Friday, February 02, 2007

B.A.A. to Send Top U.S. Marathoners to Japan

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).

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.

Source: B.A.A.