FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kara Goucher Set to Rock 'n' Roll in Arizona
U.S. 50K record holder Josh Cox takes aim at world mark;
post-race concert by Vertical Horizon;
2-person half-marathon relay added for 2011
PHOENIX, AZ – (January 14, 2011) – One of the top U.S. marathon hopefuls
for the 2012 London Olympics, Kara Goucher will make her return to road
racing at the 8th annual P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon & ½
Marathon on Sunday, January 16. The 2007 World Championships bronze
medalist, who will run the half-marathon here, has not raced competitively
since running the marathon at the World Championships in August of 2009,
taking time off in 2010 to give birth to her son Colt on Sept. 25.
"We couldn't be more delighted that Kara decided to make her competitive
return to road racing here in Arizona," said Matt Turnbull, Elite Athlete
Coordinator for the Competitor Group. "From Haile Gebrselassie's
half-marathon world record in 2006 to Deena Kastor's sub-70 minute outing
last year, we know this event can produce fast times and great
Unbeaten in her career at the half-marathon distance, Goucher captured her
first title on the roads in spectacular fashion when she out-dueled
marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe, winning the Great North Run
in 2007. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the Colorado grad finished ninth in
the 5000 meter and 10th in the 10,000 m. She was third at the 2008 ING New
York City Marathon in 2 hours, 25 minutes, 53 seconds; the fastest marathon
debut by a U.S. woman.
"I'm so excited to have my first race back be a part of the Rock 'n' Roll
Series, it should be a lot of fun and the weather is supposed to be great,"
said Goucher, 32, who will run the Boston Marathon in April. "As race day
approaches, it's exciting to remember what it's like to do a warm-up and go
to the start line. I'm looking forward to a family affair with Adam and
Colt waiting for me at the finish line in Tempe."
Goucher, whose half-marathon PR is 1:06:57, will be challenged by
30-year-old Madai Perez of Mexico, who owns a half-marathon personal best
of 1:09:45 from New York in 2010. She has finished 11th and 15th at World
Championship Marathons and placed 19th at the Beijing Olympic Marathon in
2008. Also on the starting line will be 2005 Twin Cities Marathon Champion
Nicole Aish, who has a half-marathon personal best of 1:12:30.
The men's half-marathon will feature a thrilling match-up featuring
University of Arkansas graduates Alistair Cragg and Shaun Forest. A
seven-time NCAA champion for the Razorbacks, Cragg has a half-marathon
personal best of 1:01:58. The Irishman made his second Olympic 5000m final
at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and now trains with Mammoth Track
Forrest, who graduated in 2009, finished sixth in his professional road
racing debut last summer at the Beach To Beacon 10K. It was a memorable day
as the 27-year-old challenged the lead for more than half of the race, the
only non-African able to handle the pace. He'll look to improve on his
personal best time of 1:02:44, from his debut half-marathon last fall at
the Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia.
Leading the women's marathon field is Arizona native Sally Meyerhoff, a
two-time Olympic Trials Qualifier who trains in Tempe. The 2009 U.S. 25k
National Champion has a marathon personal best of 2:35:49.
The men's competition will be led by U.S. 50K record holder Josh Cox, who
is returning to the Valley of the Sun in hopes of bettering his ultra mark.
Cox set the American record (31.05 miles) with an official time of 2:47:17
and was named the USA Track & Field Athlete of the week in January 2009.
His performance broke the previous American 50K record by four minutes and
was the worlds fastest 50K time of the year in 2009.
Cox prepped for Arizona by winning the 2010 Zappos.com Rock 'n' Roll Las
Vegas Marathon on Dec. 5. He started slow and ran the last 13.1- miles hard
to win in 2:25:06.
"My first order business is to better the American record, and the big goal
obviously is to set a new world mark," said Cox, who will run an additional
5 miles on the ASU track after the marathon while attempting to better the
unofficial 50K world record (2:43:38) that has stood since 1988. "I'm going
to need to come through the marathon in around 2:17 and my coach Terrence
Mahon has drawn up a great program for me, it's definitely something I know
I can do."
The race will begin with a wheelchair start at 7:30 am Sunday, January 16
in downtown Phoenix. The marathon will start at 7:40 am, followed by the
half-marathon start at 8:30 am. For complete race details and more, visit
About P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona
The P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon & ½ Marathon will return
for its 8th edition on Sunday, January 16, 2011 with more than 30,000
participants. The marathon was named "one of the 10 best marathons for
first time runners" by Runners World Magazine. The 2004 race is still
recognized as the largest inaugural marathon and half-marathon in history
with 23,456 finishers, according to Running USA. For the first time in
2011, the event will feature a 2-person half-marathon relay, along with
cheerleaders and local bands playing along every mile of the 13.1 and
26.2-mile courses. The race will conclude with the finish line festival and
post-race concert at Sun Devil Stadium. Vertical Horizon will take the
stage at 11:30am and play two sets.
Event weekend will begin with a two-day Health & Fitness Expo on January
14th and 15th at the Phoenix Convention Center. The Expo, which will be
free and open to the public, will showcase the latest in running products
and services with interactive clinics from fitness experts. For more
information, visit Competitor.com or call (800) 311-1255.