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Olympic Medallists Deena Kastor and Meb Keflezighi to Run at Gate River Run 15k US Champs Next Month
(c) 2007 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
February 16, 2007

Deena Kastor and Meb Keflezighi will try to win their respective U.S. 15-K titles --and beat each other-- at the 30th running of the Gate River Run in Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday, March 10, organizers announced yesterday.

Kastor and Keflezighi, both of whom live and train in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., will be competing against each other in the Equalizer division of the race.  The elite women will start five minutes ahead of the men and the first athlete to cross the finish line will receive a bonus of $5,000 on top of the winner's check of $12,000.  Since the race introduced the Equalizer division in 2004, Keflezighi has won it twice, in 2004 and 2006.

Kastor, who celebrated her 34th birthday yesterday, will be trying for her fifth Gate River Run title.  She is currently tied with Lynn Jennings for the most victories at this event with four, and set the American 15-K record at Jacksonville in 2003 with her 47:14.2 clocking.  Keflezighi, 31, will be trying for his sixth Gate River Run title; he is currently tied with Todd Williams with five.

While Kastor recently demonstrated her fitness at the U.S. Cross Country Championships last Saturday in Bouder, Colo., where she won by more than a minute, Keflezighi looked more tentative in his only competitive outing so far this year.  At the U.S. Half-Marathon Championships in Houston, Tex., Keflezighi finished third behind Ryan Hall and Fasil Bizuneh.  Hall set a North American record in Houston of 59:43, and he also plans to run the Gate River Run, according to the organizers.  He is sure to be Keflezighi's biggest hurdle to attaining his sixth title and defeating Kastor for the Equalizer bonus.

Two-time Olympian Jen Rhines will compete against Kastor in the women's division.  Like Keflezighi, Rhines bypassed the U.S. Cross Country Championships.  Her most recent race was a third place finish in the 3000m at the Millrose Games (9:02.91), a solid effort on the tiny 145.5m Madison Square Garden track.  Rhines's husband, Terrence Mahon, is Kastor's coach.

A total prize money purse of $65,000 will be on the line in Jacksonville.

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