Braun, Eggleston Lead Field At Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half

Elite runners will try to qualify for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.

Elite runners will try to qualify for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.

Several top American distance runners will tackle the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon on Sunday as they attempt to earn qualifying times for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.

Leading the field is 27-year-old Aaron Braun, the runner-up at the U.S. Half Marathon Championships in January. Braun clocked a time of 1 hour, 1 minute, 38 seconds at that event, held in conjunction with the Houston Half Marathon. In 2013, Braun was the U.S. 12K national champion.

Joining Braun on the roads will be six strong Americans: Jeffrey Eggleston, Ahmed Osman, Craig Curley, Bolota Asmerom, Brett Hales and Andy Wacker.

Eggleston has enjoyed a solid season, which has included a victory at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon and an eighth-place result at the Boston Marathon. At July’s Gold Coast Marathon in Australia, Eggleston recorded a personal best 2:10:52 en route to a second-place finish.

Osman and Curley both ran their half marathon PRs at the U.S. Half Marathon Championships, with times of 1:03:02 and 1:03:27, respectively.

On the women’s side, Lauren Kleppin of the Mammoth Track Club leads the charge with the fastest PR in the field at 1:10:16—which she set at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in March.

Kleppin will be challenged by a trio of fast Americans: Renee Metivier Baillie, Kellyn Johnson and Kristen Zaitz.

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Metivier Baillie won the 2012 USATF 20K championship and was the top American in the Chicago Marathon that year, clocking a 2:27:17. Johnson, the reigning U.S. 25K champion, owns a half marathon PR of 1:11:51. Zaitz has run 1:12:57 in the half and was the first U.S. female in the 2013 Boston Marathon.

“Our focus on supporting, promoting and rewarding athletes trying to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials will be front and center at Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose,” said Tracy Sundlun, SVP of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series. “In 2012, 89 of the 348 men and women (25.6%) who qualified for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials ran qualifying marks at Rock ‘n’ Roll events, and 69 of them (19.8%) did so for the first time. We are committed to making sure that our events deliver the absolute best experience to every one of our elite participants.”

Race weekend also includes a 5K on Saturday and a 10K on Sunday.

Former NFL running back Roger Craig will toe the line as well. He was one of the founders of the event and has run 15 half marathons and 13 marathons.

“The event brings the entire community together in a positive way and offers a welcoming atmosphere that encourages people of all shapes and abilities to make it to the finish line,” said Craig, a three-time Super Bowl champion with the San Francisco 49ers. “This year I’m looking forward to taking on the Remix Challenge by running the 5K on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday. It’s going to be an incredible weekend.”