by Philip Dunn, Race Walk Chairman
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - (January 23, 2005) - Sunny skies and warm temperatures welcomed a predominantly West Coast contingent of walkers to the 2005 season opener, the USATF 30 km Race Walk National Championships.
Despite several early East Coast entries, only one walker made it to Chula Vista after escaping the snow and winds that shut down most airports on Saturday.
Curt Clausen took a short break from his first year in law school at the University of Wisconsin to pound out a hotly contested win over Philip Dunn in the men's race. Clausen and Athens 50 km teammate Dunn spent the first 22 kilometers of the race chatting about old times and their upcoming 50 km National race in Florida.
With just four laps of the 2 km loop remaining, the race got serious. Dunn steadily applied the pressure, dropping the pace from just over 5:00 per km to 4:48, then 4:40, then 4:38. With 2 km to go, Clausen, who had been hanging on to the back of hard-pressing Dunn, made his move. Dunn would have none of it and they were even again approaching the final kilometer. With both athletes stride for stride and clearly beginning to labor, the pace dropped under 4:30/km. At the final turn with one kilometer to go, Clausen took the lead, threw in a quick surge and powered in for the win in 2:28:00. Dunn trailed him across the line at 2:28:12.
On the women's side, Arizona’s Heidi Hauch worked with Dorit Attias early before pulling away to a comfortable win. She took away the Open and Master's 30 km titles and two American Masters records in her 45-49 age group (25 km and 30 km). Attias came away with a pair of her own records for Israel at both the 25 km and 30 km distances.
The 10 km races were won by Chris Rael on the men's side and Margaret Ditchburn on the women's. The only entrant for 20 km was Kathy Frable.
Today's race was the first stop on the 2005 USA Racewalk Grand Prix circuit. The next races will be indoors in Lewisburg, PA on January 29 with a women's one mile and men's 3000 meter National Championships. More information is available at USATF Racewalk Grand Prix.
Complete results are at the 30 km Race Walk Official Site.