Olympians, World Champions Highlight Teams for Inaugural Peachtree Cup

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ATLANTA – June 23, 2015 – Olympians, World Cross Country champions, national record-holders and former AJC Peachtree Road Race winners are among those named to the four international elite teams competing in the inaugural Peachtree Cup at the 2015 AJC Peachtree Road Race.

They will join captains Shalane Flanagan, Gebre Gebremariam, Daniele Meucci, and Yusuke Hasegawa on Team USA, Team Africa, Team Europe, and Team Asia. Representing nine countries and four continents, each team will line up on July 4 determined to prove the superiority of their combination of speed, strength, and racing tactics.

In the new competition, four international teams of six top athletes, including three men and three women, will race the clock and each other, vying for international bragging rights and a first-place prize of $42,000. Team members’ individual finish times will be added together, and the team with the fastest cumulative time will be declared the victor and earn the honor of being the first to have its name engraved on the Peachtree Cup trophy.

Led by Shalane Flanagan (Portland, OR), a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist who holds three American records, Team USA will feature:
Christo Landry (Bainbridge Island, WA), 29, winner of the 2014 AJC Peachtree Road Race and, along with it, the title of 2014 USA 10K Champion—one of three USA titles he won last year in addition to setting the American record (1:14:18) for 25K;
Bobby Curtis (Berkley, MI), 30, the 2008 NCAA Champion at 5000 meters who has represented the USA three times (2009, 2010, 2015) in the IAAF World Cross Country Championships;
Tyler Pennel (Blowing Rock, NC), 27, the 2014 USA Marathon Champion, runner-up in the 2014 AJC Peachtree Road Race and USA 10K Championships, and the 2012 NCAA Division II Champion at 10,000 meters;
Janet Bawcom (Flagstaff, AZ), 36, a 2012 Olympian at 10,000 meters who has won at least 10 USA titles on the roads since 2011—including the 2013 USA 10K title at the AJC Peachtree Road Race. A former resident of Rome, GA, she is the American record-holder at 10 miles (52:12); and
Rachel Ward (Charlottesville, VA), 25, fifth at 10,000 meters at the 2014 USATF Outdoor Championships before finishing third at the AJC Peachtree Road Race, putting her on the podium for the USA 10K Championships.

Joining Team Africa captain Gebre Gebremariam, the 2009 IAAF World Cross Country Champion and 2010 New York City Marathon winner from Ethiopia, is a roster of top stars, including:
Sammy Kitwara of Kenya, 28, the 2010 Half-Marathon World Championships bronze medalist, whose personal best of 58:48 at that distance puts him at #5 on the world all-time list, while his personal best of 27:11 at 10K ties him for #7 all-time. A two-time winner of the AJC Peachtree Road Race, his time of 27:22 in 2009 is the second-fastest in the history of the race;
Lusapho April of South Africa, 33, who represented his country at the 2012 Olympics before winning the 2013 Hannover Marathon and finishing third in the 2013 New York City Marathon;
Werknesh Kidane of Ethiopia, 33, the 2003 World Cross Country Champion whose eight career medals at that competition are the most of any female in history. She has twice finished in fourth place, just out of the medals, at 10,000 meters in the Olympic Games (2004, 2012), and her personal best of 30:07.15 ranks her #8 on the all-time list. The 2011 AJC Peachtree Road Race winner, she is married to the team captain, who won here in 2010;
Lineth Chepkurui of Kenya, 27, who has finished in the top 10 three times in the World Cross Country Championships (2009, 2010, 2011) and is a three-time winner of the AJC Peachtree Road Race (2009, 2010, 2013). Her winning time of 30:51 in 2010 is the second-fastest women’s time in the history of the race; and
Buze Diriba of Ethiopia, 21, the 2012 World Junior Champion at 5000 meters who just a year later finished fifth at the 2013 World Championships.

