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Posted: April 24, 2009  :

(RWire) Athletics: Elite Field Set, 7,000 Expected for Get in Gear 10K Event

Inaugural half-marathon; USATF-Minnesota Team Circuit and USATF-Minnesota State 10K Championship

MINNEAPOLIS - (April 22, 2009) - Some 7,000 participants are expected for the Get in Gear races on Saturday, April 25, including 4,000 for the 10K, 1,500 for the 5K, 1,000 for the sold-out inaugural half-marathon, and the remaining registered for the 2K Fun Run. More than 33 states will be represented, 57 percent of the participants are women, and 51 corporate teams with 850 runners will compete in the 10K.

"We are very excited to be hosting this high caliber event with a variety of races," said Paulette Odenthal, Get in Gear executive director. "In addition to such a wide range of participants, we've got a deep elite field for our 32nd 10K race, particularly on the men's side, with both male and female competitors who could threaten our 10K course records."

The elite field for the 2009 Get in Gear 10K includes the top three male finishers from last year - Kenyans Sammy Malakwen, William Serem and Richard Kandie - who went first, second and third respectively. Team USA Minnesota's Antonio Vega, St. Paul, who has a best of 29:00 in the 10,000m, and Chris Lundstrom, Minneapolis, who is preparing for Grandma's Marathon, will also be in the mix.

Additional male contenders include the 2009 Human Race 8K champion Brad Lowery of Brookings, S.D., Jeremy Polson of Duluth, and Kenyans Moses Waweru - who won the GiG 10K in 2005 - John Njoroge, Jacob Kenbagor, Japheth Ngojoy and Eric Chirchir - who recently won the All American City 10K in Texas in 29:12. The men's course record of 28:45 was set by Jonah Koech in 1994.

The women's elite field includes the 2008 race champion, former Gopher runner Kim Magee of Bloomington, and the 2007 race champion, Alemtsehay Misganaw, who lives in New York City. Misganaw's time two years ago was only 6 seconds off the course record of 32:52 (set by Janis Klecker in 1991). Others who will contend include Jenna Boren, St. Paul, who won the Human Race 8K in March; Amy Lyons of Mounds View who has posted 34:26 in the 10K; Kenyan Hellen Mugo, with a best of 34:38; and Jennifer Houck of Duluth.

Top returning masters runners include John Mirth of Platteville, Wis., who has been the first male master from 2005-08; and Bonnie Sons of Shorewood, who has been the first female master's runner at the Get in Gear 10K from 2005-08. Sons ran the Boston Marathon on April 20 in a time of 3:15:21.

The 10K prize purse offers $1000, $750 and $500 for first, second and third place for Open men and women, plus $250 each for the first Minnesota male and female. The Master's purse is $500, $350 and $100 per gender. The Get in Gear 10K is part of the USATF-Minnesota Team Circuit and also serves at the USATF-Minnesota State 10K Championship this year.

In addition to the inaugural half-marathon, another feature this year will be the Aquafina Eco Challenge which has new sponsor Aquafina supplying water for all Get in Gear events. The arrangement includes providing staff and recyling bins to collect and recycle empty water bottles.

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