USA Track and Field and Grandma's Marathon officials announced yesterday that Duluth will host the 2012 and 21013 USA Half Marathon Championships for men and women.
The races, to be run in conjunction with the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon on June 16, 2012 and June 22, 2013,will offer a record prize purse for a USA Half Marathon Championships -- an $82,000 purse between the two races, including $12,000 for the men's and women's champions.
"We are excited to have Duluth play host to our USA Half Marathon Championships in 2012 and 2013," USATF CEO Doug Logan said in a media release. "We look forward to working with the Grandma's Marathon to deliver what promises to be two great events in the city that will highlight the talents of our best runners."
Duluth last hosted a USA Championship event in 2004, when Deena Kastor won one of two coconsecutive USA Women's Half Marathon Championships hosted in Duluth. In 2003, Colleen De Rueck ran 1:10:00, the fastest women's time on the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon course.
Grandma's Marathon also hosted USA Marathon Championships in 1987, 1990, and 1994.
"We could not be more elated to receive the bid for these events. Our proposal was an aggressive one, as our staff and board members believe this is an opportune time to invest the resources necessary to attract these premier running races to northeastern Minnesota," Scott Keenan, executive director of Grandma's Marathon said. "We are excited to showcase the city of Duluth and its unparalleled hospitality to the country's best half marathon runners."
The Duluth News-Tribune's Kevin Pates wrote THIS story about the announcement.
Pates noted that registration for the 2010 Grandma's Marathon will remain open until June 1. So far, 6882 participants have signed up for the race.
Registration for this year's Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon is closed -- a record 6772 athletes have signed up for the race.