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Kara Goucher Wins U.S. Half Champs

Abdi Abdirahman prevailed in the men's race.

Olympian Abdi Abdirahman prevailed in the men’s race.

From: Running USA

DULUTH, Minn. — Olympians Abdi Abdirahman (Tucson, Ariz.) and Kara Goucher (Portland, Ore.) lived up to their pre-race favorite status, taking the respective men’s and women’s titles at Saturday’s USA Half Marathon Championships in Duluth, Minnesota. Abdirahman, 35, scored his tenth USA road title in 1 hour, 2 minutes, 46 seconds, while Goucher, 33, took her second crown in a course record 1:09:46. This was the third time the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon has hosted the women’s national championship and the first time the event hosted the men’s.

Under ideal conditions, a field of 99 men started the day of racing with Abdirahman leading a large group through the mile in 4:37. At three miles, Abdirahman and Brett Gotcher (Flagstaff, Ariz.) broke away from the field and looked to be setting up a two-man race for the title.

Over the next six miles, Abdirahman opened a small lead over Gotcher but couldn’t seem to manage a decisive breakaway. At the same time, a chase pack that included Ian Burrell (Tucson, Ariz.), Michael Eaton (Louisville, Ky.) and Tim Ritchie (Brighton, Mass.) was steadily making up ground on Abdirahman and Gotcher.

By 10 miles, Burrell had managed to break away from Eaton and Ritchie and joined Abdirahman and Gotcher, and even managed to take a brief turn in the lead. The move served to jumpstart the tempo with Abdirahman surging to the lead again at 11 miles. Burrell lost contact as Abdirahman and Gotcher began the duel to the finish.

Over the final mile, Abdirahman regained his slight edge over Gotcher and hit the line for a three-second win. Gotcher was timed in 1:02:49 as Burrell closed slightly to finish a strong third in 1:02:51.

The women’s race started with 69 entrants but quickly became a three woman race as Lindsey Scherf (Fayetteville, N.C.) pressed the pace with Goucher and Maegan Krifchin (Dewitt, N.Y.). The 13.1 mile road race would soon turn into a duel between Goucher and Krifchin as Scherf began to fade, eventually finishing in 10th place.

After passing 10K together in 33:23, Goucher started to increase the tempo and by 10 miles, the hometown favorite enjoyed a 19-second lead. Over the final miles, the 2007 World Championships 10,000m bronze medalist would extend her lead to over a minute on her way to a course record (old mark, 1:10:00, Colleen De Reuck, 2003) and the second fastest ever for this national championship. Krifchin finished runner-up, clocking a 1:10:56 as Michelle Frey (Minneapolis, Minn.) worked her way through the field to finish third in 1:11:45.

The event paid out $107,500 with nearly $80,000 guaranteed in national championship prize money plus time bonus monies. The national champions – Abdirahman and Goucher – took home $13,250 and $14,000 respectively.

Video highlights of the USA Half Marathon Championships are available at in cooperation with

22nd Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon: USA Championships
Duluth, MN, Saturday, June 16, 2012

1) Abdi Abdirahman (AZ), 1:02:46, $13,250
2) Brett Gotcher (AZ), 1:02:49, $9250
3) Ian Burrell (AZ), 1:02:51, $6250
4) Michael Eaton (KY), 1:03:16, $5000
5) Tim Ritchie (MA), 1:03:57, $4000
6) Mike Morgan (MI), 1:04:08, $2750
7) Jason Hartmann (CO), 1:04:18, $2250
8) Patrick Rizzo (CO), 1:04:20, $1750
9) Nick Arciniaga (AZ), 1:04:26, $1550
10) Michael Reneau (MN), 1:04:37, $1450
11) Matt Gabrielson (MN), 1:04:42, $1250
12) Joe Moore (MN), 1:04:43, $1000
13) Jimmy Grabow (CA), 1:04:53, $750
14) Zachary Hine (CO), 1:05:01, $500
15) Scott Wietecha (TN), 1:05:02, $500
16) Craig Curley (AZ), 1:05:10, $500
17) Jeremy Criscione (FL), 1:05:12, $500
18) Stephan Shay (CA), 1:05:16, $500
19) Josh Moen (MN), 1:05:25, $500
20) Ricky Flynn (VA), 1:05:28, $500
21) Jason Ordway (OH), 1:05:29, $500
22) Matthew Llano (MN), 1:05:38, $500
23) Tyler Sigl (WI), 1:05:48, $500

1) Kara Goucher (OR), 1:09:46*, $14,000
2) Maegan Krifchin (NY), 1:10:56, $9500
3) Michelle Frey (MN), 1:11:45, $6250
4) Melissa Johnson-White (MI), 1:12:05, $5000
5) Alvina Begay (AZ), 1:12:25, $4000
6) Emily Brown (MN), 1:12:44, $3000
7) Wendy Thomas (CO), 1:12:56, $2500
8) Jeannette Faber (OR), 1:13:27, $1750
9) Stephanie Pezzullo (NC), 1:13:43, $1550
10) Lindsey Scherf (NC), 1:14:03, $1200
11) Sheri Piers, 41, ME, 1:14:19, $1000
12) Brianne Nelson (CO), 1:14:29, $750
13) Nuta Olaru, 41, CO, 1:14:43, $500
14) Erin Vergara (IN), 1:14:45, $500
15) Mattie Suver (WY), 1:14:49, $500
*course record (previous record, 1:10:00, Colleen De Reuck (CO), 2003)

For complete results and more, go to: