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Posted: April 13, 2009  :

(RWire) Athletics: Olympians, Record-Holders to Line Up for Inaugural B.A.A. Invitational Mile

19 top professional milers, local scholastic stars will race the day before 113th Boston Marathon

BOSTON - (April 9, 2009) - Six Olympians, a trio of national record holders and a three-time U.S. champion are among the professional athletes set to compete in the debut of the B.A.A. Invitational Mile on Sunday, April 19, the Boston Athletic Association has announced.

The Invitational Mile, to be held in conjunction with the inaugural B.A.A. 5K the day before the 113th Boston Marathon, will feature mile races for professional men and women, plus mile races for scholastic girls and boys from Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton, Brookline and Boston - the eight cities and towns along the Boston Marathon course. The races, which will be run criterium-style in the Back Bay, will begin and end at the Boston Marathon finish line.

Headlining the women's professional mile will be 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan, a native of Marblehead, Mass. Flanagan, 27, won the bronze medal at 10,000 meters in Beijing and holds four U.S. records.

Flanagan will be challenged by a trio of top American milers: Anna Willard, a 2008 Olympian in the 3000 meter steeplechase and reigning U.S. Indoor 1500m champion; Erin Donohue, a 2008 Olympian at 1500 meters and Lindsey Gallo, 1500m runner-up at the 2006 USA Outdoor Championships and 2009 Boston Indoor Games mile champion. Willard is a native of Greenwood, Maine.

Challenging them for the win will be Amy Mortimer, winner of the 2008 Falmouth Mile; Michelle Sikes, who represented the U.S. at the 2007 World Championships; Marina Muncan, the Serbian national record holder and Carrie Tollefson, a 2004 Olympian at 1500 meters.

Leading the roster in the professional men's race are Rob Myers, a three-time U.S. Indoor champion at 1500 meters; Ireland's Alistair Cragg, a two-time Olympian and Adam Goucher, a 2000 Olympian and husband of Kara Goucher, the top American woman in the field for the next day's Boston Marathon.

Providing tough competition will be Pablo Solares, Mexico's national record holder at 1500 meters; Jon Rankin, winner of the 2008 Falmouth Mile; Steve Sherer, third at the 2008 USA Indoor Championships; Darren Brown, former University of Texas star; Bret Schoolmeester, former standout at the University of Colorado; John Richardson, a top miler just out of the University of Kentucky; Patrick Tarpy, a local favorite from Providence and Jonathon Blackledge of Great Britain, who competes for Oxford University.

Total prize purse for professional miles is $14,500 divided equally between men and women, including $3000 for the race champion.

The series of races in the B.A.A. Invitational Mile will begin with the girls' scholastic race at 9:30am Sunday, April 19, immediately after the B.A.A. 5K, a new road race that will begin at 8:00am. The mile will follow a three-loop course, beginning on Boylston Street, left on Dartmouth Street, left on Newbury Street, left on Exeter Street then left onto Boylston. Both the 5K and Mile will begin on Boylston Street near Copley Square Park, and end at the Boston Marathon finish line. Registration for the 5K is available at www.BAA.org; the field is limited to 4,000 runners and is filling up fast.

Additional information about the B.A.A. Invitational Mile, the B.A.A. 5K, the Boston Marathon and the Boston Athletic Association can be found online at BAA.org.


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