Top Americans Ready For Half Championships

It will be Abdi versus Meb in the men's race.

It will be Abdi versus Meb in the men’s race.

Running USA has posted a recent article about the upcoming U.S. Half Marathon Championships in Duluth, Minn. Not surprisingly, the startlist is full of Olympians. For starters, the 2004 silver medalist in the marathon, Meb Keflezighi, will be there this weekend as well as Abdi Abdirahman, who has also worn the Team USA jersey.

Prestige aside, there is also cash on the line. A total of $84,000 is up for grabs with $12,000 going to the top male and female runner.

Keflezighi, who is 38 years old, took fourth at the 2012 Olympic Marathon in London. His half-marathon PR stands at 1:01:00, which he set at the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon in 2009. Meanwhile, the 36-year-old Abdirahman is the defending U.S. Champion.

On the women’s side, reigning champion Kara Goucher will not return to defend her title, as she’s competing in the 10,000m final at the U.S. Track and Field championships on Thursday night. The top contenders include Olympian Desire Davila, who will be running her second race back from a stress fracture that forced her to drop out of last summer’s Olympic Marathon. Sub-1:11 runner Stephanie Rothstein-Bruce of Flagstaff, Ariz., will also be in the mix, as will Mattie Suver, who was top American at the Oakley Mini 10K in New York earlier this month, ahead of Rothstein anf Davila. Sub-2:30 marathoner Renee Metivier Baille is making her 13.1-mile debut and also expected to contend for the win.

Duluth has a proud history of hosting these championships. The city held the 2003 and 2004 Women’s Half Marathon Championships. Additionally, it has put on three U.S. Women’s Marathon Championships (1987, 1990, 1994). All three were part of the annual Grandma’s Marathon.