MINNEAPOLIS - Abdi Abdirahman (Tucson, Ariz.) won his fourth USA 10 Mile title and Ilsa Paulson (New York, N.Y.) won her first ever U.S. title in winning the USA Women's Marathon Championship Sunday as the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon hosted the championships for the USA Women's Marathon, Masters Marathon and Men's 10 Miles. Abdirahman ran 46:35 for his second championship of the year as Paulson ran 2:31:49 to become the second youngest women to ever win the women's marathon crown.
The men's 10 mile championship started the day of racing with Max King (Bend, Ore.) leading Abdirahman, Anthony Famiglietti (Knoxville, Tenn.), a trio of Minneapolis-based Team USA Minnesota teammates Jason Lehmkuhle, Josh Moen and Patrick Smyth through the first mile in 4:31.
At two miles, Moen took charge of the pace with Abdirahman, Famiglietti, Lehmkuhle, Smyth and King close behind. An uphill third mile covered in 4:38 saw Moen and Abdirahman open a 10 meter gap on the rest of the field and by four miles the gap had grown to 40 meters.
As they passed five miles in 22:56, Abdirahman had a five meter lead on Moen, while Smyth and Lehmkuhle were about 75 meters back. Though the pace slowed to 4:52 for the sixth mile, Abdirahman's lead grew slightly but the 4:53 seventh mile saw Moen catch and pass Abdirahman, taking a small lead.
At eight miles, Abdirahman moved to the front for the final time but Moen fought to stay in contact. Over the final mile Abdirahman managed to pull clear of Moen to win his second U.S. title of the year by three seconds.
Moen's team USA Minnesota teammates Smyth and Lehmkuhle took the next two spots, running 47:09 and 47:16 respectively while Ian Burrell (Flagstaff, Ariz.) took fifth in 47:41.
The championship offered $25,000 in total prize money with the Abdirahman earning $10,000 for the win.
In the women's marathon championship, four-time Olympian Colleen De Reuck was the overwhelming pre-race favorite but had company early in the race from Paulson, Nicole Blaesser (Seattle, Wash.) and local favorites Kristin Nicolini and Michelle Frey.
At halfway, De Reuck had an 18 second lead on Paulson and by 20 miles, with her lead growing to 40 seconds, De Reuck looked to be on her way to a both the open and masters women's crown.
As Paulson rallied, she managed to catch De Reuck and made her move to the lead at 24 miles, steadily pulling away to a 48 second win. De Reuck's 2:32:37 second-place performance was also good for the women's masters title and a pending American record for the 45- 49 age-group.
Nicolini managed to hold on for third, running 2:35:06 in her debut at the distance. Also in her debut, Blaesser took fourth in 2:35:09 as Sally Meyerhoff (Eugene, Ore.) rounded out the top-five in 2:35:49.
The women's marathon featured $72,500 in prize money with Paulson taking home $25,000 for the win.
The men's masters championship saw 2007 champion Tracy Lokken (Marquette, Mich.) reclaim the title, dominating the field with a 2:22:34 performance to finish 3:07 ahead of Carl Rundell (Birmingham, Mich.). Robert Weiner (Evergreen, Colo.) was third in 2:27:09.
Susannah Beck (Brunswick, ME) finished as second masters woman behind De Reuck in 2:43:18 and Mary Coordt (Elk Grove, Calif.) was third in 2:45:00.
The USA Masters Marathon Championships paid over $50,000 in prize money with the overall men's and women's masters champions earning $7,500 each.
Olympic Trials qualifying begins
The women's marathon championships was also be the first and only day in 2009 for women to qualify for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials with 29 women running 2:46:00 or better.
The open men's race saw five men run 2:19:00 or faster to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Trials, including Jason Hartmann (Boulder, Colo.) who won the overall title in 2:12:09. Lists of both men's and women's 2012 qualifiers will be maintained at www.usatf.org/groups/RoadRunning/elite/.
About the USARC
The USA Men's 10 Mile Championships and the USA Women's Marathon Championship and were the ninth stops for men and women respectively on the 2009 USA Running Circuit (USARC).
The USARC is a USA Track & Field road series featuring USA Championships from one mile to the marathon, which attracts the best U.S. distance runners. The 2009 USARC has ten events each for men and women. Magdalena Lewy Boulet (Oakland, Calif.) currently leads the women's standings with 59 points, while Famiglietti leads the men with 53 points.
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 $6 million dollars to U.S. distance runners.
For more information on the championships and the 2009 USARC visit www.usatf.org.