Sunday, November 18, 2007

philadelphia marathon

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- It's not every day that running enthusiasts practice their sport with an Olympian by their side, but they will do exactly that in Philadelphia on November 17 when Run with Olympians takes place during Philadelphia Marathon weekend. The free event will give runners of all levels a chance to train alongside Olympic veterans Tim Broe, Carrie Tollefson and Todd Williams.
The Olympians will lead a four-mile training run through Philadelphia's scenic Fairmount Park and by Boathouse Row. Runners will be able to tailor the four-mile run to best suit their personal training schedules. The Olympians will run at various paces to accommodate runners at all levels.
Run with Olympians is new to Philadelphia Marathon weekend and is presented by Boundless Philadelphia, the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation's campaign to promote Philadelphia as a running destination. The run serves as a warm-up to the Philadelphia Marathon, Philadelphia Half Marathon and the Rothman Institute 8K the following day. Non-marathon runners are welcome to participate as well.
The Olympians:
Three esteemed runners will participate in the Run with Olympians event:

-- Tim Broe is the 2005 USA Track & Field Winter Cross Country 4K
champion. In 2004, he was the Olympic Trials 5,000-meter run champion
and placed 11th at the 2004 Olympic Games 5,000-meter race in Athens.
In the same year, Track & Field News named Broe #1 in the U.S. at the
5,000-meter distance.
-- Carrie Tollefson was on the 2004 summer Olympic team, making it to the
semi-finals for the 1,500-meter race. She was the 2004 Olympic Trials
1,500-meter champion and was the 2004 U.S. Indoors 3,000-meter race
runner-up. In 2004, she was also ranked #1 nationally by Track & Field
News. Tollefson ran at Villanova University and is a five-time NCAA
-- Todd Williams competed in the 10,000-meter race in the 1992 and 1996
Olympic Games. Williams also won the USA Championships in 1995 and the
USA 10-meter Road Championships in 1997. In addition, he won the USA
15K Championships in 1995 (setting an American record), 1996 and 1998.
In 1997, he won the 3,000-meter race at the USA Indoor event. PHILADELPHIA - The course for the Philadelphia Marathon winds past historic buildings, through urban neighborhoods and between two rivers _ terrain nothing like the dusty hills of Afghanistan, where Army Capt. Michael Keilty has been training for the race.

Keilty, a Long Island resident who has been stationed outside of Kabul on a one-year tour, is going to use a few hours of his treasured two-week leave to run the 26.2-mile course on Sunday. So much for R&R.

But Keilty says it's for a good cause. He'll be pounding the pavement in his first marathon in support of the Wounded Warrior Project, a private veterans' assistance group based in Jacksonville, Fla. And he says he's running the race in memory of two Marines and a soldier who were alumni of his high school, Chaminade, on Long Island. All three died in Iraq.

"If I could help raise some money and, more importantly, awareness ... to help these guys who've done so much for us, it would definitely be worth it," Keilty said Friday by phone. "We've become sort of desensitized by all these numbers of all these casualties. (On the news) it's just a number and then they move on to the weather."

Keilty, 30, of Plainview, N.Y., has been in Afghanistan since April as an embedded tactical trainer, working with members of the Afghan army to help it become a self-sufficient military force. He squeezed in marathon training at 5 a.m. each day, a routine made more difficult by the 6,500-foot altitude.

"The hills here are killer," Keilty wrote earlier this month in an e-mail interview from Afghanistan. "I run through the Afghan army camp so I often get amused looks from the Afghan soldiers."

The idea to run for the Wounded Warrior Project was born out of a really tough hill, he wrote.

"I was about to quit when I thought of all those wounded service members who no longer have the ability to walk or run," he wrote. "How could I give up when I still had two good legs?"

Keilty, who earned a Bronze Star in Iraq before being sent to Afghanistan, is calling his run "A Race for Heroes."

Keilty is soliciting donations and raising funds through T-shirts sold by TakePride, a New York-based organization that aims to raise awareness of military service through a series of specialty shirts. So far, the effort has raised about $60,000, said TakePride co-founder Patrick Gray.

"Small gestures make all the difference in the world," Gray said. "Everybody wants the world to be peaceful ... the difference is to take an action."

