Top 3 at the USA Olympic Marathon Trials, from right: Meb Keflezighi, Ryan Hall and Abdi Abdirahman (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News Indianapolis, USA

London-bound Abdirahman and Goucher take US Half Marathon titles

2012 Olympic Marathon team members Abdi Abdirahman and Kara Goucher lived up to their pre-race favourite status, taking the respective men’s and women’s titles at Saturday’s (16) USA Half Marathon Championships in Duluth, Minnesota.

Abdirahman scored his tenth USA road title in 1:02:46, while Goucher took her second in a course record 1:09:46. This was the third time the Gary Bjorklund Half Marathon has hosted the women’s championship and the first time the event hosted the men’s.

Under ideal conditions, a field of 99 men started the day of racing with Abdirahman leading a large group through the mile in 4:37. At three miles, Abdirahman and Brett Gotcher (Flagstaff, Ariz.) broke away from the field and looked to be setting up a two man race for the title.

Over the next six miles, Abdirahman opened a small lead over Gotcher but couldn’t seem to manage a decisive breakaway. At the same time, a chase pack that included Ian Burrell Michael Eaton and Tim Ritchie was steadily making up ground on Abdirahman and Gotcher.

By 10 miles, Burrell had managed to break away from Eaton and Ritchie and joined Abdirahman and Gotcher, and even managed to take a brief turn in the lead. The move served to jumpstart the tempo with Abdirahman surging to the lead again at 11 miles. Burrell lost contact as Abdirahman and Gotcher began the duel to the finish.

Over the final mile, Abdirahman regained his slight edge over Gotcher and hit the line for a three second win. Gotcher was timed in 1:02:49 as Burrell closed slightly to finish a strong third in 1:02:51.

The women’s race started with 69 entrants but quickly became a three woman race as Lindsey Scherf pressed the pace with Goucher and Maegan Krifchin. The race would soon turn into a duel between Goucher and Krifchin as Scherf began to fade, eventually finishing in 10th-place.

After passing 10 km together in 33:23, Goucher started to increase the tempo and by 10 miles, the hometown favorite enjoyed a 19 second lead. Over the final miles, Goucher would extend her lead to over a minute on her way to a course record. Krifchin finished in 1:10:56 as Michelle Frey worked her way through the field to finish third in 1:11:45.

USATF for the IAAF