- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 23, 2008

Dan Browne was born in Portland, Ore., graduated from high school there and has since returned.

But the elite runner has many ties to the Richmond area as well. When Browne, 32, returns for the USA 10K Championships as part of Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K on April 5, he will bring memories of his time in the area.

“I completed officer basic and advanced training at [nearby] Fort Lee,” said Browne, who graduated from West Point in 1997. “I’m hoping to contact some of the people there to see if they will come out and cheer me on.”

There are family ties, too.

“My wife lived in Richmond and has done the race before,” Browne said. “It’s her favorite run. I’ve never done it before, though.”

Usually a prolific road racer, the 2004 Olympian in the marathon and 10,000 meters is running a limited schedule this year. His top goal is making the U.S. team for the Beijing Olympics in the 10,000 meters.

But this year did not start well.

Browne said he was still recovering from the Olympic Marathon trials in November in New York, where he had leg cramps late in the race, and had not practiced well recently. He said he was disappointed with his 1:05:38 effort for 17th place at the USA Half Marathon Championships in Houston on Jan. 13.

However, he felt good at the windy Gate River Run in Jacksonville, Fla., two weeks ago, running 44:21 in the 15K, nine seconds off the winning time.

His goal in Richmond: win his 17th national championship since 1998.

“Each one of those is memorable, special,” Browne said.

But it won’t be easy.

Mike McCormick, communications director for Sports Backers, a sports commission in Richmond, said: “So far we have a firm commitment from Dan Browne, Alan Culpepper and Abdi [Abdirahman]. … It’s going to be a really cool event [with a possible first prize of $10,000] that will draw luminary U.S. runners in an Olympic year.”

After Richmond, Browne said he will run the 5,000 meters at the Oregon Relays, then hope to secure the Olympic trials “A” qualifier in the 10,000 meters at the always competitive Cardinal Invitational at Stanford University on May 4. The “A” standard is 28:15, while his best is 27:38 from 2004.

The U.S. Olympic trials 10,000 meters is scheduled for July 4. The Beijing Olympics are six weeks later.

After going through a rough patch in 2006, Browne said he joined Team Running USA and has been training with Olympic silver medalist Meb Keflezighi, Olympic bronze medalist Deena Kastor and Olympic marathon trials champ Ryan Hall.

“The results speak for themselves in terms of working with them since July last year,” said Browne, who completed eight one-mile intervals in racing flats yesterday, averaging 4:35 pace with a two-minute recovery by himself.

“We’re in the zone right now.”

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