American Women Look to Retake Podium at Freihofer’s Run for Women 5K
It has been a decade since the last American woman (Marla Runyan) won this IAAF silver-labeled 5K crown in Albany, N.Y. Van Alstine, Hogan, Lillenthal, Moody, Pezzullo and Rhines will take on the world’s best distance stars.
Posted Wednesday, 21 May, 2014
ALBANY, NY— It has been a decade since the last American woman (Marla Runyan) won this IAAF silver-labeled 5K crown in Albany, N.Y.
Looking to break that lengthy drought at the 36th Freihofer’s Run for Women on Saturday, May 31 is a cadre of talented U.S. distance runners with a point to prove. These ladies will not only be battling their elite international counterparts for pride, but also for more than $28,500 in cash prizes, including $10,000 reserved for the first woman to cross the finish line at the Empire State Plaza.
With a 5K road PB of 15:30, Amy Van Alstine (Flagstaff, Ariz.), 24, is a definite contender who is peaking at just the right time. The University of Richmond graduate, who trains with the newly created Northern Arizona Elite Club, won the 8K U.S. Cross-Country Championships in February in Boulder, Colo. (27:34) against a talented field that featured two-time world championships 1,500m medalist Jenny Simpson. The adidas-sponsored athlete also notched a second place finish at Stanford’s Payton Jordan Invitational 5,000 (15:23) and was the second American at the recent Carlsbad 5000, an event recognized for fast times and world records.
“Amy had a terrific year in 2013 and proved she is among the very top American distance runners,” said Event Director George Regan. “Last year she was our top American and placed 4th with a time of 16:01. We know she’ll be looking for an even stronger finish in 2014.”
Last year’s 2nd place American and 10th place overall finisher Megan Hogan, 26 (Ballston Spa, N.Y.) will also be looking to kick things up a notch on the rolling, picturesque course. A graduate of George Washington University where she was Atlantic 10 cross-country champion before launching her professional running career, Hogan won February’s 40th annual Jones Group 10 Miler, which marks the launch of the New England Grand Prix.
Hogan, a local fan favorite, will also be joined on Madison Avenue by last year’s third place American finisher (11th place overall), Michelle (Frey) Lillenthal (16:30). Lillenthal, 32, who recently relocated to Portland, ME from Minneapolis, MN, finished a strong 6th making her the top American at the 2012 Freihofer’s (16:03). She is a seven-time state champion for Iowa City High School and earned All-Big Ten honors at the University of Wisconsin. In October Lillenthal finished 4th at the USA Championships held during the Twin Cities Marathon in Minneapolis, thereby meeting the A-standard and qualifying for the 2016 U.S. Olympic trials.
Other recently committed American elite runners at Freihofer’s include:
- Tera Moody, (Colorado Springs, CO), 33, a Freihofer’s veteran who finished 13th overall in 2013 (16:34). Moody, who continues to prove herself as one of the toughest American runners around, placed 5th in this year’s Gasparilla Distance Classic Half Marathon and 7th at the 2014 USA Half Marathon Championships.
- Stephanie Pezzullo (Charlotte, NC), 31, a member of the Zap Fitness team who ran 16:09 at the B.A.A. 5K April 19 in Boston, MA. Other 2014 results of note include 1st Reedy River Run, 10th Shamrockin Run 8K and 8th Gasparilla Distance Classic Half Marathon.
- Jen Rhines (Liverpool, N.Y.), 39, a three-time Olympian and upstate New York standout who has become one of the nation’s most versatile distance runners. A graduate of Villanova, Rhines came into her own on the elite track scene when she placed 2nd in the 10,000m at the 2000 Olympic Trials. She has won national titles on both the track and the roads and represented the USA at 5,000m, 10,000m and the marathon in the Olympic Games.
“It is encouraging to see such a large group of American athletes willing to mix it up with the best in the world,” said Run for Women Elite Athlete Recruiter John Tope. “We are thrilled to have American elites who have broken into the top 10 in the past returning to compete on the streets of Albany this May 31.”
For more information about the 36th Freihofer’s Run for Women, 27th edition Kids’ Run, 26th Community Walk, Freihofer’s Junior 3K Run, USA 5K Race Walk Championships and the CDPHP/CapitalCare Health & Fitness Expo presented by OrthoNY, visit freihofersrun.com. From the home page, you can also link to the event's Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages. A dedicated Training Challenge Facebook page can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/freihoferstrainingchallenge