Thursday, December 01, 2011

What Happens in Vegas ...

... could matter in Houston for Team USA Minnesota's marathoners.

Four Team USA Minnesota distance runners – Jason Lehmkuhle, Matt Gabrielson, Katie McGregor, and Meghan Peyton – will compete at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon on Sunday as part of their preparations for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials to be held in Houston in January.

The Sin City event is a popular destination for American marathon hopefuls looking to tune-up for the Trials The race, held in conjunctions with the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Marathon, boasts fields that include former Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon champion Jason Hartmann, former Team USA Minnesotan Patrick Smyth, and James Carney among men and Amy Hastings, Kathy Newberry, and Alvina Begay among women.

(Britain's Kathy Butler, and former world cross country champion Benita Willis of Australia are also entered in the race.)

Team USA Minnesota's Lehmkuhle, who was fifth at the men’s marathon trials for the 2008 Olympics, has a half marathon best of 1:02:32. Earlier this fall, he placed second at the USA 20K Championships in New Haven, won the Ohme 30K in Japan last February, and posted 2:13:40 at the London Marathon in April.

Gabrielson has run 1:03:43 in the half marathon distance. During 2011, he set a personal best in the marathon of 2:13:28 at Grandma’s Marathon and was fifth at the USA 25K Championships last May. Most recently he was fourth at the Manchester Road Race on Thanksgiving Day.

McGregor has a best in the half marathon of 1:12:01. This year she finished second in the USA Running Circuit, won the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon in June, was fourth at the USA Half Marathon Championships and at the USA 10 Mile Championships, and second at the USA Women’s 10K Championship.

Peyton’s half marathon best is 1:13:43 which qualified her for the trials in January where she will make her marathon debut. Her competitions this fall have included seventh at the USA 20K Championships, fifth at the USA 5K Championships, sixth at the USA 10 Mile Championships and fifth at the NYRR Dash to the Finish Line 5K. She also was second at the Manchester Road Race.

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