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
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
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.