Friday, June 25, 2010

Brian Sell out of Rock 'n Roll Seattle Half Marathon...

SEATTLE--Olympian Brian Sell (left/file photo by Paul Merca), who was slated to race Saturday’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Half Marathon alongside three of his Hansons-Brooks teammates, announced on Thursday that he will not be competing at this weekend’s event.

“I had plans for it but the last month hasn’t been up to snuff for me,” Sell said via telephone from the pre-race expo, where he was signing autographs for fans. “I’m going to grad school in the beginning of August, so everything is on hold right now. I might get out and just jog it, but we’ll see.”

Sell, who finished 22nd overall at the Olympic Marathon in Beijing, was the 2006 USA Half Marathon Champion and has also been the USA 25K champion on three different occasions. After a successful professional career as the poster boy for the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project, he decided to enroll in dental school at Penn State this fall. Rumors of retirement surfaced, but he recently told competitor.com, “I took the winter off in Detroit and now I’m having a lot more fun with running. It is much more fulfilling now that the pressure is off and I’m just going to have fun and see what I can do.”

Among the key entries in the RnR Seattle Half Marathon is former South Kitsap HS & Washington State University standout Drew Polley, who made his pro debut at this race last year, finishing fourth overall. He followed up the performance making his marathon debut in November, finishing as the top American (8th overall) at Rock ‘n’ Roll San Antonio. At the Boston Marathon in April, Polley finished as the fifth-fastest American in 2:16:36, qualifying for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.

“It’s kind of nice for it to come full circle because this is where I kind of got my foot in the door last year and kind of got my name going within the elite running community,” said Polley. “I definitely would like to finish in the top 3 and I’d be pretty excited about that.”

Leading the international challenge is Andrew Letherby of Australia, who ran his 1:03:17 PR for the half-marathon last year in Japan. A frequent competitor on Australian world cross country and half-marathon teams, Letherby, 32, also represented his country at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, where he earned the marathon bronze medal.

“Seattle offers a challenging but enjoyable course which the athletes will relish and we’re delighted to attract such an intriguing men’s race in the half-marathon,” said athlete coordinator Matt Turnbull. “With a predominantly American field looking to run under 65:00, it’s certainly going to be tough to predict the winner.”

Competing in the women’s half-marathon is Mari Ozaki, who owns a marathon PR of 2:23:30 and has represented Japan at numerous World Championships. Ozaki will be challenged by Australian Benita Willis, who won the 2004 World Cross Country Championships. 2000 Olympic Marathon silver medalist Lidia Simon of Romania rounds out the international contenders coming off a fourth place finish at the Osaka Marathon in January, where she posted a time of 2:27:11.

The race begins Saturday at 7:00 am, and winds through the shores of Lake Washington before finishing at Qwest Field. Seattle residents are advised that certain streets may be closed during the running of the RnR Seattle Marathon and Half Marathon.

NOTE: Competitor.com, the web site of the owners of the Rock 'n Roll Seattle Marathon & Half-Marathon, contributed to this report.

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