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Multiple U.S. Titles Up For Grabs Next Weekend

Former champions Cabada, Ponomarenko returning to Minnesota.

From: Running USA

Four separate USA Championships will be contested when the starting horn sounds on Sunday, October 3 for the 29th running of the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon and the 12th Medtronic TC 10 Mile.

Many of the country’s top men’s professional marathoners will race for the 2010 USA Men’s Marathon Championship, including 2008 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon champion Fernando Cabada. At the same time, the best American male and female marathoners age-40 and over will compete for the USA Masters Marathon Championships. The USA Men’s Marathon champion will earn $25,000 for his win, while the USA Masters champions will leave the State Capitol finish line $7,500 richer each.

Starting off the busy day of racing in Minneapolis and St. Paul is the USA Women’s 10 Mile Championship, held in conjunction with the Medtronic TC 10 Mile. The race will feature many of the nation’s top female distance runners as they compete for the $10,000 winner’s purse.

USA Men’s Marathon Championship
In the marathon, all eyes will focus on former race winner Fernando Cabada to see if he can become only the fourth man to win multiple Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon titles. In 2008, Cabada won Twin Cities and the USA Marathon title by battling chilling rains and top competition to win in 2 hours, 16 minutes, 32 seconds.

Cabada, 28, will face a field of emerging young marathoners vying for their own USA title. Jeffrey Eggleston of New York City looks to build on the 2:14:32 debut he made at the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in Phoenix earlier this year. He’ll likely be joined in the lead pack by Palmdale, California’s Sergio Reyes, who clocked 2:15:30 at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon last fall and Hudson, Wisconsin native Mike Reneau, who has a 2:16:20 to his credit.

Luke Watson, the Stillwater native who finished 7th at the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon last fall in 2:15:29, is the local favorite as he attempts to be the first Minnesota male native to win the state’s premier marathon. Duarte, California’s Mo Trafeh, a marathon debutante, has the shorter-distance credentials that could make him a winner — he’s the reigning USA 15K champion and has run 1:00:38 half marathon, the fifth-fastest ever run by an American. Team USA Minnesota’s Josh Moen, who finished as runner-up in last year’s USA Men’s 10 Mile Championships, could make an impact in the marathon, despite his modest 2:23:16 personal best.

USA Masters Marathon Championships
Two-time Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon champion Mbarak Hussein, 45, whose running resume glows with a 2:08:12 marathon personal best from 2004, is the favorite to win his third USA Masters Marathon crown. Despite his age, he also shouldn’t be counted out for the overall title either, as both of his previous Twin Cities wins came after he turned 40. Hussein’s Masters competition is likely to come from 42-year-old Carl Rundell of Birmingham, Michigan, last year’s USA Masters runner-up, or 44-year-old Sean Wade of Houston, Texas, who brings a 2:10:59 personal best from his younger days to the starting line.

In the women’s competition, 47-year-old Susan Loken of Phoenix will seek a fourth USA Masters title. Loken won titles on the streets between Minneapolis and St. Paul in 2005-07. Jill Boaz, 43, who was the second-place finisher and the USA champion at the 2002 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, should provide strong competition as well as top seeded Tamara Karrh, in her first year of eligibility as a Masters runner.

USA Women’s 10 Mile Championship
Five-time Medtronic TC 10 Mile champion Katie McGregor of Edina will seek the one thing that has eluded her on the course nicknamed the “Shortcut to the Capitol®” – namely, a USA title. When the USA Women’s Championship was contested at Twin Cities in 2008, McGregor finished runner-up to Duluth native Kara Goucher in her lone defeat on the familiar course.

McGregor, a six-time USA titlist in distances ranging from 10K to 25K, will face strong competition from three-time Olympian Jen Rhines of Mammoth Lakes, California, who has represented her country at the Olympics in the 5,000 meters, 10,000 meters and marathon, and Renee Metivier-Baillie, the 4th-place finisher at this year’s USA Half Marathon Championship.

Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon Open Women’s Race
Although not a USA Championship this year, the race for the women’s title at the 2010 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon should feature a battle between 2007 race champion Svetlana Ponomarenko of Russia and this year’s Grandma’s Marathon champion Bezunesh Beba of Ethiopia. Ponomorenko, now a 40-year-old, survived sauna-like temperatures to win the race 2007 in 2:34:09. Deba prevailed in Duluth last June running 2:31:35.

Other contenders for the women’s crown include Galina Alexandrova of Russia, a 2:36:20 marathoner, and Alena Vinitskaya of Belarus, 2:32:28.

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