Grunewald Tops Women’s Startlist At Carlsbad 5000

Gabe Grunewald won the U.S. 3000m indoor title in February. Photo: www.photorun.net

The race will be broadcast live Sunday at carlsbad5000.com/live.

A historic race celebrated for fast runners and world-class performances, the famed Carlsbad 5000 will take place on Sunday morning. The race is known as the “World’s Fastest 5K,” accounting for 46 of the top 50 men’s all-time performances and 22 of the top 50 women’s all-time performances, according to the Association of Road Racing Statisticians.

The 29th edition of the event will feature many of the top U.S. track & field stars competing for dedicated U.S.-only prize money — $2,500 goes to the first American finisher, in addition to $5,000 for the overall champion.

Leading the women’s race is Gabe Grunewald, who most recently won the U.S. indoor title over 3000m in February. She’ll be joined by 15-time NCAA All-American Jordan Hasay of the Nike Oregon Project, who will be making her debut on the roads.

Last year’s top American, Brenda Martinez, returns to Carlsbad after winning the bronze medal at the 2013 World Championships over 800m. Other top Americans in the women’s race include Lindsey Scherf of Chapel Hill, N.C., U.S. cross-country champion Amy Van Alstine of Flagstaff, Ariz., and three-time Olympian Jen Rhines, who will represent the Boston Athletic Association.

“It’s fantastic to have a field with America’s top talent on show, from the new and upcoming superstars to one of the U.S.’s all-time greats in Jen Rhines,” said Matthew Turnbull, elite athlete coordinator for the event. “The fact they all want to come and be a part of the Carlsbad 5000 says so much about the rich history of what is undoubtedly the world’s premier 5-kilometer race.”

The top international entrants in a highly competitive field include Gotytom Gebreslase of Ethiopia, Julie Bleasdale of Great Britain, as well as Margharita Magnani and Alessandra Viola Giulia of Italy. Gebreslase was sixth at last year’s Carlsbad 5000, her only 5K race. Bleasdale finished eighth in the 5,000 and 10,000 meters at the 2012 London Olympics and was sixth at Carlsbad in 2012. Magnani, making her 5K debut, set three personal bests this past indoor season, and Giulia is the Italian national champion for the 5,000.

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Ethiopia’s Meseret Defar, a two-time Olympic gold medalist at 5,000 meters, established the women’s course record and world mark of 14:46 in 2006. Deena Kastor set the U.S. record of 14:54 in 2002. Since the inaugural race in 1986, 16 world records, eight U.S. records, and numerous national and age-group records have been set at Carlsbad.

Race weekend kicks off with a pre-registration party on Friday for the Junior Carlsbad race, held at the Carlsbad Village Faire. On Saturday, more than 1,500 junior racers aged 12 and under will take part in one of the 11 age-group races. All runners receive a t-shirt and finisher’s medal for their efforts. Awards will be presented to the top junior athletes ages 5-12.

The 29th running of the Carlsbad 5000 takes place on Sunday. For the first time in the race’s history, U.S.-only prize money will be added to the elite invitational and the races will be broadcast worldwide on the web at Carlsbad5000.com/Live. Also for the first time ever, the men’s and women’s 30-39 category will be combined, with the men’s and women’s elite races running at separate times nearly two hours earlier than last year.

RELATED: Martinez Making Strides On And Off The Track

Race day begins at 7:05 a.m. with the Masters men’s 40 and over race, the first of seven races that will take place throughout the morning. The “Party by the Sea” gets started as soon as the first runners cross the finish line. After enjoying the scenic 3.1-mile course, runners aged 21 and over can step into the beer garden, sip two free beers from Pizza Port, and enjoy a live band.

The first of two main events, featuring the world’s fastest professional athletes, begins at 10:45 a.m. with the elite women, followed by the elite men’s race at 11:15 a.m.

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