September 5, 2002
NINE FORMER CHAMPIONS RETURNING TO OLANDER PARK USA 24-HOUR CHAMPIONSHIP
Sylvania, OH -- Nine former champions, including the defending female and male champions, are returning to Olander Park for the USA 24-Hour Run National championship, which starts at noon, Saturday, September 14. As of September 4, ultrarunners from 25 states and Canada are entered. Of this total, 21% are female and 66% of all runners predict they will complete 100+ miles.
This is the 14th annual Olander Park 24-Hour Race and the 10th consecutive year it has hosted the USA National Championship on behalf of USA Track & Field. The 1998 field of 166 ultrarunners was the largest 24-hour race field ever in the world.
In 1993, Kevin Setnes of Eagle, WI, set the American road record of 160.4 miles in 24 hours at Olander Park. That same year, Sue Ellen Trapp Ft. Myers, Fl, set the American women’s record (road and overall) of 145.3 miles at Olander Park. That still stands and Trapp, now 56, has won this USA National Championship 7 times and has 6 wins in 7 tries at Olander Park. Trapp has been on several USA national ultradistance teams, and in her 23-year career has set four open women's ultradistance world records.
Other returning USA national 24-hour champions include Rudy Afanador from Long Island (151+ miles in 2001); John Geesler, St. Johnsville, NY (147+ miles in 1995 and 157+ miles in 2000); Tom Possert, Cincinnati (142+ miles in 1992); Roy Pirrung, Sheboygan, WI, (148+ and 145+ miles, 1988 and 1991); Sue Ellen Trapp, Fort Myers, FL (136+ miles in 1991; 126+ in 1994; 137+ in 1996; 133+ in 1999; 126+ in 2001); Bonnie Busch, Bettendorf, IA (132+ miles in 1995).
The USA 24-Hour Run National Championship was first held in Atlanta in 1988, then moved to Queens, New York in 1989, Portland, Oregon in 1990 and 1991, and Sacramento in 1992. Only in Portland was it run on a track. Prize money was never awarded until this event came to Olander Park in 1993, where it has remained for the past decade. The top 5 American men and women earn prize money here, with $500 going to the overall champions. In addition, Milcor and the Broadway (NY) Ultra Society are each offering $1,000 to any male or female who sets a world record for total distance.
The Alley Pond Striders, Queens, NY, are offering a $200 bonus to any American man or woman who sets an American record for total distance.
The Toledo Road Runners Club will award $100 to the runner who traveled the longest distance (from Toledo) and runs at least 100 miles.
Runners are fed and drinks are furnished throughout the 24 hours, although they many bring their own special foods, drinks and crews. Massage therapists stay on site, as does Sports Care from ProMedica.
Ultrarunners consider Olander Park an ideal course because of the scenery and unique computerized scoring system.
Over 35 American records (open and age-group) have been set at Olander Park since 1993. In 1997 Canadian Andy Jones set the 100-mile world road record of 12:05:43 at Olander Park. Yiannis Kouros, 46, of Athens, Greece, set the American All-Comers record of 167.4 miles at Olander Park in 1999. Mark Godale, 32, of Aurora, OH, set the current American road record of
162.5 miles in finishing second to Kouros in that race.
Kouros has announced his intention to return to Olander Park this year. Both Kouros and Godale will be aiming for 180.4 miles, which is Kouros' current world road record distance.
Sue Ellen Trapp, the Florida dentist, had major knee surgery in 2000 but is looking forward to again winning here. Five years ago she set the still-standing women’s 48-hour world record (234+ miles) in France. She looks for stiff competition from Jody Lynn Reicher, Sandy Powell, Beth Simpson, Bonnie Busch, Jamie Huneycutt, and Ann Heaslett.
Anyone may enter this national championship, including racewalkers and walkers. Lights are put up around the 1.0910-mile course. The average distance covered in 2001 was 78.3 miles and four women were among the top 20 overall finishers.
The Toledo Road Runners Club is the host for this national championship and provides over 100 volunteers. Olander Park staff keeps the course and facilities in excellent shape through the weekend and many nearby residents in the neighborhood lend a hand.
About 20 area untrarunners generally enter this event. One area favorite is John Nichols, 36, of Waterville, 13th in 1997 with 120 miles. Nichols set a course record while winning a June 100-mile race in Ohio.
The 2002 Olander Park USATF 24-Hour National Championship will be webcast live on the Internet on race day. The live coverage host is the American Ultrarunning Association (AUA) (www.americanultra.org). Pre-race updates will also be posted on the AUA website.
Tom Falvey, Race Director
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