Abdirahman, Goucher To Run U.S. 1/2 Championships

Olympian Kara Goucher will run her first professional race in her hometown of Duluth, Minnesota on June 16. Photo: PhotoRun.net

The Olympians will headline a strong field on June 16. 

(c) 2012 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission. 

London-bound Olympians Abdi Abdirahman and Kara Goucher will headline the USA Half Marathon Championships in Duluth, Minn., on Saturday, June 16, organizers reported yesterday.

Abdirahman, 35, from Tucson, Ariz., has won 12 national titles on the track and on the road, but never at the half-marathon distance.  However, he is the third-fastest USA half-marathoner of all-time with a 1:00:29 personal best, a mark he set at the NYC Half in 2007. Abdirahman has made four USA Olympic teams.

Goucher, 33, from Portland, Ore., has won three USA titles (two at 5000m and one at 10 miles), and is the fastest USA half marathoner of all time with her 1:06:57 personal best from the 2007 Great North Run (that course is slightly aided, so Goucher isn’t the national record holder).  Goucher, the 2007 IAAF World Championships bronze medalist at 10,000m, is a two-time Olympian.

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

For Goucher, competing in Duluth will be special.  She grew up there as Kara Wheeler and graduated from Duluth East High School in 1996.  This will be her first time competing in Duluth as a professional athlete.

This will not be the first time that Duluth has hosted a national championships.  Keenan’s team hosted the 2003 and 2004 women’s national half-marathon championships, and the 1987, 1990 and 1994 national marathon championships.

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

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