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Posted: September 28, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this

(RWire) Athletics: USA Women's, Masters Marathon Championships Return to Twin Cities

National Championships are part of 28th Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, Sunday, October 4; total prize purse exceeds $225,000

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - (September 21, 2009)- With three USA Marathon Championships on the line Sunday, October 4, the fields at the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon in Minnesota will be packed with the nation's top competitors. The national championship events are part of the 28th Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon that starts in downtown Minneapolis and finishes in front of the State Capitol in St. Paul.

36th USA Women's Marathon Championship
With a shot at both the women's Open and women's Masters crown, four-time Olympian Colleen De Reuck, 45, stands to take her place again on the podium. Her strong finish at the 2008 Chicago Marathon puts her atop the 2-year marathon PRs in the entire women's field. Also at the start of the USA Women's Marathon Championship, Robyn Friedman is poised for a re-match against Mary Akor, after finishing third behind Akor's first place time of 2:36:51 at Grandma's Marathon this past June. The three will also toe the line against Sally Meyerhoff, who prepped for the U.S. marathon championship with her 2009 USA 25K road title.

Of interest:
* 30 women from the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials are included in the field
* Top seed Robyn Friedman, Lambs Grove, Iowa, was a top 10 finisher from the 2008 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials
* Mary Akor has won Grandma's Marathon three consecutive years (2007-09)
* Debut marathoners include Team USA Minnesota athlete Kristin Nicolini who ran 1:12:41 at the 2009 USA Half Marathon Championship as well as Kara & Tara Storage, from Beavercreek, Ohio.
* This race will be the first and only day in 2009 for women to qualify for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials with a 2:46:00 or faster.
* Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon last hosted the USA Women's Marathon Championship in 2006, when Marla Runyan claimed the national crown in 2:32:17, and this will be the race's sixth USA Women's Marathon Championship hosting.
* The women's course record for the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon was tied, when Irina Permitina of Russia seconded the 2:26:51 time in 2004. Zinaida Semenova of Russia set that record first in 2001.
* Total prize purse for the USA Women's Championship and men's Open marathon races is $145,000, with an additional $4000 for the women's Open race in the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon.

Men's Marathon (non-championship event)
Stillwater native Luke Watson is making his debut. Watson has already qualified for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials by running a 1:03:51 half-marathon in Houston this past January. Five runners from Coon Rapids, Minn. based Duma Runners Club are seeded in the top 20. The Duma Runners are a group of Kenyan elite runners managed by William Kosgei. The men's course record was set in 1985 by Phil Coppess, who ran 2:10:05.

USA Women's Masters Marathon Championship
Defending women's masters title holder Susan Empey, who picked up the 2008 win on this course, returns as do 2008 runner-up Meghan Arbogast and 2002 third place Open woman Susannah Beck.

USA Men's Masters Marathon Championship
Dennis Simonaitis is back to defend his 2008 USA Masters crown. Paul Aufdemberge (2009 USA Masters Half-Marathon and 25K champion) and Carl Rundell (2:24, Boston 2009) will provide stiff competition in that race. Challenging for the Open masters title is Reuben Chesang (Kenya), coming off a 4th place 2:19:54 at Grandma's Marathon in June.

Last year's rainy race didn't slow some of the oldest Masters male runners. Jerry Johncock, who set a new U.S. men's 80-84 age group record at the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon last year, will return.

The USA Masters Championships prize purse totals $43,000. The USA Masters Marathon Championships have been held at the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon for the last 19 consecutive years.

This year's wheeler race brings some of the nation's greatest push-rimmers to the Twin Cities. Saul Mendoza, who set the Twin Cities Marathon course record in 1997 (1:35:03), will compete against the largest wheeler field assembled on this course, including Tony Iniguez, Tony Nogueira and Jeff Muralt. Dawna Callahan and Sandra Rush comprise the women's field. Total men's and women's wheelers prize purse is $5000.

About Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon Weekend
The Most Beautiful Urban Marathon in America® is recognized as one of the top marathons and great road races of our time and the tradition continues October 2-4. The three-day weekend celebration of fitness includes the inaugural TC 10K, a 5K run / walk, children's fun runs, pasta dinner, health and fitness expo and Medtronic TC 10 Mile, in addition to the marathon. Medtronic is the title sponsor of marathon race weekend events. Visit for more information or to register.

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