Half-Marathons This Weekend on Both Coasts Feature Top Americans

By David Monti, Race Results Weekly

(16-May) — Big half-marathons in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Portland, Ore., this weekend will feature top American athletes, organizers reported late yesterday.

The Brooklyn Half-Marathon, part of the New York Road Runners’ Five Borough Series, will be run on a revamped course from Prospect Park to Coney Island on Saturday.  At the front of a record field of over 15,000 runners will be USA marathon stars Jason Hartmann and Nick Arciniaga.  Hartmann, 31, of Boulder, Colo., was the top American finisher at last April’s Boston Marathon where he placed fourth.  Arciniaga, 28, of Flagstaff, Ariz., was the runner-up at the 2011 Chevron Houston Marathon.  Both men have a good chance of breaking Pat Peterson’s event record of 1:03:56 set back in 1988 when the race was held entirely in Prospect Park.

In Portland on Sunday, Olympian Kara Goucher will test her fitness for the upcoming Olympic Marathon at the inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll Portland Half-Marathon.  Goucher, 33, has been training at high altitude in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., with Oregon Track Club teammate Shalane Flanagan.

“I’m looking forward to running the first edition of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Portland Half-Marathon in my adopted hometown,” Goucher said through a statement. “This will truly be my first step towards the Olympic Games this summer and I’m excited to see where my fitness is at after training in Mammoth Lakes for five weeks. It will also be a treat for me to run alongside my community and through the beautiful neighborhoods of east Portland.”

Competitor Group Inc., the San Diego-based race management company which organizes Sunday’s event, said that the race had reached its entry cap and is sold out.  Over 13,000 runners had entered as of early April.

Participation in half-marathon races in the United States has exploded over the past five years, according to industry group Running USA.  In 2011 there were an estimated 1.6 million half-marathon finishers in the United States, up 16.2% from 2010.  In a recent report, Running USA called the half-marathon the “juggernaut distance” of American road running, the fastest-growing race distance since 2003.

PHOTO: Kara Goucher after the 2011 NYC Half (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)

(c) 2012 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved, used with permission

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