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Goucher, Abdirahman for USA Half Champs

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Old 30-04-2012, 09:12 AM   #1
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Java Goucher, Abdirahman for USA Half Champs

Olympians Goucher, Abdirahman Headline 2012 USA Half Marathon Championships

DULUTH, Minn. The road to London will soon take a journey through Duluth for a pair of U.S. Olympians as Kara Goucher and Abdi Abdirahman officially have registered for the USA Half Marathon Championships to be held Saturday, June 16 in Duluth as part of Grandma's Marathon weekend.

The event will be a homecoming for Goucher, 33, who grew up in Duluth and graduated from Duluth East High School in 1996. Now residing in Portland, Ore., Goucher competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in both the 5000 meters and 10,000 meters, placing ninth and tenth, respectively.

Goucher and Abdirahman earned spots on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon squad by placing in the top three at the Olympic Marathon Trials Jan. 14 in Houston. Both placed third - Goucher in 2 hours, 26 minutes, 6 seconds and Abdirahman in 2:09:47, his fastest marathon since a 2006 personal best of 2:08:56.

The London Games will be the fourth Olympic appearance for the 35-year-old Abdirahman, who resides in Tucson, Ariz. He raced in the 10,000 meters in 2000, 2004 and 2008.

"We are extremely honored to have Kara and Abdi as part of the elite group coming to Duluth for this event. With the Olympic marathon races set for August, the timing is ideal," said Scott Keenan, executive director of Grandma's Marathon. "We expect to add many more quality runners in the coming weeks."

There are currently 158 American athletes signed up to compete in the national championships with a May 15 deadline to register. They will be competing for a prize purse of $82,000, including first-place awards of $12,000 for the men's and women's U.S. champions.

Duluth's history of hosting national championship road racing events includes the 2003 and 2004 USA Women's Half Marathon Championships. The 2003 race was won by Colleen De Reuck in a course record 1 hour, 10 minutes - a mark that remains the fastest women's time on the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon course.

The city also hosted the 1987, 1990 and 1994 USA Women's Marathon Championships as part of Grandma's Marathon, which is currently the country's 13th largest marathon according to Running USA.
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