Sunday, August 24, 2003

As the United States competes in Paris at the world championships, the coach of the women’s squad is well known around the Washington area.

Angie Taylor has coached track and field and cross country for the past four years at George Mason University. Before that, Taylor was an All-American hurdler at Illinois State and a finalist in the heptathlon at the 1992 Olympic trials.

“You definitely take what you learned as an athlete and work it into your coaching ethics,” Taylor, 38, told USA Track & Field. “It’s been enjoyable so far. I really love it. I love interacting with the athletes.”

Her challenge for the next week will be to draw together athletes who range in age from 17 to 42. She has the experience, having served on Team USA coaching staffs for six years. She led the U.S. women to victory at the 1998 World Cup in Johannesburg in her international coaching debut.

You will be able to see Taylor and the entire U.S. squad in action Tuesday through next Sunday on ESPN2 (schedule on page C4).

Hit the beach — Nearly every big-name distance runner not competing in this week’s world championships 10,000 meters or marathon will be headed to next Sunday’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach. The race is loaded with 18 women and 20 men representing 16 countries in the elite field of runners vying for $80,000 in prize money.

The women’s field is led by 29-year-old Lidia Simon of Romania, the gold medalist in the marathon at the 2001 world championships in Edmonton, Alberta, and silver medalist in the 2000 Olympic marathon in Sydney.

Shadrack Hoff of South Africa, winner of the inaugural race in 2001, returns to face a dozen of the most feared Kenyan men. Hoff missed last year’s race because of last-minute visa problems.

The top U.S. distance runners are competing in Paris, including Deena Drossin (winner in 2001, fifth in 2002), and many of those who did not qualify were not interested in running 13.1 miles for free. Drossin was 12th yesterday in the 10,000 meters.

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