American distance runners will continue to enjoy strong financial support from the New York Road Runners this year, president and chief executive officer Mary Wittenberg announced today. The leading not-for-profit race organizer in the United States will contribute $190,000 this year to support the USA Distance Project, a collection of training groups throughout the country, and will provide direct financial backing to post-collegiate track races at the Brutus Hamilton Invitational at Cal Berkeley next month.
"Our goal is to get people running worldwide, and to build our sport," said Wittenberg in a prepared statement. "We believe American stars are critical in helping to achieve that end goal."
Since 2006, NYRR has contributed upwards of $1.5 million directly to U.S. distance running by funding USA Championships events, USA-only prize money, and financial support via the USA Distance Project. In that time, more than $735,000 has gone toward U.S. post-collegiate running through the USA Distance Project. This year's donation was raised almost entirely through the NYRR Champion's Circle charity program at last year's ING New York City Marathon.
Six post-collegiate training groups will receive support: Mammoth Track Club in Mammoth Lakes, Calif.; Team USA Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn.; Marathon Performance in Eugene, Ore.; Tempo Sports in Boulder, Colo.; McMillan Elite in Flagstaff, Ariz.; and ZAP Fitness in Blowing Rock, N.C. Athletes who train under these groups include stars like Ryan Hall, Deena Kastor, Dathan Ritzenhein, Katie McGregor and Jen Rhines.
"Distance running is extremely difficult," explained Wittenberg. "Stars aren't created in a vacuum. We need to fund and support the development of athletes in a strategic and holistic way."
The NYRR's partnership with the University of California at Berkeley is historic. Working with Cal head coach Tony Sandoval, the inaugural NYRR Distance Carnival will be held on the first day of the Brutus Hamilton Invitational on Friday, April 24. Post-collegiate races at 5000m, 10,000m and the 3000m steeplechase will be held, and the NYRR will assist with meet logistics, arrangement of pacemakers, and the seeding of heats. This meet will offer one of the best opportunities for athletes to make qualifying marks for the 2007 IAAF World Championships in Athletics.
With a staff of over 100 people, the NYRR manages running races on all surfaces throughout the year totalling to about 300,000 entrants. The organization was founded in 1958, and is the owner and founder of the ING New York City Marathon.