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TheEd 09-06-2014 06:40 PM

7 Olympians Confirmed for Peachtree
U.S. Olympians Ryan Hall, Abdi Abdirahman, Desiree Linden, Amy Hastings, Julie Culley, Blake Russell and Jen Rhines are among the first athletes confirmed for the 2014 AJC Peachtree Road Race on Friday, July 4, Atlanta Track Club announced.

For the second consecutive year, the world’s largest 10K will host the USA 10K Championships for both men and women. A total U.S. prize purse of $100,000 will be awarded this year, an increase of $40,000 from 2013. The winning male and female will each earn $15,000.

“A national championship is the place where every U.S. athlete wants to put it on the line,” said Hall, a two-time U.S. Olympian whose time of 2:04:58 in the 2011 Boston Marathon is the fastest marathon ever run by an American. “I couldn’t be happier that the AJC Peachtree Road Race is hosting the USA 10K Championships, with the best American distance runners in the country going after a big prize on the Fourth of July. It’s perfect.”

Hall, 31, of Redding, Calif., will be joined by Abdirahman, 37, of Tucson, Ariz., a four-time Olympian, four-time USA 10,000-meter champion on the track, 2007 USA 10K champion on the roads and 2012 USA Half Marathon champion.

The women’s field is headlined by Linden, 29, of Rochester Hills, Mich. A 2012 Olympian in the marathon, Linden in 2011 came within two seconds of becoming the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon since 1985 when she finished second in 2:22:38, a time that makes her the fourth-fastest woman in U.S. history.

Among her rivals will be Hastings, 30, of Providence, RI, a 2012 Olympian at 10,000 meters; and Culley, 32, of Arlington, Va., a 2012 U.S. Olympian at 5000 meters. Both were Olympic Trials champions. Joining them will be Rhines, of Boston, Mass., a three-time Olympian and 2011 national champion at both 15K and the half marathon who will turn 40 on July 1; and Russell, of Monterey, Calif., a 2008 Olympian in the marathon and national champion at 15K in 2006 and 20K in 2005.

Also expected on the women’s starting line are Sara Hall, the 2012 USA Cross Country and 2011 USA 1-Mile Road champion; Serena Burla, the reigning USA Half Marathon champion; Lauren Fleshman, a two-time U.S. champion at 5000 meters on the track; and Katie McGregor, a two-time USA 10K champion (2005, 2006) who has also won road titles at 10 miles (2010) and 25K (2007).

For the men, Hall and Abdirahman will be challenged by Aaron Braun, the 2013 USA 12K champion; and Christo Landry, the 2013 USA champion at both 10 miles and 25K, the latter in a time that tied the American Record.

More athletes are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

Last year, the USA 10K Championships were won by Matt Tegenkamp of Portland, OR (28:25, sixth overall) and Janet Bawcom of Flagstaff, Ariz., and formerly of Rome, Ga. (32:45, eighth overall.) It was the first time the AJC Peachtree Road Race hosted the USA Women’s 10K Championships, while the men also raced for the title here in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011.

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