B.A.A. To Send US Marathoners to Japan

Peter Gilmore, Hansons-Brooks Distance Project to Compete in Ohme-Hochi 30K

Boston, Mass. – For 32 years, the Boston Marathon and the Ohme-Hochi 30K in Japan have enjoyed a close relationship. Each year, top Americans from Boston travel to Japan to compete while top Japanese finishers from Ohme run the Boston Marathon. This year, the B.A.A. will be sending six of last year’s top finishers in the Boston Marathon to compete in Ohme on February 4. Peter Gilmore will be running the 30-kilometer race for the second time where he will be joined by five members of the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project: Luke Humphrey, Chad Johnson, Kyle O’Brien, Brian Sell and Clint Verran.

The B.A.A. – Ohme exchange program dates back to 1976, when Bill Rodgers won Ohme, and Tom Fleming placed second. Among the many top Boston Marathon finishers to compete in Ohme are Miki Gorman (1974 and 1977 Boston champion) and Greg Meyer (1983 Boston and Ohme champion). Gilmore was the B.A.A.’s 2006 representative in Ohme, following his 10th-place finish in the 2005 Boston Marathon. After placing fourth in the Japanese race with a time of 1:32:56, Gilmore returned to Boston where he moved up to seventh, with a personal best time of 2:12:45.

The Hansons-Brooks Distance Project, a Michigan-based team founded and coached by brothers Keith and Kevin Hanson, brought eight athletes to the 2006 Boston Marathon, and six finished in the top 20 places. Brian Sell led the way with a stellar fourth-place finish (2:10:55). He was followed by Verran (10th, 2:14:12), Humphrey (11th, 2:15:23), Johnson (15th, 2:19:29), and O’Brien (18th, 2:19:57).

Also representing the B.A.A. in Ohme this year will be Board of Governors Vice President, and past B.A.A. President (1990-1994) Thomas W. Whelton.

Sending the group to Japan is part of the B.A.A.’s ongoing American Development Program, which will culminate with the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Women’s Marathon, to be held in Boston on April 20, 2008. All six men making the trip to Ohme already qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Men’s Marathon, to be held in New York City on November 3, 2006.

Established in 1887, the Boston Athletic Association is a non-profit organization with a mission of managing athletic events and promoting a healthy lifestyle through sports, especially running. The B.A.A.’s Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest annual marathon, and the organization manages other local events and supports comprehensive charity, youth, and year-round running programs. Since 1986, the principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon has been John Hancock Financial Services. In 2006, the Boston Marathon launched – along with the Flora London Marathon also in April – the World Marathon Majors series. Other events in the series include the Berlin-Marathon, The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon, and the ING New York City Marathon.

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