INDIANAPOLIS - It's difficult to pick a favorite for this weekend's USA Men's Marathon Championship. As one of the most competitive U.S. men's fields outside of an Olympic Trials lines-up Sunday at the ING New York City Marathon, the field is loaded with a wide range of experience and emerging talent.
Ryan Hall (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.), sports the fastest marathon in the field (2:06:17) but Meb Keflezighi (San Diego, Calif.) has seen a return to the form that earned him an Olympic Silver medal in the marathon in 2004.
Keflezighi's year started off with a USA Half Marathon title in Houston and from there he went on to win titles at the USA Cross Country Championships, USA 7 Mile Championships as well as turning in a time of 1:01:00 half marathon to win the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in San Jose, setting a then U.S. 20 km record en route.
Hall and Keflezighi will likely have plenty of company in their race through the five-boroughs. Joining them in the hunt for the U.S. title will be Abdi Abdirahman (Tucson, Ariz.) who recently won his fourth USA 10 Mile Championship title in a championship record, 46:35. With several months of focused preparation behind him, Abdirahman says that he is better prepared for this marathon than any of his previous attempts.
2008 Olympian Brian Sell (Rochester Hills, Mich.) is reportedly making his last appearance in a major marathon but can't be overlooked as a top-five finisher given the experience that has served him well in the Big Apple before.
This year's championships could also provide a glimpse into the future of U.S. marathoners with the much anticipated debut of Jorge Torres (Boulder, Colo.), a two-time USA 8 km champion. Also stepping up to the marathon for the first time will be Josh Moen (Minneapolis, Minn.), who pushed Abdirahman to the final mile of the men's 10 mile championships earlier this month, finishing only three seconds back.
Others to watch will include Bolota Asmerom (Oakland, Calif.), Fasil Bizuneh (Flagstaff, Ariz.), Nick Arciniaga (Rochester Hills, Mich.), Jason Lehmkuhle (Minneapolis, Minn.) and Max King (Bend, Ore.).
The ING New York City Marathon will be presented live on Universalsports.com at 9 a.m. EDT.
About the USA Running Circuit
The USA Men's Marathon Championships is the final race on the 2009 USA Running Circuit (USARC). The USARC is a USA Track & Field road series, featuring USA Championships from 5 km to the marathon and attracts the best U.S. distance runners.
The USARC is a USA Track & Field road series featuring USA Championships from one mile to the marathon, which attracts the best U.S. distance runners. The 2009 USARC has ten events each for men and women. Anthony Famiglietti (Knoxville, Tenn.) currently leads the men's standings with 53 points but either Keflezighi or Abdirahman could overtake him with at least a runner-up finish on Sunday.
The first ten U.S. runners earn points at each USARC race (15 for first, 12 for second, 10 for third, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1), with a final $12,500 grand prix purse ($6,000, $4,000, and $2,500) for the top three men and women point scorers overall. The USARC points at the USA Marathon Championships will be doubled.
The mission of the USA Running Circuit is to showcase, support, and promote U.S. runners. Since its inception in 1995, the USARC and its races have provided over $6 million dollars to U.S. distance runners.
For more information on the USA Men's Marathon Championship and the 2009 USARC 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, visit USATF.org.