INDIANAPOLIS - 2008 Olympians Dathan Ritzenhein (Portland, Ore.) and Amy Yoder Begley (Portland, Ore.) will lead a strong U.S. contingent at the 18th IAAF World Half Marathon Championships on October 11, in Birmingham, UK.
Ritzenhein and Begley are both coming off of an impressive track season which saw Ritzenhein finish sixth at the World Championships 10,000 meters, eleven days before going on to set a new American record of 12:56.27 for 5,000 meters. Begley, the 2009 USA champion at 10,000 meters went on to finish sixth in the women's 10,000 at the Berlin World Championships and won last weekend's USA 5 km Championships in Providence, R.I.
The U.S. squad for Birmingham will also include several of the top up and coming American distance runners, giving Team USA an outstanding chance for a team medal in both the men's and women's events.
The men's team will also include recent USA 20 km champion Brett Gotcher (Flagstaff, Ariz.). Gotcher has competed for Team USA on several occasions, including in 2003 when he won the gold medal in the 10,000 meters at the Pan American Junior Championships.
Ritzenhein and Gotcher will join forces with 2008 USA 15 km champion Andrew Carlson (Flagstaff, Ariz.); Scott Bauhs (Chico, Calif.), a multiple NCAA Division II Track & Cross Country All-American at Chico State who finished fifth at the 20 km championships; and James Carney (Boulder, Colo.), a past U.S. champion at 20 km and the half marathon.
Joining Begley will be Desiree Davila (Rochester Hills, Mich.), who has had an outstanding summer of her own, running a personal best 2:27:53 to finish 11th in the World Championships marathon last month. Rounding out the team will be Serena Burla (Baldwin, Mo.), the runner-up at the recent USA 20 km Championships; along with Amy Hastings (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) and Elva Dryer (Gunnison, Colo.), who finished fifth and seventh respectively at the 20 km Championships to earn their berths on the team.
A total of $245,000 will be offered in prize money, with $30,000 going to the individual champions and $15,000 to the respective men's and women's team champions. The top finish for a U.S. team at this event came last year in Rio de Janeiro where the Team USA women finished fourth. The best team finish for a U.S. men's team was sixth in both 2005 and 2006.
For more information on Team USA at the 2009 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships, visit USATF.org
About USA Track & Field
USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the #1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States.
For more information on USATF, USATF.org