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USAT National Duathlon Festival To Start Saturday

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Some of the nation’s top age group multisport athletes will be among the record number of participants at the starting line of USA Triathlon’s 2010 Duathlon Age Group National Championship, the signature event of the USAT National Duathlon Festival, which opens Saturday in Richmond, Va.

Included in the record field of 1,257 in the Age Group National Championship will be 13 age group winners from the 2009 Richmond event who will be gunning for repeat national titles. This group includes the following multisport standouts:

Name, Hometown, 2009 Age Group, 2009 Time
· David Kyle, Athens, Ala., male physically challenged 2:42:36 (ITU World Championship silver medalist)
· Eneas Freyre, Norwalk, Conn., male 30-34, 1:50:22 (ITU World Championship bronze medalist)
· Amy Farrell, Saranac Lake, N.Y., female 30-34, 2:13:00
· Jeff Miller, Lewistown, Pa., male 40-44, 1:54:27 (ITU World Championship silver medalist)
· Kristin Villopoto, Chapel Hill, N.C., female 45-49, 2:11:32 (ITU World Championship silver medalist)
· Fred Galata, Omaha, Neb., male 55-59, 2:07:15
· Anne Mitchell, Bala Cynwyd, Pa., female 55-59, 2:31:01 (ITU World Championship gold medalist)
· Steve Ruckert, Woodbine, Md., male 60-64, 2:07:08 (ITU World Championship gold medalist)
· Anne Viviani, Arlington, Va., female 60-64, 2:51:28 (ITU World Championship silver medalist)
· James Girand, Palo Alto, Calif., male 70-74, 2:37:38
· Shannon Roggenbuck, Hillsborough, N.C., female 70-74, 3:17:57 (ITU World Championship silver medalist)
· Roger Brockenbrough, Pittsburgh, Pa., male 75-79, 2:35:47 (ITU World Championship gold medalist)
· Edwin Bixenstine, Kent, Ohio, male, 80-84, 3:07:14 (ITU World Championship gold medalist)

Of these 13 winners from last year, 10 went on to earn medals at the 2009 ITU Duathlon World Championships in Concord, N.C. Age group world champions from 2009 slated to compete in Richmond this weekend include Anne Mitchell, Steve Ruckert, Roger Brokenbrough, Edwin Bixenstine, Kelly Fillnow (Huntersville, N.C., female 25-29) and
Janet Howard (Clackamas, Ore., female 45-49).

Adding some star power to age group nationals will be Travel Channel host and NFL standout Dhani Jones, who comes to Richmond a week after the second season of his popular show, “Dhani Tackles the Globe,” premieres. The 32-year-old Maryland native has been an active player in the NFL since 2000, spending time with the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints and Cincinnati Bengals.

However, the Duathlon Age Group National Championship is just one of several races that comprise this exciting weekend of run-bike-run action, and nearly 1,800 participants have committed to toe the starting line over the course of the weekend. Complete event information and a schedule is available online at www.duathlonnationals.com.

“USA Triathlon is thrilled to bring the National Duathlon Festival back to Richmond,” said Jeff Dyrek, USAT’s national events director. “The Sports Backers and the local community have helped this event grow to new heights, and this has been an outstanding partnership. We’re looking forward to yet another great weekend of racing in Richmond.”

“The Sports Backers are excited to partner with USAT and are proud of the part they played in growing the sport of duathlon,” said Sports Backers executive director Jon Lugbill, the event organizer. “Before the event came to Richmond in 2007 there were less than 400 competitors. Now we have the largest duathlon in the country with nearly 1,800 participants.”

The two-day festival kicks off Saturday with the Youth On-Road National Race (1k-2.5k-1k) for ages 7-12 at noon, followed by the Off-Road Expert and Sport Races and Off-Road Duathlon Duo Relay (11k-21k-3.5k) at 1 p.m.

National titles will be on the line Sunday when the Age Group National Championship, which consists of a pair of 5-kilometer runs sandwiched around a 38-kilometer bike, kicks off at 7:30 a.m. Sunday’s slate also features the Junior National Championship (5k-13k-2.5k) at 10 a.m. and the Sport Race (5k-13k-2.5k) at 10:05 a.m. The three Sunday races are sold out, as registration was capped at a combined 1,500 participants.

Participants in the Age Group National Championship also will be gunning for spots on Team USA for the 2010 ITU Duathlon World Championships Sept. 3-5 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The festival drew a record number of more than 1,700 participants last year.

Weekend preview provided by USAT.