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Posted: August 2, 2004

Athletics: Olympians Headed to Falmouth Road Race

From David Monti

(c) 2004 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

(NOTE: The following release is posted for our friends at the Falmouth Road Race who are responsible for the content --Ed.)

FALMOUTH, Mass. - (July 28, 2004) - The road to next month's Olympic Games in Athens runs through Falmouth for a number of elite runners. Three 2004 U.S. Olympians with dreams of winning medals in the upcoming Games will first test their mettle during the 32nd annual SBLI Falmouth Road Race weekend, August 7 and 8. Several other past champions at Falmouth will skip the race this year to prepare for the Games instead.

The women's seven-mile race will feature U.S. Olympians Kate O'Neill of Milton, a former All-American at Yale, and Elva Dryer of Albuquerque, N.M. O'Neill and Dryer are members of the U.S. team at 10,000 meters. They finished third and second, respectively, at the recent Olympic Trials and will run Falmouth as a final tune-up before embarking for Greece. O'Neill, 24, has blossomed in her first year on the pro circuit since graduating from Yale. Earlier this year, she ran 31 minutes, 34.37 seconds for 10,000 meters at Stanford - more than a minute faster than her previous personal best and one of the top 10 times ever by an American at the distance. In June at the New York Mini 10K, she was second to fellow Olympian Deena Kastor.

O'Neill is no stranger to the Falmouth course, having competed here frequently while attending Milton High School and during her collegiate career. Last year, she was 13th. O'Neill will be joined in Falmouth by her twin sister, Laura, also an accomplished competitor and former Yale star. Laura was seventh in the U.S. Olympic Trials at 10,000 meters and 16th at Falmouth last year. Dryer is a last-minute addition to the Falmouth field and will be a leading candidate for the top American prize money of $5,500 as well as the overall winner's take of $11,000.

Jen Rhines of Ardmore, Pa., won the women's division last year and used that victory as a springboard to a sensational 2004 season. She is bypassing Falmouth to concentrate on the Athens Olympics, where she will run the marathon. Colleen De Reuck, a fixture at Falmouth for many years - she is a two-time champion and four-time runner-up - will also skip Falmouth to focus on the Olympics. A three-time Olympian for South Africa, De Reuck is now a U.S. citizen and will be running the marathon in American colors. She won the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials earlier this year in St. Louis.

Other Falmouth favorites who will be competing in the Summer Games are Lornah Kiplagat and Catherine Ndereba. Kiplagat will represent the Netherlands in the 10,000 meters and Ndereba, Kenya in the marathon. Both are three-time Falmouth champs. Bruna Genovese of Italy, 18th in the women's division last year, will also run the Olympic marathon. With Rhines out, last year's Falmouth runner-up, Alevtina Ivanova of Russia, will be a favorite, along with the latest Kenyan star, Susan Chepkemei, who has won several major races this year, including the mammoth Peachtree 10K Road Race in Atlanta.

Several U.S. women coming off the Olympic Trials will be on hand and should still be sharp, including Katie McGregor, fourth at the Trials 10,000; she was 10th at Falmouth in 2002. Nicole Jefferson Aish, 10th at Falmouth last year, and 12th at the Trials 10,000, will also be in the field, along with Katherine Newberry (14th in the Trials) and Dana Coons (15th). Valentina Yegorova of Russia will be among the favorites in the women's masters. She turned 40 earlier this year and has a resume highlighted by two Olympic marathon medals: gold in 1992 and silver in '96.

In the men's race, defending champion John Korir of Kenya returns and will be trying to become the first four-time winner of the men's division. The legendary Bill Rodgers is the only other man to have won Falmouth three times.

Two-time Falmouth winner and former marathon world-record-holder Khalid Khannouchi, a native of Morocco and now a U.S. citizen, is running well again and will challenge Korir. Khannouchi, who holds the American record in the marathon, was expected to be a favorite at the Olympics, but missed the Olympic Marathon Trials due to injury.

Along with Khannouchi, five finalists from the Olympic Trials 10,000 meters will also be in the field, looking to use their track speed to force the pace over the rolling hills of Falmouth. Mike Donnelly was fourth in the Trials 10,000 and ran 15th at Falmouth last summer. Ryan Shay was 10th in the Trials and also competed in the marathon trials earlier this year. He was 13th at Falmouth in 2003.

Also entered at Falmouth are Chris Graff (fifth at the Trials), Adam Tenforde (ninth), and Dave Davis (11th). Of course, the Kenyans can't be overlooked - 11 of the past 13 winners have been from that running-rich nation. Along with Korir, John Itati should be in the mix. He was seventh last year, eighth in 2002 and has been running well on the summer circuit.

The master's race will include defending champion Jackson Kipng'ok and past winner Andrew Masai. Golden oldies returning to Falmouth are Bill Rodgers, Frank Shorter and Joan Benoit Samuelson. Shorter is a two-time Falmouth champion and won the Olympic marathon gold medal in 1972 in Munich. Rodgers, a 1976 Olympian, is a three-time Falmouth winner. Samuelson is a six-time Falmouth champion. She's celebrating the 20th anniversary of her golden moment at the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics, when she won the first-ever women's marathon.

The other 2004 U.S. Olympian racing in Falmouth will be Robert Gary, who was third in the steeplechase at the Trials. Gary will run the Falmouth mile at 6:15 on Saturday evening, Aug. 7, at the Falmouth High School track. His goal is to break four minutes as a speedy tune-up before Athens. Gary was also a member of the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team in Atlanta and is the men's distance coach and cross country coach at Ohio State.

Also entered in the mile is Elkanah Angenyi, who has a 3:54 on his resume. The meet record of 3:57.82 is clearly in jeopardy. Among the women, defending champion MaryJayne Harrelson and Jenelle Deatherage who finished 4th at the 1500m Olympic Trials are expected to lead the field.

Falmouth is one of the richest non-marathon prize-money races in the sport. The Open division men's and women's champions win $11,000 each from a total purse of $112,000. Runners-up earn $6,000 each. A course record is worth an additional $1,000. In addition, there is prize money for the top U.S. performers, including $5,500 to the first American man and woman.

For more information on the SBLI Falmouth Road Race, go to:

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