Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Team USA Happy with Las Vegas Tune-Ups

“All things considered, I’d qualify the race as a successful tune-up.”

That was how Team USA Minnesota's Jason Lehmkuhle summed up his third-place finish at Saturday's Zappos.com Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon. The road racing veteran, whose current training is pointed toward January's U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials, ran 1:03:37.

“Like many of the guys in the field, I definitely felt some of the accumulated marathon training in my legs, but the goal going in was just to remind my body of the feeling of racing and getting a hard effort in," Lehmkuhle, the 5th-place finisher at the 2008 Marathon Trials, said.

Teammate Matt Gabrielson, who also has the Marathon Trials in his cross-hairs, finished 5th in the race in 1:04:19. The women's column of the Team USA Minnesota roster was successful as well, with Katie McGregor and Meghan Peyton finishing 3rd and 7th, respectively.

Sean Houseworth of Colorado won the men's race in 1:03:12; former Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon champion Jason Hartmann, also of Colorado, was runner-up in 1:03:34.

“The race itself was a pretty amazing experience," Lehmkuhle added. "Racing down the middle of Las Vegas Boulevard at night is something I won’t soon forget.”

McGregor’s time of 1:11:45 established a new personal best for the 2010 USA Running Circuit champion. Peyton posted a 1:14:57. The two are also training for the marathon trials where Peyton will be making her debut in the distance.

“I know I still have a lot of work to do but I am satisfied with a PR,” McGregor said. “It shows me that I am moving in the right direction. Benita [Willis] took the race out hard. I never checked my splits so I am not sure what pace we were running but Amy [Hastings] and I worked our way up to her in the first mile."

Willis won the race in a course record 1:10:40; Hastings was runner-up in 1:11:22.

“I was basically keying off those two, so I didn’t really ever lead the race," McGregor said. "I stayed with them until around 7 or 8 miles. The course was a slight downhill going out, then made a bunch of turns for a few miles before heading back to the Strip. It was slightly uphill on the way back with a little headwind.”

Find complete results of the race HERE.

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