By Chris Lotsbom
(13-Feb) -- Today in New York City, USA Track & Field announced the launching of the .US National Road Racing Championships for the fall of 2013, a single event sponsorship that is the biggest for the national governing body in over a decade, at least in road running. Today's announcement begins a three-year partnership between USA Track & Field and Neustar, the administrator of the .US top-level domain name.
Both USATF and Neustar hope to initiate and develop the 12-kilometer .US National Road Racing Championships into a mass-participation event. The event will be a season-capping race to the USA Running Circuit (USARC), a series of races that provides hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money to American runners each year. A combined $100,000 prize purse for men and women will be offered at the event; a date, location, and course for the inaugural race will be announced in the coming weeks, USA Track & Field officials said.
"The .US brand is a perfect fit with USA Track & Field," said USATF CEO Max Siegel in a prepared statement. "We have been impressed by the organization's commitment to our sport and, especially, this race. They are eager to engage all segments of the long-distance running community, from lifestyle runners to our elite athletes. We thank them for their support and for helping us launch this exciting new event."
Neustar, an information and analytics company based in Northern Virginia, has provided domain name registry services, critical infrastructure services, and policy expertise for .US on behalf of the United States Department of Commerce. The .US domain name is the official country code for the United States.
"As the administrator of .US, Neustar is proud to support the .US National Road Racing Championships," said Alex Berry, senior vice president of Enterprise Services at Neustar. "With this partnership, we envision all national enthusiasts, such as USATF members, running clubs, elite athletes, and the running community having their own .US website. Runners can track and share their training routines, race times, upcoming races, network and more with .US – America's top level domain."
The .US National Road Racing Championships will be the first wholly owned-and-operated road race by USA Track & Field (other USA championships are funded and organized locally). USATF will oversee the race championships, which will crown a national champion and "embrace non-competitive fitness devotees to share in the excitement of a truly national running event."
"Of the 14 million road racing finishers annually in this country, the vast majority are running for something other than prize money or Olympic medals," said USATF's Siegel. "This race is their race, and USATF is their organization. With the support of Neustar, we will be able to reach out to a full cross-section of runners like never before."
Olympic bronze medalist and USATF Board of Directors member Deena Kastor believes the new event will be beneficial and positive for all runners.
"This is a very exciting day for professional runners and weekend warriors alike," said Kastor, who has competed in three Olympic Games and won a bronze medal in 2004 in the marathon. "Having partners with a broad vision like Neustar is so important for the vast community of runners in the United States, and I look forward to a long legacy of success for this race."
The .US National Road Racing Championships will include an event website, beginners' training program, community outreach and a national webcast. The .US National Road Racing Championships will be the overall road running championship race, and place-finish points will count triple toward USARC standings.