Men and women look to improve upon 10th and 4th place finishes from 2008.
The US squads are ready to roll at this year’s IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Bimingham, UK on October 11th. The men’s squad is lead by two-time Olympian and 5000m American record holder Dathan Ritzenhein and the women will be lead by 2008 Olympian Amy Yoder Begley.
Along with Ritzenhein, the men’s team will be comprised of reigning US 20K champion Brett Gotcher, former US 15K champion Andrew Carlson, former US half marathon champion James Carney and former NCAA DII Cross Country champion Scott Bauhs.
During a teleconference with the media, Ritzenhein sounded positive about his chances in Brimingham, “It will be nice to feel as though I am one fo the fastest guys in the field, especially now that I have the 12:56 5000m to my name. Races like this are a good way for me to get that international experience.” When asked about his expectations, Ritzenhein said, “Hopefully there is a PR in the works, but I’m just going to be competitive and not worry about the time. If the race goes well the time will come.”
Gotcher also seemed very excited about his first major international road championship, “We’ve been keying towards the world championship half marathon for a long time now, ever since we knew I had a shot at making the team. I’m feeling really confident going in to the race and I’m hoping it can be another big step in the right direction.”
The women’s team is equally as strong as Yoder Begley is joined by marathon world championships 11th place finisher Desiree Davila, 2009 US 20K championship runner-up Serena Burla, two-time Olympian Elva Dryer and 2009 US 20K championships 5th place finisher Amy Hastings.
Davila was excited about the team’s chances, “I think the women’s team is really strong and I really want to contribute to that. Last year we finished fourth and we definitely want to improve.”
When asked about her preperation for the race, Yoder Begley said, “I’m definitely stronger and faster than I have ever been. We just want to go and be competitive and put ourselves out there.”
The US teams will face stiff competition in Brimingham. On the men’s side, defending champion Zersenay Tadese Eritrea will return and 2008 team champion Kenya will bring another strong contingent lead by 2009 world half marathon leader Sammy Kitwara. The women’s race features British marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe.
For More: IAAF World Half Marathon Championships