John Fernandez, a spokesman for the Wounded Warrior Project, attended West Point with Keilty. An injured Iraq vet himself, Fernandez expressed admiration for Keilty's focus and willingness to help others.

"He's got a heckuva marathon training environment," said Fernandez. "It takes someone with a big heart to keep this in mind while he's going through his own experiences in Afghanistan."

Keilty returned to the U.S. on Tuesday. It's been hard to train with the whirlwind of attention from family and friends, but he says he's gotten a few miles of running in, including around the reservoir in New York's Central Park.

On Saturday, he plans to travel to Philadelphia where he said a group of 30 or 40 people is expected to cheer him on at the race the following day.

Philadelphia's course is considered fast and flat. If Keilty finishes in less than 3 hours, 10 minutes, he'll meet his personal goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon _ a race famous for its "Heartbreak Hill."

The hills of Afghanistan should give him excellent practice. Any distance runner would look at the prospect of facing a marathon as a supreme challenge.

But for Dave Welsh, his run in Sunday's Philadelphia Marathon will provide a real test, not only of his endurance, but of the status of the foot he broke working toward the Olympic Marathon Trials this past June.

"I'm looking at this as sort of a comeback race for me," said Welsh, a Haddon Township High School graduate who now owns the Haddonfield Running Company.

Welsh, who said he injured himself while stepping on the foot of another runner, has been through quite an ordeal with the injury.

"I needed surgery and I had pins and a cast, the whole thing," he said. "I just got out of the cast in August, and I've been working hard since then."

Welsh has worked his way back up to running about 70 miles per week without showing any effects from his injury.

During his peak of conditioning, Welsh said he normally runs 70 to 85 miles per week. An elite runner, he said, would do 80 to 120 miles per week.

The course for the Philadelphia Marathon, which will draw thousands of competitors, runs the traditional 26.2 miles.

The course traverses much of the city, beginning at the Museum of Art and then passing Independence Hall, the Betsy Ross House and the Liberty Bell.

The course also goes through the waterfront area and passes through Penn's Landing as well as the Water Works on the Schuylkill River. The course is flat, with the highest elevation being 100 feet.

A veteran of eight overall marathons, Welsh finished No. 12 in the 2004 Philadelphia Marathon in a time of two hours, 33 minutes and 27 seconds.

Welsh's best marathon time was two hours, 31 minutes and eight seconds in Chicago in October 2003.

In March, Welsh ran second in the US 50K Championships in Long Island, and he completed the 31-mile race in three hours, seven minutes and 22 seconds to place second.

Since Welsh is coming off the injury, the 30-year-old has not set his sights as high for this run. He said he would like to run somewhere in the 2:35 range.

He has a long-term goal of qualifying for the Olympic Marathon. The cutoff for Olympic qualifying is two hours, 22 minutes.

Welsh had hoped to try to compete for a berth for the coming Beijing Olympics this past spring, but the injury occurred two weeks before the trials.

During his time on the sidelines, he took comfort from the fact that he was still involved in running through the operation of his store.

"It was disappointing not being able to make the trials this year," he said. "But I'm going to keep on going."
Kristin Price of Raleigh, N.C., pulled away from the competition at the 20-mile mark to win the women's title in the Philadelphia Marathon in 2:42:05 on Sunday.

Kenya's Timothy Psitet, who waited until the 25-mile mark before making his move on training partner Solomon Too, took the men's title in 2:25.01. Too, the runner-up, hit the tape at 2:26.03.

Both winners said their performances were affected by the weather, which featured gusty winds and temperatures in the low 40s.

"The winds were the worst part," said Price, 25, a former Pittsburgh resident who ran track and cross country at North Carolina State University. "Right after the turnaround at 20 (miles), I realized I didn't have much of a lead, so I decided to pick it up for a few miles."

Price has qualified for the U.S. Olympic women's marathon trials at Boston in April. Runner-up Paige Miller of State College clocked 2:43.59.

In the men's race, Psitet and Too broke together from the lead pack at mile 10 and tried to work together against the elements. At mile 25, Too began to weaken and gestured for Psitet to take over.

"I told him to go ahead," said Too, a fellow Kenyan. "I started to have a headache and felt like I could fall down."

The two runners belong to the Westchester (N.Y.) Track Club.

"The weather wasn't good and the pace was moderate," said Psitet, 27. "I decided to wait until 23 miles and then push."


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