CARLSBAD, CA — The Carlsbad 5000, home of the current 5k World Records, has announced the professional field for the elite invitational on Sunday, April 5. Defending men’s champion Maregu Zewdie of Ethiopia will attempt to win back-to-back titles after a thrilling finish in last year’s race, in which only two seconds separated the top five finishing times. Zewdie, owner of two team Gold Medals from the World Cross Country Championships, will be challenged by a group of American runners led by Californian Scott Bauhs.
Bauhs, a two-time National Champion and a participant in last summer’s U.S. Olympic Trials, won his pro racing debut at the Synaptics Elite Athlete 5-K in San Jose with an unofficial time of 13:37, the fastest for an American on the roads last year. He also finished sixth at the 2007 Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose half-marathon in 1:03:04, the top U.S. finisher in the race by over a minute.
“To say I’m fired up about running Carlsbad would be an understatement,” said Bauhs, who will wear an Adidas uniform for the first time at Carlsbad. “My training partners will tell you that I won’t quit talking about the event and I got even more excited when I found out who was running. Between the blazing fast Ethiopians, ‘Fam’ (Anthony Famiglietti) and the Aussies, it is going to be a great race and a perfect way to start the season.”
The men’s field features two Carlsbad champions including 2006 winner Abreham Cherkos of Ethiopia. Cherkos, the former world junior champion over 3000m, finished 5th in the Olympic 5000m final at Beijing last summer and owns a PR of 12:54 for the distance. Fellow Ethiopian Ali Abdosh comes to Carlsbad with PR of 13:01:44 and a successful 2008 season, including a 5000m victory at the Adidas Track Classic. Also expected to contend for the title is Shedrack Korir of Kenya, the 2007 world championship 1500m bronze medalist in Osaka. He has a PR of 13:09 over 5000m and was the 2006 Kenyan national 1500m champion.
The non-African international challenge will likely be led by former University of Arkansas star Alistair Cragg of Ireland. At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Cragg competed in the 1500m and 5000m track events, his second Olympic 5000m final.
Australian Collis Birmingham comes to Carlsbad having set a 5000m PR of 13:16 in Melbourne earlier this year, which is the world’s fastest outdoor time in 2009. These athletes join previously announced U.S. Olympians Anthony Famiglietti and triathlete Jarrod Shoemaker in the stellar lineup of runners including 8 Americans.
The women’s field for Carlsbad is equally impressive. The international competition challenging U.S. Olympians Christin Wurth-Thomas and Shannon Rowbury will be led by Aheza Kiros of Ethiopia. Kiros was part of the Ethiopian national team who went to the 2007 World Championships in Osaka. She has a PR of 15:09 for 5000m and finished 3rd at Carlsbad in 2007.
U.S. 10,000m Champion Katie McGregor looks to be in good form after recently finishing second at the USA 15k Championships. A five-time qualifier for the U.S. World Cross Country team, McGregor is a national champion in the 25k, 10k road and 10,000m. She spent the second half of 2008 training for the ING New York City Marathon, recording a top-10 finish and personal best time of 2:31:14. Marisol Romero, the Mexican national champion over 1500m, rounds out the favorites in the international field.
The complete field of international athletes will be introduced at a local media briefing at Pizza Port in Carlsbad on Friday, April 3 at 2:00 pm. To view the full start lists, visit www.carlsbad5000.com.