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Posted: December 8, 2016:  

Athletics: Clara (Grandt) Santucci Signs with Elite Runner Management

Clara (Grandt) Santucci, former four-time All-American at West Virginia University, two-time Pittsburgh Marathon champion, and 2:29 marathoner has signed an agency contract with Elite Runner Management, the Michigan based sports agency headed by Christopher Mengel.

"Clara Santucci is a gifted runner who has had a sparkling career. Her race results under the watchful eye of her long-time coach, Sean Cleary of WVU, speak for themselves," said Mengel. "Since her marathon debut when she burst onto the national scene in Boston five years ago, Clara has proven time and again that she is one of the most talented and competitive long distance runners in the United States. We anticipate even greater accomplishments as her career progresses heading into next year and the next Olympic cycle. ERM is excited with the prospect of representing Clara and we are extremely pleased that she signed with our agency."

Track & Field News has ranked Santucci as one of the top 10 marathoners in the United States 4 out of the last 5 years. Among her numerous accomplishments, Santucci has two top ten finishes in World Marathon Major Championships, including a 5th place finish in the 2014 Chicago Marathon. She won back-to-back victories in the Pittsburgh Marathon in 2014 and 2015 and finished 7th at the US Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston in 2012. In 2014, Santucci represented the United States in the IAAF World Half-Marathon Championships in Copenhagen.

In 2016, after taking a DNF at the US Olympic Trials in Los Angeles due to a hamstring injury, Santucci quickly rebounded and finished 3rd at the USATF 25K Championships in Grand Rapids (River Bank), finished 3rd at Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, MN in June, and was the champion of both the Charleston Distance Run (15 miles) and Morgantown Marathon in September in her native state of West Virginia.

Santucci is confident that ERM is the right fit for her and her career. "Once I met Chris at some races and started to learn more about Elite Runner Management, I was impressed with the organization, his knowledge, and his desire to help athletes like me," Santucci said. "I felt I had been presented with an opportunity to improve my career. Chris expressed a belief in me and my future that is at the core of what makes most agency relationships work. I look forward to working with Chris and am optimistic that our partnership together will be very successful."

As to her immediate future, Santucci, who is presently sponsored by Saucony, said that she "looks forward to running faster and placing higher" in some big events in 2017. "I plan to take a short break at the end of this year to rebuild after a long push in training and racing since healing the hamstring in March. During the break, Sean and I will sit down to choose races and set goals moving forward. One of the big goals in 2017 is to qualify for the World Championships."

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