Some of American running’s biggest names are heading to Dallas on Dec. 13 for a new relay event in conjunction with the Dallas Marathon.
The Duo to Rio Relay will feature some notable stars. The 10 elite runners confirmed for the relay include Meb Keflezighi, Desiree Linden, Deena Kastor, Dathan Ritzenhein, Molly Huddle, Abdi Abdirahman, Annie Bersagel, Luke Puskedra, Jared Ward and Becky Wade.
That’s five males and five females. The relay is set up for a male to run 13.1 miles and hand off to a female to run the second half. Pairings will be announced on Dec. 11.
All 10 athletes are qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon on Feb. 13 in Los Angeles, or about nine weeks after the Duo to Rio Relay, and everybody but Huddle is expected to race in the Trials. While other elite runners are racing half marathons this month—Shalane Flanagan, Amy Hastings Cragg and Kara Goucher will be at Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio this weekend—these runners are finding the Duo to Rio Relay to be a well-timed 13.1-mile tune-up with a unique and enjoyable format. There’s no prize money at stake.
“It will probably be a variety of different approaches among the field,” Wade told USA Today. “Maybe some people who are trying to get in a solid tempo run, some people who don’t want to take it too intensely. Some who will give a half-marathon effort.”
The relay teams will run the marathon course, which is looped in certain areas. That will allow participants to pass the elites multiple times.