FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: David Monti
SPECIAL INCENTIVES DRAW TOP AMERICANS TO NEW START AND FINISH LINES OF MAY
5TH UPMC HEALTH SYSTEM/CITY OF PITTSBURGH MARATHON
PITTSBURGH, April 2 - Drawn by special financial incentives, a long history
of Olympic Trials and national championship races, and a unique pen pal
program with local schools, top United States marathoners will be competing
in the 18th running of the UPMC Health System/City of Pittsburgh Marathon on
Sunday, May 5. A prize and bonus package of more than $65,000 will be
offered, with $14,000 set aside for American citizens.
"Since 1997 we've provided more than $425,000 in prize money payments to
Americans, including the 2000 U.S. Men's Olympic Trials," said race director
Larry Grollman. "We think it's important to keep that support going, now
more than ever."
The overall winner of the race is guaranteed a prize money payment of
$7,500, which will rise to $10,000 for a sub-2:14:00 clocking for the male
winner and/or a sub-2:35:00 clocking for the female winner. The first four
American men and women to cross the finish line will each receive $2,500,
$2,000, $1,500 and $1,000, respectively, in addition to any open prize money
available. An American race winner running under either of the incentive
times would earn $12,500. These American incentives are sponsored by
Moreover, the U.S. elite athletes entered in the race have already been
connecting with the Pittsburgh area by participating in the Pen Pal program
also sponsored by Chrysler/Jeep dealers. These athletes have been
corresponding with students from area classrooms, which they will visit when
they arrive in town for the race.
Making his fourth marathon start, Pete Julian, a member of the Adidas team,
is looking to lower his personal best time of 2:15:54.
"Running Pittsburgh gives me an opportunity to get more experience in the
marathon, which I feel I badly need," said Julian. "Also, Pittsburgh has
once again gone out of its way to recruit American distance runners. I
respect that and so it makes me more inclined to run there rather than
Julian, who will turn 31 just six days after the Pittsburgh race, is lucky
to be running at all. A survivor of stomach cancer, the 1999 Pan Am Games
bronze medalist at 10,000m slowly returned to competition last year, capped
off by his 19th place finish at the Chicago Marathon.
Joe LeMay of Danbury, Conn. returns to Pittsburgh for the first time after
the hot and humid Olympic Trials race of 2000. LeMay, 35, who has a career
best time of 2:13:55, won the California International Marathon in 1999 and
has won USA road titles at 20-K and 15-K. He's partially motivated to
compete by the presence of Julian and Sherry in the race.
"I'm competing because I heard the two Petes were going to run, and I really
want to beat both of them," quipped the six-foot, four-inch athlete
referring to both Pete Julian and Peter Sherry. The latter has since
withdrawn from the race due to injury. He added, "I'm also running because
the prize money package for American runners is attractive to me. It looks
win-able, and I could walk away with $10,000."
Leading the American women will be the Polish-born Magdalena Lewy, who
became an American citizen on September 11th of last year. Lewy, 28, ran
for the University of California, graduating in 1997. She moved up to the
marathon last year, setting an impressive 2:37:57 personal best time at the
California International Marathon despite driving rain and winds. She did
not take to the marathon naturally.
"My first one was in Cleveland, and I got really sick," Lewy lamented. "I
pretty much threw-up from nine all the way to the end."
Lewy will be joined by a marathon debutante, Alison Holinka of Williamsburg,
Va., who had planned to run the New York City Marathon last fall, but
injured her leg and was forced to withdraw. Holinka, who is only 23, made
the U.S. team for the 2001 IAAF World Half-Marathon Championships by
improving her half-marathon personal best time to 1:15:14.
"The Pittsburgh Marathon has put together a great racing opportunity this
year in addition to a wonderful pen pal program with a local grade schools,"
said Holinka. "My goal for the marathon is to finish as one of the top
Americans and to run under 2:40:00, the "A" standard for the 2004 Olympic
Two Pennsylvanians, Tammy Slusser of Monroeville and Wendy Nelson-Barett of
Lebanon, also plan to take part. Slusser, 37, has twice won at Pittsburgh
(1994 and 2000) and has a career best time of 2:37:14. Nelson-Barrett, 33,
has a career best time of 2:39:25 and will be running her first marathon at
Pittsburgh and her first since becoming a mother.
"I am running Pittsburgh because I would like to qualify for the Trials,"
said Nelson-Barrett, who is a three-time U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon
qualifier. "This will be the first marathon I've run since the birth of my
son, so I am unsure of what to expect. My training has been going well, and
I think qualifying is definitely a reasonable goal."
Race director Grollman has high hopes for these American athletes. "These
athletes are expecting to be competitive with the international runners we
have in our race. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see an American winner
The UPMC Health System/City of Pittsburgh Marathon will begin at 7:35 a.m.
with the wheelchair competition, followed by the able-bodied runners at 7:45
a.m.. The new start line will be adjacent to Heinz Field, home of the
Pittsburgh Steelers. The race will finish inside the stadium on the 50 yard
line. Runners will be able to see themselves on the stadium's Jumbotron as
they enter the stadium to the finish line. At 8:00 a.m. the Mellon Relay
Team Competition will begin, followed 15 minutes later by the UPMC Health
Plan 5K Run/Walk. Complete registration information, including on-line
registration, is available at the race website:
http://www.upmc.edu/pghmarathon or by calling (412) 647-RUNN (7866).
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