- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 11, 2007

Olympians Alan Culpepper and Deena Kastor topped two of the most competitive fields at the USA Cross Country Championships yesterday in Boulder, Colo.

Yesterday’s races — including the open men’s 12K, women’s 8K, junior men’s 8K and junior women’s 6K — also served as the trials race to select Team USA for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Mombasa, Kenya on March 24. There also were masters 8K races for both men and women.

Cross country championships universally are known as some of the most competitive running races, throwing the best marathoners, 10K road runners and track stars into one race.

In the 12K, Culpepper, from nearby Lafayette, broke before 10 kilometers from a three-pack with Adam Goucher and Dathan Ritzenhein for a 26-second triumph in 37:09 over the six 2K loops. Goucher was the runner-up in 37:35, 12 seconds ahead of Ritzenhein.

Ritzenhein was the favorite in an unofficial poll taken by Web site Letsrun.com, with Goucher picked to finish second and Culpepper fifth. On the women’s side, the poll proved more accurate, correctly predicting the top four in order.

Kastor, who trains at altitude at Mammoth Lakes, Calif., dominated the women’s 8K, with a 61-second victory over the sea-level-trained Shalane Flanagan, who two weeks ago broke the American indoor 3,000-meter record. Kastor finished yesterday’s race in 26:47. Kara Goucher, Adam’s wife, was third in 28:01 with Lauren Fleshman fourth, 25 seconds back.

Get your computer ready — The New York Road Runners plan to make an announcement tomorrow at the weekly New York Track Writers luncheon that lottery applications for the Nov. 4 marathon will go live on the marathon Web site at noon tomorrow, according to sources close to the New York City Marathon.

The Web site is ingnycmarathon.org.

Applications for the lottery from applicants with a U.S. address will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. June 1, and the drawing will be in mid-June. Applications from international lottery applicants and all applicants eligible for guaranteed entry will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. May 1; the international lottery drawing is in May.

More than 93,000 people — a record number — applied to the 2006 event, and the race had its largest field ever with nearly 38,000 finishers.

Presidential race — Next weekend’s classic race is the 31st George Washington Birthday Classic 10K in Alexandria, a staple of the winter racing season. The event benefits the Alexandria Police Youth Camp.

The race — scheduled for Saturday at 8:30 a.m. — features a USA Track & Field-certified course that is flat and fast, beginning and ending at the AMC Hoffman Center Theater on Eisenhower Avenue. The course travels along the Eisenhower Valley and through Alexandria’s parklands. It is the first race in the 2007 RacePacket Grand Prix Series and the Pacers Spring Racing Series.

Of course, this race is always at the mercy of the weather. In 2005, it snowed the night before the race.

For the record — Olympic medals are for keeps, but records aren’t. Just ask Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie, who returned his half-marathon world record to Kenya’s Sammy Wanjiru.

Gebrselassie ran 58:55 in Phoenix on Jan. 15, 2006, breaking Wanjiru’s record. But Wanjiru ran two seconds faster on Friday at the Ras Al Khaimah International Half Marathon in the United Arab Emirates, with the record pending the usual ratification.

On television — You can watch Allyson Felix break the American 300-meter record from Friday’s Tyson Invitational today at 1 p.m. on ESPN2.

Felix, the 2004 Olympic 200-meter silver medalist in her first meet of the season, ran the fifth-fastest time ever in 36.33 seconds, which betters the previous U.S. standard of 36.67 set three weeks ago by Hampton freshman Francena McCorory.

The cross country nationals also will be part of the broadcast.

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