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Posted: January 9, 2007

Athletics: 2007 USA Running Circuit begins in Houston with USA Half-Marathon Championships

INDIANAPOLIS - Defending USA Half-Marathon champions Brian Sell (Rochester Hills, Mich.) and Annie Bersagel (Minneapolis, Minn.), along with U.S. Olympians Meb Keflezighi (San Diego, Calif.) and Elva Dryer (Gunnison, Colo.) headline the field for the 2007 USA Half-Marathon Championships this Sunday, January 14. The championship, hosted by the Aramco Houston Half-Marathon, is the first race of the 2007 USA Running Circuit (USARC).

Joining Sell and Keflezighi in the hunt for the first U.S. championship of 2007 will be the American record holder and 2006 USA champion at 20 km, Ryan Hall (Woodside, Calif.).

A field of more than 40 of the top U.S. men will include two-time USA half-marathon champions Dan Browne (2001 and 2005) and Ryan Shay (2003 and 2004) as well as returning top-five finishers from 2006; Max King (Bend, Ore.), Brandon Leslie (Albuquerque, N.M.) and Andrew Carlson (White Bear Lake, Minn.). Fasil Bizuneh (Bristol, Va.), who won the Dallas White Rock Half-Marathon in December with a time of 1:02:59, will also be in contention for the title.

In the women's championship, Bersagel will travel from Oslo, Norway where she is a Fulbright Scholar studying Political Science at the University of Oslo, in an effort to repeat the her 2006 title run. Bersagel will face a field that includes two-time U.S. Olympian Dryer, who was the runner-up at the 2006 USA 20 km Championships, and Samia Akbar (Herndon, Va.), who finished third in the 10,000 meters at last summer's AT&T USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

The championships will feature a total prize purse of $59,500 with $12,000 going to the respective men's and women's champions. The Aramco Houston Half Marathon will also offer a bonus of $4,000 for breaking the existing race records of 1:02:07 and 1:10:55 for men and women, respectively, plus an additional $5,000 for breaking the existing American records of 1:00:55 (men ) and 1:07:34 (women).

Two of the top five U.S. male and female finishers will also qualify for the IAAF World Road Running Championships to be held in Udine, Italy, October 14, 2007.

About the USARC

The USA Running Circuit (USARC), a USA Track & Field road series, features USA Championships from 5 km to the marathon and attracts the best U.S. distance runners, including Olympians Deena Kastor, Meb Keflezighi, Marla Runyan and Anthony Famiglietti. The thirteenth edition for the men and twelfth for the women, the 2007 USARC has nine events for men and seven events for women.

The first ten U.S. runners earn points at each USARC race (15 for first, 12 for second, 10 for third, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1), with a final $12,500 grand prix purse ($6,000, $4,000, and $2,500) for the top three men and women point scorers overall. The USARC points at the USA Marathon Championships will be doubled.

The mission of the USA Running Circuit is to showcase, support, and promote U.S. runners. Since its inception in 1995, the USARC and its races have provided over $4 million dollars to U.S. distance runners.

For more information on the 2007 USA Half-Marathon Championships visit

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