Flanagan, Goucher Ready To Rock Miami Beach

Shalane Flanagan, who won the Rock 'n' Roll San Antonio 1.2 Marathon in 1:10:49, will line up with teammate Kara Goucher in Miami Beach this weekend. Photo: PhotoRun.net

Oregon Track Club teammates taking part in final tune-up for Olympic Marathon Trials.

Shalane Flanagan, who won the Rock 'n' Roll San Antonio 1/2 Marathon in 1:10:49, will line up with teammate Kara Goucher in Miami Beach this weekend. Photo: PhotoRun.net

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — Once perceived as rivals, Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher will compete for the first time as teammates on Sunday, December 11 at the inaugural Dodge Latin Music Miami Beach 1/2 Marathon. Each athlete is looking toward the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials on January 14 in Houston where they are considered favorites to represent Team USA at next summer’s Olympic Games in London.

“To see America’s two brightest distance stars on the road at the same time will be a true treat for Miami Beach,” said Tracy Sundlun, SVP of race organizer Competitor Group. “Many in the running community, myself included, are very much looking forward to seeing them run in one of their last significant tune ups before the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials and their first time racing together since Kara joined Shalane’s training group and began working with Jerry Schumacher, who has been Shalane’s coach since 2009.”

The half marathon will mark the first race for Goucher since finishing 13th in the 10,000 meters at the World Championships this summer in South Korea, where she was badly hampered by a hip injury. The Minnesota native has since parted ways with coach Alberto Salazar, joined the Oregon Track Club, overcome the injury and is back training focused on making her second Olympic team.

While Goucher has overcome recent adversity, 2011 has been a banner year for Flanagan. She won bronze medal at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships as well as her second U.S. title in the 10,000 meters over the summer. She recently won the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio Half Marathon in 1 hour, 10 minutes, and 49 seconds, which was the second fastest half-marathon run in this year by a U.S. woman on a record standard course.

Goucher and Flanagan will be joined at the start line by teammate Lisa Uhl, formerly Lisa Koll, an NCAA 5000 and 10,000m champion at Iowa State.

U.S. Cross Country champion Brent Vaughn is the fastest of the men’s favorites, with a 1:02:04 personal record from Houston last year, where he finished third overall.

Vaughn’s teammates Tim Nelson (1:02:11 PR) and Simon Bairu, a two-time NCAA Cross Country champion while at the University of Wisconsin with a PR of 1:02:08, and Christian Hesch of Hollywood, CA, who finished third at the Dodge Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon in 1:04:32, a PR and the Olympic Trials qualifier.

The Dodge Latin Music Miami Beach Half Marathon will begin at 7:00am on Ocean Drive in South Beach. Runners will be inspired by waterfront views along iconic South Beach, with more than six miles of the route running along the water, including spectacular views of the Port of Miami cruise ship terminal, Star, Palm, Hibiscus, and Fisher Islands.

The course starts and finishes at Lummus Park in South Beach, and takes runners across both the Julia Tuttle and MacArthur Causeways, which stretch over the sparkling Biscayne Bay. Participants will run through the Miami Beach Art Deco District and alongside the historic Miami Beach Golf Club before a unique finish line on the sand, a first for a Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series event.

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