Marathoner Adriana (Pirtea) Nelson Cleared to Compete for USA

By David Monti
June 2, 2011

(c) 2011 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

(02-Jun) -- Romanian-born marathoner Adriana (Pirtea) Nelson has been cleared by the IAAF to compete for the United States in 2012, according to a statement released yesterday by general secretary Pierre Weiss.  The decision reverses the global governing body's stance on Nelson as reported in Monday's issue of IAAF News which said Nelson would not be eligible to represent the United States until 2014.

"We have studied the situation of this athlete," Weiss wrote in an e-mail obtained by Race Results Weekly to the parties involved, concluding that:

 . "All the results of this athlete will be registered, from 04-Apr-2011, under USA."

  and

 . "This athlete is also eligible to compete, from 04-Apr-2012 ('reduced period'), in competitions under IAAF Rule 1.1.a.b&f with USA."

Nelson, who became a USA citizen on April 4, 2011, would normally have to wait three years to represent her new nation because she had previously competed for Romania in international competitions, including the 2005 IAAF World Half-Marathon Championships where she placed tenth.  However, the Romanian federation agreed to release Nelson early, Weiss said.

"Romania agrees on this transfer of eligibility (e-mail of Ion Buliga, General Secretary dated 27-Apr-2011)."

For Nelson, 31, who has a marathon personal best of 2:28:52, this opens up the possibility of competing in the USA Olympic Trials Marathon in Houston in January, 2012, and the London Olympics.  Jim Estes, USA Track & Field's associate director of marketing & LDR programs confirmed that Nelson could run in Houston Trials, assuming she posts a qualifying mark in accordance with USATF rules.

"It does mean that she would be eligible to compete at the Olympic Trials if she gets a qualifier," Estes wrote in an e-mail message to Race Results Weekly.

Nelson has until December 15, 2011, to post a qualifying mark.  A 2:39:00 or faster marathon will give her an "A" qualifier, allowing her to compete in the Trials and have all of her travel, housing and meal expenses paid by the Trials organizer, the Houston Marathon Committee.  A 2:46:00 or faster marathon, 1:15:00 or faster half-marathon, or 33:00.00 or faster 10,000m, will give her a "B" qualifier which only provides for an entry.

In her most recent marathon, Nelson finished seventh at the Osaka International Ladies Marathon last January in 2:32:44.  Since then, she paced through 25-K at the Yokohama Women's Marathon last February, and finished 12th at the NYC Half last March (1:12:03).

Editor's note: Pirtea is most known for blowing the 2007 Chicago marathon. Ahead for miles, she was high fiving the crowd during the final mile  and then Berhane Adere caught her. Video below

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