BOULDER, Colo. - The 12th International Team Challenge, part of the 31st Dick' s Sporting Goods
BolderBOULDER 10K, is set for Monday, Memorial Day
, May 25, and with some of the best distance runners in the world expected at mile-high altitude, the competition for individual and team glory should be keen.
At the event, the Ethiopia teams - with two hot runners Teyba Erkesso and Tadese Tola - will be tough to beat (the men won the team title last year). Last weekend, Erkesso won the 98th ING Bay to Breakers 12K, while countryman Tola shattered the Central Park course record with his 27:48 at the Health
Kenya also has strong teams led by defending race champion Millicent Gathoni and veteran racer John Korir who was 5th here last year. The Romanian women led by 1999 BolderBOULDER champion Lidia Simon look to defend its team crown, while the men' s team for Mexico with two top 10 finishers from 2008 (Alejandro Suarez and Juan Romero) should also be contenders for top honors.
The men' s Team USA includes talented 5000 and 10,000 meter runners James Carney, Bolota Asmerom and Fasil Bizuneh and the trio could challenge for a top team placement, while the U.S. women' s team is 2009 World Championship marathon team member Tera Moody, Alisha Williams and Carrie Messner.
Last year at the ITC, Ridouane Harroufi of Morocco and Millicent Gathoni of Kenya won individual races in 28:32 and 32:49 respectively, while Ethiopia (men) and Romania (women) captured the team titles.
For 2009, the professional teams will start at 30th & Glenwood and follow the main BolderBOULDER course to the University of Colorado' s Folsom Field. Women start at 11:00am and men at 11:10am. Overall, there are 9 men' s and 10 women' s teams entered in the 2009 International Team Challenge.
Started in 1998, the Dick' s Sporting Goods BolderBOULDER International Team Challenge is the largest international road racing team competition held annually in the United States. International teams are made up of three runners per gender. The teams compete for the largest non-marathon prize purse in the world. Monies are awarded in the team and individual categories. Teams are scored cross-country style with points awarded on the basis of finishing place. The team with the lowest score for all three runners is the winner. Ties are broken by the position of the third place finishers.
The 2009 guaranteed prize purse, before bonuses, is $110,600. Bonuses include time, course record and U.S. Olympic development funds. Since 2003, the average prize purse at the BolderBOULDER International Team Challenge has been more $150,000, the highest in the sport for non-marathons during that time frame.