Men’s 8K Championship To Return in 2011

Event resurrected after two-year hiatus; new date may conflict with national track championships.

Written by: David Monti
(c) 2010 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

After a two-year hiatus, the U.S. Men’s 8K Championship will be revived for 2011, USA Track & Field announced yesterday.  The championship will be held for the first time since 2008 in Carmel, Indiana, on Saturday, June 11, as part of a larger and new race festival called the Carmel Marathon Championship Weekend.  A total prize money purse of $20,000 will be offered, and the race will be part of the 2011 USA Road Circuit.

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“Having a championship in our backyard gives USATF an opportunity to connect with our local community,” said USATF CEO Doug Logan in a statement, referring to the 15 miles between USATF’s Indianapolis headquarters and Carmel.  “With the growth of long distance running as a social movement and the array of events offered in Carmel, this country’s top distance runners will have the chance to be center stage on a day that will celebrate the best our sport has to offer.”

The date for the championship may be problematic for athletes and coaches, however.  The race is scheduled just two weeks before the U.S. Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon, where the best American distance runners must compete in order to be selected for the national team that will compete at the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Athletics.  While some coaches may see the 8K as a good tune-up opportunity for the national track championships, others may view it as a risky outing which could depress performance at the national track meet.

The event had most recently been held in the early spring.  From 2002 through 2005, then from 2007 through 2008, the championship was held in New York City and hosted by the New York Road Runners (the championship had not been held since 1993 before the Road Runners resurrected it).  The event was timed to capitalize on the fitness of athletes who had pointed for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships held in the same, late-March timeframe. Top athletes supported the championship in large numbers (typically over 40 entrants).  Every winner in that series was, or became, an Olympian (Tim Broe, 2002; Meb Keflezighi, 2003 and 2004; Jorge Torres, 2005 and 2008; and Anthony Famiglietti, 2007).  The NYRR discontinued the championship after 2008 to shift their support to the U.S. Marathon Championship for men in 2009, and women in 2010.

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