July 7, 2007

24-Hour Run Championships and National Team Announced

The Ultracentric 24-Hour Run U.S. National Championship will be staged Nov. 16-17, 2007 in Grapevine, Texas for the second consecutive year.  Race Director Robert Taverniniís offer of $12,000 U.S. athlete prize money will again, as in 2006, be the largest award purse for an American ultramarathon.  Also for the second consecutive year, the event will serve as the selection race for the following yearís National 24-Hour Run Team.

Last yearís Ultracentric event, won by Alex Swenson of Vashon, Washington and Carolyn Smith of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was the selection venue for this yearís National Team, which will represent the USA in the 5th annual World 24-Hour Run Championship, to be held next month, July 28-29 in Drummondville, Canada.  This year marks the first time this longest annual world title event will be held in the western hemisphere.  U.S. teams have made it onto the awards podium every year but 2006, when the event was held in Taiwan.  The best individual finish ever by an American was Stephanie Ehretís individual bronze medal, achieved by running the #3 all-time U.S. womenís performance of 140.16 miles, in the 2004 event in the Czech Republic.  For the 2007 national team, the top 3 American men and women from the 2006 Ultracentric National 24-Hour Run Championship, held in Grapevine, Texas in November, were automatically selected.  The remaining 3 men and women, plus alternates, were selected based on other 24-hour run performance rankings during the previous year.    

The members of the 2007 U.S. National 24-hour Run Team are:

Scott Eppelman, 40, Coppell, Texas
John Geesler, 47, St. Johnsville, New York
Phil McCarthy, 38, New York, New York
Garth Peterson, 44, Beck Row, ENGLAND (U.S. Air Force)
Roy Pirrung, 58, Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Alex Swenson, 42, Vashon, Washington

Connie Gardner, 43, Medina, Ohio
Debra Horn, 47, Shaker Heights, Ohio
Rebecca Johnson, 37, Lafayette, Colorado
Laura Nelson, 41, Woodstock, Virginia
Pam Reed, 45, Tucson, Arizona
Carolyn Smith, 41, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Eppelman, Geesler, Pirrung, and Reed are the only athletes to have been named to the team all five years of its existence.  Pirrung, at age 58, breaks his own record as the most senior athlete ever to be named to an open U.S. national team.  He also doubles, as he has every year, as team manager.
The 2007 team is a mixture of veterans and newcomers, as McCarthy, Peterson, Gardner, Johnson, and Horn will all be running in their first World 24 Hour.  Peterson, an air traffic control specialist with the U.S. Air Force, recently completed a tour of duty in Baghdad, Iraq.

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