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Posted: April 23, 2009  :

(RRW) Athletics: Johnson Set To Defend Freihofer's Title

From David Monti

© 2009 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

Australia's Benita Johnson is set to return to the Freihofer's Run for Women on May 30 in Albany, N.Y., where she hopes to win the race for the fourth consecutive time. Only eight-time Freihofer's champion Lynn Jennings has won more consecutive Freihofer's events, storming to victory in 1993 - '96.

"This race holds a truly special place in my heart," said Johnson, whose victory last year was tempered by getting the news of the death of her father immediately after the race. "Each year I experience a huge rush of excitement and adrenalin. First when I step into the classrooms around the community to talk to the kids and then second when I stand on that start line looking up the big hill ready for a tough race ahead against the world's best athletes."

Johnson, the 2004 IAAF World Cross Country Championships gold medalist, has a best time on the Freihofer's certified loop course of 15:22.0 set in 2007. She ran 15:45.3 last year, defeating Ethiopia's Amane Gobena and pocketing the $10,000 first place check.

"We're thrilled to have Benita back in Albany," said event director George Regan. "If she claims her fourth title here, she will hold the second greatest number of victories behind Lynn Jennings."

The Freihofer's Run for Women has been held 30 times since 1979. From 1979 through 1991, the event held both 10-K and 5-K races, before setting on the 5 km distance exclusively in 1992.

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