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Posted: September 2, 2014  

Athletics: Dathan Ritzenhein Leads U.S. Men at Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon

Three-time U.S. Olympian joins other American stars Deena Kastor, Kara Goucher and Bernard Lagat at 2014 Rock 'n' Roll Running Festival Philadelphia

Previously announced two-time defending champion Stanley Biwott pulls out with injury

2014 Marks 37th Running of Prestigious Road Race, Site of Five World Records, Five American Records and home of the Current Men's and Women's U.S. All-Comer's Records

Philadelphia, PA: September 2, 2014 - Three-Time U.S. Olympian and 2009 IAAF World Half-Marathon bronze medalist Dathan Ritzenhein ("Ritz") will lead the U.S. men at the 2014 Rock 'n' Roll Running Festival Philadelphia on September 19-21, 2014. The event, now in its 37th year and renowned throughout the world, is known for its record performances as the scene of five world records, five U.S. marks and numerous age-group records.

Ritz joins a weekend line up of world-class athletes in Philadelphia this year. The men's half-marathon field includes Kenyans Geoffrey Mutai, Cyprian Kotut and Bedan Karoki, who have all run under an hour for the distance. The women's race will feature the two fastest Americans at the half-marathon (13.1 miles) distance in history Deena Kastor and Kara Goucher. Headlining Saturday's first ever Rock 'n' Roll 5k is U.S. Olympian Bernard Lagat, one of the world's all-time great distance runners.

"Philadelphia is one of the most famous half-marathons in the U.S. and we have a world-class field to match a world-class event," said Matthew Turnbull, Elite Athlete Coordinator for the event. "While it's a shame we've lost our defending champion Stanley Biwott to injury, Geoffrey is training well in defense of his New York Marathon title and he knows it's going to be a fast race. Dathan is headlining for the Americans in the men's race, he's healthy and has run well here before."

Ritz owns an impressive 2:07:47 marathon personal best set at the Chicago Marathon in 2012. The former American record holder at 5000m, recently moved back to his home state of Michigan from Portland, where had trained as part of the Nike Oregon Project since 2009. Back healthy after a groin injury, which forced him to withdraw from the Boston Marathon earlier this year, Ritz recently clocked 49:12 at the Crim Festival of Races and heads to Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia looking to run fast.

"I look forward to returning to Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia," said Ritz, who finished third at the race in 2012 with a time of 1:00:57. "Philly is a good, fast course and a great option for me to get in a really good race. I know I probably won't be as fit as I was when I ran 60:57, but it will be the first real race of the year where I can go in and think about racing and try to beat people."

Other American's highlighting the men's field includes ASICS Mammoth Track Club teammates Shadrack Biwott (61:25), Gabe Proctor (61:40) and Scott Bauhs (61:30). Biwott and Proctor have run two of the top-5 fastest half-marathons of the year by Americans, and Bauhs recently recorded a top-5 finish at the U.S. 20k Championships in New Haven. Among the other highly touted U.S. athletes are Jeffrey Eggleston (63:00), who recently set a new marathon PR of 2:10.52 at the Gold Coast marathon in July, Tyler McCandless (63:16), Stephen Pifer, (63:44) and Andy Wacker (63:25).

"I think Philadelphia's reputation as a fast course combined with the perfect time of year makes it a race that U.S. athletes see as competitive and they'll be able to come and run a fast time," added Turnbull.

For the first time in 2014, race weekend in Philadelphia will include two days of running with a Rock 'n' Roll 5k event taking place on Saturday and half-marathon on Sunday to create a running festival weekend. While Lagat will be running competitively, both Eggleston and Wacker will join Kastor and Goucher to lead pace groups for the 3.1-mile event as a shakeout run. Runners who complete Saturday's 5k and Sunday's half-marathon will earn the special "Remix Challenge" medal for participating in both events.

Both events will begin at 8:00am, starting and finishing at Eakins Oval directly in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The half-marathon course remains flat and fast beginning on Benjamin Franklin Parkway, surrounded by stunning views of the city skyline, running through the historical Center City, past Independence Hall and along the scenic Schuylkill River. After crossing the finish line, runners will join family and friends to celebrate their accomplishment at the concert headlined by Rusted Root.

To register for the event or for more information, please visit .RunRocknRoll.com.

Start of Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia. (Credit PhotoRun.net)

About Rock 'n' Roll Running Festival Philadelphia
A Competitor event, the 2014 Rock 'n' Roll Running Festival will welcome more than 20,000 participants to Philadelphia the weekend of September 19-21. The festival weekend includes two days of running, a Rock 'n' Roll 5k on Saturday and one of the world's most prestigious road races on Sunday, the Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon. The race is home of five World Records, five American records and the current men's and women's U.S. all-comers' records. Both races start and finish in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and feature live bands performing along the course, with a beer garden and concert at the finish line.

Festival weekend kicks off on Friday, September 19 with a free two-day Health & Fitness Expo at Philadelphia Convention Center. Over the 17-year history of the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series, charity participants have raised more than $300 million for a variety of worthy causes and nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit RunRocknRoll.com or follow @RunRocknRoll on Twitter.


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