America’s Finest Half Marathon Set For Sunday

Americans are hoping to qualify for the U.S. Marathon Trials there.

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Photo: Race Results Weekly

Americans are hoping to qualify for the U.S. Marathon Trials there.

By David Monti (c) 2011 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

America’s premiere summer half-marathon, the America’s Finest City Half-Marathon, will be held tomorrow in San Diego for the 34th time. The race sold out in June with 8300 entrants, and the accompanying 5-K recorded 1600 entrants, according to long-time race director, Neil Finn.

“Weather on Sunday looks to be ideal,” said Finn in an e-mail to Race Results Weekly. “Cloudy, low 60’s at the start with mid to upper 60’s at the finish.”

The focus of the event on the competitive side with be the 65-minute mark which qualifies American men for the USA Olympic Marathon Trials next January in Houston. Unlike in previous years, half-marathon marks are accepted as “A” qualifiers this year, which means athletes will have all of their travel and lodging expenses paid by the Houston organizers.

Finn said that “a slew of Americans” will line up to try to get that mark. “The certified AFC Half-Marathon course has an elevation loss of 1.6 m/km, well under the trials course standard of less than 3.25 m/km,” Finn pointed out.

The race has a competitive international men’s field led by Kenyans Benard Langat and Weldon Kirui, Ethiopian Tesfaye Sendeku, and Americans Justin Young and Christian Hesch. On the women’s side, Finn expects a spirited race in the masters division with Americans Joanne Zeiger, Erica Baron, Kerry Camberg and Susan Loken all competing.

The race follows a point-to-point course from near Cabrillo National Monument to Pan American Plaza in Balboa Park. The course records are 1:02:24 by Kenyan Peter Githuka set in 2000, and 1:10:28 run by Ethiopian Belainesh Gebre last year.