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Posted: August 2, 2009  :

(RRW) Athletics: Kara Goucher Leads All Runners At RNR Chicago Half

From David Monti

© 2009 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

Two-time USA 5000m champion Kara Goucher completed a very successful tune-up for the IAAF World Championships Marathon in Chicago today, winning the inaugural Rock 'N' Roll Chicago Half-Marathon in 1:08:05. Goucher, 31, beat all 14,437 other finishers of the race, including all of the men.

Although not a career best time, Goucher ran her fastest-ever half-marathon on a record-standard course. She actually ran faster in her debut at the distance at the 2007 Bupa Great North Run in Newcastle, England, but that course is slightly aided. Today's mark was just 31 seconds slower than Deena Kastor's American record 1:07:34 set in Berlin in 2006. It was Goucher's first-ever half-marathon in the United States.

But today's run wasn't about records. Goucher was testing her fitness prior to her first marathon at a major championships where she must be considered a medal contender. At the 2007 World Championships, she earned a bronze medal in the 10,000m. Since then she has run two marathon and posted as many third place finishes: a USA debut record of 2:25:53 at the ING New York City Marathon last November, and a 2:32:25 in a strategic race at the Boston Marathon last April.

Goucher had to contend with one odd difficulty in today's race: an unregistered male runner who ran ahead of her until leaving the course with about 5 kilometers to go.

"I felt like I could run in the 68-68 minute range," Goucher told the Associated Press. "The race was great. It was awesome to be the first finisher and I wanted to enjoy the crowd."

No American woman has ever won a world marathon title. The only USA women's marathon medalist at a world championships was Marianne Dickerson who took the silver medal at the first world championships in Helsinki in1983.

Goucher runs the world championships race on Aug. 23.

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