July 8, 2005
AMERICAN TEAM HEADS TO AUSTRIA FOR WORLD 24-HOUR RUN COMPETITION
For the third consecutive year an American team will be at the starting line at the World 24-Hour Run, the longest annual world title event endorsed by the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) and recognized by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). This year the third annual version of the world's premier all day-all night run will be hosted by the small Austrian village of Worschach, in the foothills of the Austrian Alps, on the weekend of July 16-17.
Last year the American women took the team bronze medal when the event was held in the Czech Republic town of Brno.
The American National Team includes the following athletes:
Sue Olsen, 48, Burnsville, Minnesota
Sandy Powell, 48, Greenville, Virginia
Pam Reed, 44, Tucson, Arizona
Carolyn Smith, 40, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Rudy Afanador, 46, Medford, New York
Scott Eppelman, 38, Coppell, Texas
John Geesler, 46, St. Johnsville, New York
Dean Karnazes, 42, San Francisco, California
Roy Pirrung, 57, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Danny Ripka, 48, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Olsen, Reed, Afanador, Geesler, and Pirrung are all former National 24-hour run champions, and all of the others except for Smith have placed among the top three scorers in 24-hour national title events. Reed and Geesler hold the current American Records for 24 hours on the track and 48 hours (road or track), respectively. The 57-year old Pirrung, who doubles as team organizer and is affectionately known as the squad's "player-coach," breaks his own record (set last year) as the most senior athlete ever named to a national athletics team. He won his first national 24-hour run championship title in 1988, set the American 24-hour road record (154+ miles) the following year, and a decade later set an American 48-hour run record (243+ miles) which stood until Geesler broke it by running 248+ miles in two days in 2003.
Reed and Karnazes have almost become American household names by virtue of their recent overall wins in the 135+ mile nonstop race from Death Valley to Mount Whitney, and the uncommon (for the otherwise esoteric sport of ultrarunning) media attention which followed, including appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman, Nightline, and reports in Time Magazine, The New York Times, and Sports Illustrated, among many others media outlets. Karnazes' autobiography, Ultramarathon Man, has recently become an international bestseller.
The American National Team's results from next weekend's World 24-hour will be reported on the website of the American Ultrarunning Association (www.americanultra.org).
For further information contact:
Executive Director, American Ultrarunning Association
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