Olympian Kara Goucher to Run Rock ‘n’ Roll Portland Half Marathon

From Press Release, Courtesy Running USA wire 42-05-12 –

Olympian Kara Goucher will lead a sold out field of nearly 14,000 runners though the streets of East Portland for the first running of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Portland Half Marathon on Sunday, May 20. The inaugural event will kick off Portland’s celebrated Rose Festival, with 20 live bands performing on 14 entertainment stages positioned along the route.

“I’m looking forward to running the first edition of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Portland Half-Marathon in my adopted hometown,” said Goucher, who trains locally with the Oregon Track Club and will host a clinic at the Health & Fitness Expo on Friday at 1:00pm. “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.”

Goucher made history as first American ever to medal in the women’s 10,000 meters, taking home the bronze medal at the 2007 World Championships. Throughout her career she has proven that she can perform on the world’s biggest stages with podium finishes at major marathons in Boston and New York City, including her third place performance at the 2008 ING New York Marathon that marked the first time in 14 years an American woman finished in the top three at New York.

Goucher, 33, who has a half-marathon best time of 1 hour, 6 minutes, 57 seconds, most recently finished third at January’s U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials to earn a spot on the team representing the United States in London this summer. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Portland Half Marathon will be Goucher’s second half-marathon since the Trials, finishing third at the NYC Half in March with a time of 69:13. It was the fifth time in Goucher’s career that she has run under 70 minutes for the half-marathon. She made her U.S. half-marathon debut at the 2009 Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon, placing first overall in 1:08:05, almost twenty seconds ahead of the first male finisher.

“Kara loves the Rock ‘n’ Roll events and to have one on her doorstep I don’t think we could have kept her away,” said Matt Turnbull, Elite Athlete Coordinator for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series. “Without a doubt she is one of American’s most talented distance runners and this event fits in just right with her Olympic preparations. I believe her home town race is the perfect send off for a successful summer in London.”

Leading the men’s field on Sunday in Portland will be a pair of Olympic Marathon Trials qualifiers from Oregon, Sage Canaday of Sheridan and Ryan Bak of Bend. Canaday, formerly a member of the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project in Rochester Hills, Michigan, sports a 1:04:32 half-marathon personal best, set at Rock ‘n’ Roll Mardi Gras in 2011.

The 26-year-old Cornell grad is a two-time Olympic Trials qualifier and has recently turned his attention to ultrarunning. Bak, 30, finished fifth at last weekend’s USA 25K Championships, and has set personal bests for 15K and 10 miles so far this year. He finished 23rd at January’s U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston, running 2:15:12.

“Portland is a beautiful city with a strong local running community and this course was designed with the runner experience in mind. I truly believe it’s the best course the area has to offer, given the unique layout of the city,” said two-Olympian Alan Culpepper, the event Operations Director, who designed the 13.1-mile course. “The route offers an abundance of scenic water views with crossing both the Hawthorne and Steel bridges, showcasing the amazing East Portland neighborhoods, as well as passing Chapman and Lownsdale Squares highlighting the very best of the City of Roses.”

The race will begin at 8:00am on Sunday morning on Naito Parkway, adjacent to Portland’s scenic Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Both the start and finish line venues are located at the Waterfront Park, alongside the Willamette River and the city’s downtown core. After a short tour of downtown, runners will enjoy the first of two bridge crossings as they head to east Portland. There participants will experience an eclectic mix of Portland neighborhoods, gorgeous Laurelhurst Park and a wonderful downhill finish heading back towards the downtown skyline on Lloyd Blvd. After the final crossing on the iconic Steel Bridge, runners finish back at the Waterfront Park on Naito Parkway at the corner of Salmon Street.

A free two-day Health and Fitness Expo will kickoff event weekend on Friday, May 18 at the Oregon Convention Center. The expo is free and open to the public featuring the latest health and nutrition information with a variety of products for sample and sale, as well as a series of interactive fitness clinics. Race weekend festivities conclude with a finish line concert featuring Kevin Rudolf located in Tom McCall Waterfront Park. For more information, visit: Competitor.com


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