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2011 US Half Marathon Championship will Preview Trials Course

INDIANAPOLIS – The Houston Marathon Committee, in conjunction with
presenting sponsor Aramco Services Company, has announced that the
country’s best distance runners and Olympic hopefuls will compete at the
2011 USA Half Marathon Championships on Saturday, January 29, 2011, one
day prior to the 39th Chevron Houston Marathon. The championships will
give athletes a chance to preview the course for the 2012 U.S. Olympic
Team Trials – Marathon, which will be held on January 14, 2012.

“We had some very basic information about early versions of the
proposed Olympic course in London that proved beneficial to our course
design,” said Brant Kotch, Race Director and President of the Houston
Marathon Committee. “Of course, the confluence of the already-awarded
2011 USA Half Marathon Championships together with the awarding of the
2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon was just too great an
opportunity to pass up. This preview should bring out the country’s
strongest Olympic marathon hopefuls en
masse.”

The eight-mile loop route will
give U.S. athletes a “test drive” of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials
course which is similar to the 2012 Olympic marathon multi-loop
eight-mile course in London. The national championships will also allow
athletes to experience the Houston Marathon Committee’s operating plans
for the 2012 Trials.

“Getting a
preview of the course while in race mode will be an invaluable
experience for anyone hoping to run in the 2012 Olympic Marathon
Trials,” said 2009 USA Half Marathon champion and 2008 Olympian
Magdalena Lewy Boulet. “There’s no better way to begin to mentally
prepare for a race then to actually race it. I’m excited to return to
Houston to run another USA Half Marathon Championship.”

The 2011 USA Half Marathon Championships will mark Houston’s
seventh and fifth year to host the men’s and women’s national half
marathon championships respectively. Last January, Antonio Vega and 2008
Olympic bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan won U.S. titles in 1:01:54 and
1:09:41, respectively.

Houston will
host the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon on Saturday, January
14, 2012, a first for a single city to host both the men’s and women’s
events at the same Olympic Trials. To-date, 93 U.S. men and 111 U.S.
women have qualified for the 2012 Trials. The top 150 male and female
distance runners are expected to compete in Houston January 2012 to
qualify six marathon runners for the U.S. Olympic Team at the London
Olympic Games.

The general public has
been given an exciting opportunity to run with elite athletes competing
in the 2011 USA Half Marathon Championships on the same course that will
determine the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team in 2012. A limited number of
“Olympic experience” VIP packages are available to the public. Details
about the VIP packages can be found on the event website
(houstonmarathon.com).

About the Houston Marathon Committee, Inc.

Established in 1972, the Houston Marathon Committee, Inc.
(HMC), a Running USA Founding Member, annually organizes the nation’s
premier winter marathon, half-marathon, 5K and kids’ fun run. In 2010,
more than 30,000 runners participated in four race weekend events
organized by 7,500 volunteers, creating Houston’s largest single-day
sporting event. In addition to hosting numerous world-renowned road
races, including the USA Men’s and Women’s Half Marathon Championships
since 2005 and 2007 respectively, and the 1992 U.S. Women’s Olympic
Marathon Trials, HMC will host the 2012 U.S. Men’s and Women’s Olympic
Team Trials – Marathon on January 14, 2012.

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