FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Leading Contenders Officially Enter
U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Men's Marathon
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
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 very significant marathon
weekend this fall in New York City," said Keflezighi. "Having the U.S.A.
Men's Olympic 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 historical weekend 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.