INDIANAPOLIS - 2004 Olympic Marathon bronze medalist and defending women's champion Deena Kastor (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.), will line up this Saturday, March 8, looking to earn an unprecedented sixth national title at the 2008 USA 15 km Championships in Jacksonville, Fla. 2008 Olympic marathoner Brian Sell (Rochester Hills, Mich.), will face 2000 champion Dan Browne (Portland, Ore.) in the men's race.
Kastor, a five-time USA 15 km Champion will return to Jacksonville to face more than 20 of the top women in the U.S. who will be using this championship as a final test of fitness heading into next month's Olympic Marathon Trials in Boston.
Kastor, who set the current American and USA championship record of 47:15 here in 2003. will be competing for the title against 2006 USA 10 km Champion Katie McGregor (Minneapolis, Minn.), 2004 Olympic Trials Marathon Champion Colleen De Reuck (Boulder, Colo.) and 2007 Pan Am Games 10,000m champion Sara Slattery (Lafayette, Colo.).
Along with Sell and Browne, contenders for the men's and women's titles will include Jason Lehmkuhle (Minneapolis, Minn.), who was runner-up at the USA Half Marathon Championships earlier this year as well as fifth at the men's U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in November. Also looking to claim the title will be Lehmkuhle's Team USA Minnesota teammates, Andrew Carlson (Minneapolis, Minn.), and Matt Gabrielson (Minneapolis, Minn.), and Fernando Cabada (Boulder, Colo.), the American Record holder at 25 km.
Athletes will compete for a total prize purse of $58,000, with the men's and women's USA Champion earning $12,000 each.
This year's running will once again feature the Equalizer Bonus, awarding $5,000 to the first male or female to cross the finish line, with the top-seeded women beginning 5 minutes before the men. The 5 minute "head start" is based on the time differential of the U.S. 15 km records: 42:22 for the men (Todd Williams, 1995) and 47:15 for the women (Deena Drossin, 2003), both set on the Gate River Run course. In 2007, Kastor held off Meb Keflezighi to win the bonus.
Additional bonuses of $10,000 will be offered for a World record (41:29 - men; 46:57 - women); $5,000 for a U.S. record (42:22 - men; 47:15 - women); and $3,000 for a course record (42:22 - men; 47:15 - women).
About the USARC
The USA 15 km Championship is the second stop on the 2008 USA Running Circuit (USARC) and this marks the 15th year that the USA 15 km Championships has been hosted by the Gate River Run.
The USARC is a USA Track & Field road series, features USA Championships from 5 km to the marathon and attracts the best U.S. distance runners. The fourteenth edition for the men and thirteenth for the women, the 2008 USARC has seven events for men and nine 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 ($6,000, $4,000, and $2,500) 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 2008 USA 15 km Championships visit www.usatf.org.