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Posted: May 7, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this

(RWire) Athletics: Russia, Great Britain, Ukraine and Romania to be Represented at Freihofer's Run for Women

Premier road race attracts top international field including defending champion Benita Johnson for 31st edition

ALBANY, N.Y. - (May 5, 2009) - With the Freihofer's Run for Women now just three weeks away, event organizers have announced the addition of six top European runners to the 31st edition of race set for Saturday, May 30 in Albany.

Three Russians will be on hand looking to dethrone three-time champion Benita Johnson of Australia. Maria Konavalova had an excellent showing in the 10,000m at the Beijing Olympics last summer, placing 5th. She also boasts a PR of 14:38 in the 5K, which could pose a serious challenge to the existing Freihofer's 5K course record of 15:17, set in 2005 by Asmae Leghzaoui of Morocco.

Natalia Sokolova, another strong contender, placed 1st in the 2008 California International Marathon, 1st in the 2008 St Petersburg Marathon and 1st in the 2008 Vytra Long Island Women's 5K, proving she's competitive in all races, no matter the distance. For her part, Marina Ivanova posted top 10 results in the Russian Championships last year in both the 10,000m and the 5000m, as well as a 4th place finish in the 2008 Beach to Beacon 10K.

Since taking part in the 2008 Beijing Olympics steeplechase, Great Britain's Barbara Parker has set her sights on another one of her specialties: middle-distance sprinting. A bronze medalist in the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Championship steeplechase, Parker placed 1st at the 2008 Seminole Twilight Meet 1500m and 3rd in the 2009 Reebok Indoors 3000m.

Event organizers also confirmed the entry of Romanian Adriana Pirtea, who has dominated the Romanian racing scene since 2006. She's been the 5000m national champion for the past three years and the reigning 10,000m national champion for the past two years.

"It's always great to have a few athletes in the field that the other women haven't competed against regularly on the road race circuit," said Freihofer's Run for Women Elite Athlete Recruiter John Tope. "This race will have that mix, which should make for an exciting event on May 30th."

Anzhelika Averkova from the Ukraine rounds out the entries from Eastern Europe. Averkova, who will compete in the event's masters (over 40) division, placed 15th at the 2009 Boston Marathon and 2nd at last year's La Rochelle Marathon in France. She is, however, a 10K specialist and is just as comfortable competing at shorter distances, as she is the longer ones.

Those wishing to follow the race as it happens can do so live on Twitter, the free social networking and micro-blogging service. Fox23 Sports Anchor Rich Becker will tweet regular updates from the Freihofer's Run for Women press truck. To capture the drama of the race as it unfolds, go to and click on the Twitter icon at the bottom of the page.

From that location you can also join the event's Facebook page, where you'll receive regular race updates and videos in the coming weeks, as well as have the ability to post your own photos, video footage and event memories and comments.

For those unable to log onto Twitter that morning, or listen to Fox 23 color commentator James O'Brien's live press truck updates, Fox23 News will broadcast a 30-minute Freihofer's Run for Women TV special Saturday, May 30 at 10:30p.m. Complete race day results, including in-depth race coverage and analysis, will also be available in the Sunday, May 31st edition of the Albany Times Union newspaper.

To register for the Freihofer's Run for Women or for more information about the Freihofer's Run for Women, the Freihofer's Community Walk, Freihofer's Kids' Run and CapitalCare Health & FitnessExpo, visit:

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