INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - 2005 8 km champion Jorge Torres (Boulder, Colo.) and American Record holder for the mile Alan Webb (Reston, Va.) lead the field for the USA Men's 8 km Championship in New York's Central Park this Saturday. This year's championships, hosted by the New York Road Runners (NYRR) as part of the Central Park Challenge, will see a field of more than 50 U.S. men.
Torres, the 2006 champion at 10,000 meters, will use the 8 km as a final tune-up for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships two weeks later in Edinburgh, Scotland. While Webb will use his second "serious" road-race longer than a mile as he finalizes his base training phase in preparation to make the U.S. Olympic squad for 1,500 meters in Beijing this August.
Also challenging Webb and Torres will be last week's USA 15 km champion Andrew Carlson (Bloomington, Minn.), and 2008 USA Half Marathon Champion James Carney (Boulder, Colo.). Carney will also represent Team USA in Edinburgh in two weeks.
Additional contenders for top-ten finishes will include former University of Wisconsin All-American Tim Nelson (Madison, Wis.), Matt Gabrielson (Minneapolis, Minn.), Fasil Bizuneh (Flagstaff, Ariz.), Christian Hesch (Moro Bay, Calif.) and Ryan Sheehan (Rochester Hills, Mich.).
The course will be a single 8 km loop inside Central Park, similar to the course used in 2002, 2003, and 2004, when Meb Keflezighi set the USA Championship record of 22:16.
Premiums of $1500, $1000, and $500 will be offered to the first, second, and third athletes to cross the timing mat at 5 km (athlete must finish in top ten to be eligible).
This year, NYRR will also host an invitational women's 8 km that will feature an all-star field including American Record holder at 5,000 meters outdoors and 3,000 meters indoors Shalane Flanagan (Pittsboro, N.C.). Joining Flanagan in the field will be six-time team member for the U.S. squad at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships Katie McGregor (St. Louis Park, Minn.) and her Team USA Minnesota teammate and 2004 Olympian Carrie Tollefson (Minneapolis, Minn.).
Athletes will compete for a total prize-money purse of $70,000 with the top male and female finishers earning $10,000 each. NYRR will also offer a $10,000 bonus to any winner who breaks the American 8 km record of 22:04 for the men (Alberto Salazar, 1981) or 24:36 for the women (Deena Kastor, 2005).
About the USARC
The USA 8 km Championship is the third stop on the 2008 USA Running Circuit (USARC) for men. 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 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 8 km Championships visit www.usatf.org.