June 4: RRW: National Champions Sara Hall, Serena Burla Lead Freihofer’s Run For Women Entries

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By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2016 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

(25-May) — As organizers announced previously, it will be an all-American edition of the Freihofer’s Run for Women in Albany, N.Y., and previous national champions Sara Hall and Serena Burla lead the race’s elite entry list.  The 38th edition of the 5 km road race, held in the capital city of New York State, will take place on Saturday, June 4.

Sara Hall before the 2014 USA 12-K Road Running Championships (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)

Sara Hall before the 2014 USA 12-K Road Running Championships (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)

The versatile Hall, 33, has bounced back quickly from her DNF at the USA Olympic Trials Marathon last February in Los Angeles.  The 2012 USA cross country champion ran a personal best 2:30:06 at the Virgin Money London Marathon last April, finishing 12th.  She recovered quickly and just last Friday finished fourth at the Hoka One One Middle Distance Classic 5000m last Friday in 15:28.25, her best time at that distance in over five years.

Burla, also 33, was the USA half-marathon champion in 2014.  A marathon specialist, she has a personal best of 2:28:01, a remarkable feat for an athlete who had radical cancer surgery on her right leg in 2010.  She finished eighth at Freihofer’s last year and was the top American.

“It’s really nice to be able to back our American athletes and have a U.S. runner win the race again,” said longtime event director George Regan, through a statement.  “We have a rich history of being supportive of our U.S. distance runners and have hosted 25 national championships at both the 5-K and 10-K distances since the event’s inception in 1979.”

Other athletes signed for the race by elite athlete coordinator John Tope, include 2013 USA 20-K champion Meghan Peyton, 2016 USA Half-Marathon Championships third place finisher Brianne Nelson, 2011 NCAA 10,000m champion Juliet Bottorff, 2015 Pan Am Games Marathon silver medalist Lindsay Flanagan, and 2016 USA Olympic Trials Marathon seventh place finisher Maegan Krifchin.

“It is exciting to once again feature top American athletes at Freihofer’s,” said Tope. “The depth of the field and the participation of so many American Distance Project Teams –our main distance running development support here in the U.S.– will make for a very interesting race on June 4th.”

The event, which last year had 3194 finishers, offers a $28,500 prize money purse for USA athletes, only.  The race winner will receive $10,000.

In 1989, 1990 and 1993 through 2004, the Freihofer’s Run for Women served as the USA 5-K road running championships for women.  The race was opened up to foreign athletes in 2005, and the national championships went to the CVS Health Downtown 5-K in Providence, R.I.  Although not a national championships this year, event director Regan decided to emphasize USA athletes again this year in part, he told local media, because it’s an Olympic year. Last year’s winner –Emily Chebet of Kenya, who also won in 2010 and 2013– was banned for four years last July for doping.

“We’ve hosted the world’s best athletes for the last 10 years,” Regan told the Albany Times Union on May 11. “We’re going to go back to our roots. This is where we started in 1979, when this event started with an AAU women’s national championship at the 10-kilometer distance. This is the event’s history. It is the event’s tradition.”


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