Team Europe, under the leadership of Italy’s Daniele Meucci, the 2014 European Champion in the marathon, will feature:
El Hassane Ben Lkhainouch of France, 34, the 2014 National Champion at 10,000 meters in a personal best 28:29.49;
Stepan Kiselev of Russia, 28, the 2008 Under-23 National Champion at 10,000 meters and a two-time runner-up at 5000 meters at the national championships;
Alyson Dixon of Great Britain, 36, the 2013 National Champion at 10,000 meters who helped Team Great Britain to a silver medal at the 2013 European Cup 10,000-meter Championships. She has twice represented Great Britain at the World Cross Country Championships;
Christelle Daunay of France, 40, the 2014 European Marathon Champion who owns national records at five distances: 10,000 meters, 15K, 20K, half marathon, and marathon. She has run for France at nine different World Championships and at the 2008 Olympics; and
Elena Nagovitsyna of Russia, 32, a 2012 Olympian at 5000 meters and a three-time National Champion.

Team Asia captain Yusuke Hasegawa of Japan will lead a young squad that hopes to use its Peachtree Cup experience, where it will be challenged by many of the top runners in the world, as a major steppingstone toward success on the international stage. The team includes:
Yusuke Mita of Japan, 25, a member of the Waseda University relay team that in 2011 set a course record in winning the prestigious Hakone Ekiden, who represented Japan in the 2008 World Junior Championships at 10,000 meters;
Yuichiro Ogawa of Japan, 28, who also has specialized in Ekiden, the long-distance relay races revered in Japan;
Yuika Mori of Japan, 27, who won the 2015 10K Corporate Championships and represented her country in the 2014 Continental Cup;
Shiho Takechi of Japan, 24, the runner-up at 10,000 meters in the 2014 national championships who made her marathon debut at the Nagoya Marathon in March, finishing in 2:31:18; and
Haruna Takada of Japan, 25, who also made her marathon debut earlier this year in Nagoya, finishing in 2:31:23.

The 2015 AJC Peachtree Road Race will have a total prize purse of $98,500, with $81,000 of that amount set aside for the team competition. The remaining prize money will be awarded to individuals in the men’s and women’s open and masters races.

The 46th running of the AJC Peachtree Road Race will take place on Saturday, July 4, 2015. The AJC Peachtree Road Race is the world’s largest 10K, with 60,000 participants.

Additional details about the 2015 AJC Peachtree Road Race are available at peachtreeroadrace.org.

About Atlanta Track Club
Atlanta Track Club is a nonprofit committed to creating an active and healthy Atlanta. Through running and walking, Atlanta Track Club motivates, inspires and engages the community to enjoy a healthier lifestyle. With more than 21,000 members, Atlanta Track Club is the second largest running organization in the United States. In addition to the AJC Peachtree Road Race (peachtreeroadrace.org) – the largest 10K running event in the world, the Atlanta 10 Miler and Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon, Atlanta Track Club directs more than 30 events per year. Through the support of its members and volunteers, Atlanta Track Club also maintains a number of community initiatives including organizing and promoting the Kilometer Kids youth running program to metro Atlanta youth, honoring high school cross country and track and field athletes through Atlanta Track Club’s All-Metro Banquets and supporting the Grady Bicycle EMT program. For more information on Atlanta Track Club, visit atlantatrackclub.org.

About the AJC Peachtree Road Race
The AJC Peachtree Road Race is a 10K event that takes place every Fourth of July in Atlanta, Georgia. The first Peachtree was held in 1970 and featured 110 finishers. The AJC Peachtree Road Race is now the largest 10K running event in the world with 60,000 participants. The AJC Peachtree Road Race is perhaps most famous for the coveted AJC Peachtree Road Race T-shirt, which is handed out to all the event finishers. For more information on the AJC Peachtree Road Race visit peachtreeroadrace.org or AJC.com/peachtree.

About The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is the leading source – both in print and online – of news, information and advertising for metropolitan Atlanta, reaching a total print and online audience of 1.5 million people each week. Every month, nearly 4.1 million unique visitors access the newspaper’s websites, including AJC.com and accessatlanta.com. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is part of Cox Media Group, a publishing, digital media and broadcasting subsidiary of Atlanta-based Cox Enterprises.