoting the sport of distance running, enhancing health and fitness for all, and responding to community needs. Our road races and other fitness programs draw upwards of 300,000 runners annually, and together with our magazine and website support and promote professional and recreational running. A staff of more than 100, assisted by thousands of volunteers, stages the ING New York City Marathon, as well as a road race nearly every weekend plus many track and cross country events. NYRR's home base in New York, and its lifelong identification with Central Park, have given many of its events iconic status, attracting the world's top professional runners. Our youth programs provide running to 30,000 schoolchildren in New York City and around the country who would otherwise have few or no fitness opportunities. For more information, visit www.nyrr.org.