Elite Field Announced for 2017 Bellin Run
Defending champ Keflezighi to compete as he winds down historic career
Decorated marathoner, perennial crowd favorite and defending Bellin Run champion Meb Keflezighi will return to Green Bay’s iconic 10K race June 10, headlining a stellar elite field for the 2017 Bellin Run.
Known to the running world simply as “Meb,” Keflezighi, 42, is preparing to run the final marathon of his storied running career in New York on Nov. 5. Perhaps best known for capturing the hearts of millions when he won the Boston Marathon in 2014, the year after the terrorist attacks that struck that event, Keflezighi also is a four-time Olympian and New York Marathon champion. He is the only athlete in history to win the New York and Boston marathons, as well as an Olympic medal (a silver at the 2004 games).
This year’s Bellin Run will be Keflezighi’s fourth. He placed third overall in 2014 and 2015 (in 29:58 and 30:06, respectively), before winning the 2016 race in 30:07. An affable crowd favorite, Keflezighi has become known for standing at the finish line to congratulate local runners as they cross.
Keflezighi’s 2016 Olympic marathon teammate Jared Ward will make his Bellin Run debut in 2017. Ward, who ran the race of his career to place sixth at the Rio games, is coached by five-time Bellin Run champion Ed Eyestone, who won consecutive titles in 1991 through 1995. Also vying for this year’s title will be four-time Bellin Run champion Allan Kiprono, who won the event in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015.
Other notable male competitors include Benson Cheruiyot, who placed third at the 2016 Bellin Run; and Sammy Rotich, a possible contender who ran 29:50 at Minnesota’s Get in Gear 10K earlier this year.
A talented elite women’s field will be looking to unseat 2016 women’s champ Risper Gesabwa, who last year continued a history making streak by winning her fifth straight Bellin Run. Gesabwa ran an impressive 34:19 during a hot and humid 2016 race to extend the streak she began in 2012. Other notable female competitors include Kaitlin Gregg Goodman, who will be running her second Bellin Run after finishing a close second to Gesabwa in 34:35 last year.
The 2017 Bellin Run elite field also will include a number of notable athletes, many of whom have stood atop the winner’s podium in past years. They include:
• Uta Pippig of Colorado: Female champion, 1995
o Pippig is a former Olympian who became a world-renowned runner as she won three consecutive Boston Marathons and also won the New York City Marathon.
• Joan Samuelson of Maine: Female champion, 1992, 1991, 1988, 1986
o Samuelson is a former U.S. Olympian who won the women’s marathon gold in 1984. Samuelson also has enjoyed success at non-marathon distances, winning the prestigious Falmouth Road Race (7.1 miles) a total of six times, breaking the course record on four of those occasions.
• Bill Rodgers of Massachusetts: Male champion, 1978
o Rodgers is perhaps best known for his four victories in the Boston Marathon, including three straight victories at Boston (1978-1980) and winning the New York City Marathon.
Although stocked with a significant field of elite athletes, the Bellin Run welcomes runners and walkers of all levels and abilities. Registrations for last year’s event neared the 17,000 mark. Registration is available online at www.bellinrun.com.
The registration fee for the Bellin Run is now $35 per person through Thursday, June 8, when online registration ends. In-person registration at the Friday, June 9 expo in Astor Park is $40.
The half-mile Children’s Run (ages 10 and younger) will take place at 6 p.m. Friday, June 9. The registration fee is $12 per participant through June 8, when online registration ends. In-person registration on Friday, June 9 will be $15 per participant.
Visit www.bellinrun.com for more information about this year’s race.