Houston Marathon 2011

Posted by Zotta Rendevouz

Houston Marathon 2011, The United States Running Circuit (USARC) begins Saturday with the race of Half Marathon Championships 2011 United States, presented by Aramco Services Company.

With 200m to go, Ryan Hall's return to racing after pulling out of the 2010 Chicago Marathon and then parting ways with his long term coach, Terrence Mahon, appeared to be going according to form. Hall was leading the USA Half Marathon Championships and driving to the finish.

However, Mo Trafeh, last year's 15k US Champion, was on Hall's heels. Could Trafeh find something in reserve to outkick Hall?

In addition to the national title, athletes use 2011 as an opportunity to preview the course that will be used when Houston hosts the 2012 U.S. Olympic trials team – Marathon next January.

Join Hall in his reconnaissance mission in Houston will be Jorge Torres (Boulder, Colo.), an Olympian in 2008 to 10,000 meters, Patrick Smyth (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.), the 2010 half-marathon runner-up, 2004 Olympic Games Dan Browne (Chula Vista, Calif.), Jason Lehmkuhl (Minneapolis, Minn.), 2008 Half-Marathon runner-up, and Sergio Reyes (Los Osos, Calif.) 2010 USA Marathon Champion.

The women’s race will face 2009 champion Boulet in a deep field that includes 2010 USA Running Circuit champion Katie McGregor (Saint Louis Park, Minn.), three-time Olympian Jen Rhines (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.), 2004 Olympic Trials Marathon champion Colleen De Reuck (Boulder, Colo.); 2010 runner-up Serena Burla (Ellisville, MO), and Zoila Gomez (Alamosa, Colo.) and Tera Moody (Colorado Springs, Colorado), the finishing fourth and fifth women’s 2008 Olympic Trials Marathon.

The U.S. half-marathon is the first stop on the 2011 USA Running Circuit (USARC), and has a total purse of 59,500-championship prize and bonus potential. Men and women will each win and 12,000 champion.

The 2011 USARC is a USA Track & series of country road, with U.S. long distance running championships and first in the U.S. include cross-country. The USARC attracts the best riders from the United States at bay, including Olympians Deena Kastor, Ryan Hall, Meb Keflezighi and Shalane Flanagan. The 2011 USARC has ten events for men and nine women.

The 2011 USARC will feature more than 450,000 in prize money and tour with the U.S. athletes competing for the right to represent the U.S. team in various international competitions.

The first ten U.S. runners earn points at each USARC race (15 for first, 12 for second, 10 for third, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1), with a final and 12,500 Grand Prix purse ($ 6, 000, and 4000, and $ 2,500) for the first three men and women point scorers overall.

The mission of the United States Circuit racing is to promote, support and promote U.S. runners. Since its inception in 1995, the USARC and its races have provided over $ 6 million and U.S. riders at bay.

Mohamed Trafeh won half the U.S. Marathon Championships on Saturday, passing American record holder Ryan Hall in the final mile to beat him in 3 seconds.

Trafeh finished the race of 13.1 miles in 1 hour, 2 minutes, 17 seconds. Time of 1:02.20 Hall was nearly three minutes off the record he set here in 2007 (59:43).

Patrick Smyth, runner-up last year, finished third in 1:02.32.

Three-time Olympian Jen Rhines won the women’s circuit, finishing in a 1:11.14 personal best. Serena Burla was second (1:11.38) for the second consecutive year and Nan Kennard finished third (1:12.03).

The riders have completed the 8-mile loop that will be used for testing of U.S. Olympic marathon next January, when the three best men and women will be the team for the London Games in 2012.

A field of 63 men and 41 women began the race on Saturday under cloudy skies and a temperature of 60 degrees.

Hall set the record on a different course in 2007. Mostly flat road Saturday included some hairpin turns that slowed the riders.