Kara Goucher, who finished third at the most recent editions of both the ING New York City and Boston Marathons, will tune-up for her first World Championships Marathon appearance at the Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half-Marathon on Aug. 2, race organizers announced. It will be Goucher's first-ever half-marathon race in the United States.
"I'm excited to be part of the first Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half-Marathon," Goucher said through a media release. "I'm grateful for the opportunity to race as part of my preparations for the World Championships here on home soil, in one of the true great sporting cities."
Goucher has only competed in two half-marathons, but both resulted in commanding victories. At the 2007 Bupa Great North Run in Newcastle, England, she startled marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe and ran the fastest-ever half-marathon by an American woman, 1:06:57, to win the race (the course was slightly downhill so her mark didn't count for the USA record). Radcliffe, who was still rounding into shape after an injury, finished nearly a minute behind. Then, as part of her preparations for last April's Boston Marathon, Goucher ran the Meia-Maratona Internacional de Lisboa in Portugal, sailing to a 1:08:30 win.
"I'm very happy about the way my preparations have gone," Goucher said of her training under coach Alberto Salazar for next month's IAAF World Championships. "I ran the Trials in June (where she won the USA 5000m title) and now it's time to get back on the roads. I'm hoping to run well in Chicago and take that confidence into Berlin and give a good account of myself on the world stage."
No American woman has ever won a world marathon title. The best attempt was by Marianne Dickerson in the inaugural World Championships marathon in Helsinki in 1983 where she finished second. Goucher won a bronze medal at the 2007 IAAF World Championships at 10,000m.
The race Goucher will run in Chicago was formerly called the Chicago Distance Classic, before the event was purchased by the Competitor Group which has rebranded it as part of their Rock 'n' Roll family of marathons and half-marathons. Last year's race recorded 8731 finishers, but organizers reported that this year's race has sold out with 18,000 entrants.
Kara Goucher after winning the 2009 USA 5000m title in Eugene, Ore. (photo by Jane Monti)