The 2012 and 2013 USA Half Marathon Championships have been awarded to Duluth, USA Track & Field and Grandma’s Marathon-Duluth, Inc., announced today.

“We are excited to have Duluth play host to our USA Half Marathon Championships in 2012 and 2013,” said USATF CEO Doug Logan. “We look forward to working with Grandma’s Marathon to deliver what promises to be two great events in the city that will highlight the talents of our best runners.”

The men’s and women’s national half-marathon title races will be run in conjunction with the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon on June 16, 2012 and June 22, 2013.

“We could not be more elated to receive the bid for these events. Our proposal was an aggressive one, as our staff and board members believe this is an opportune time to invest the resources necessary to attract these premier running races to northeastern Minnesota,” said Scott Keenan, executive director of Grandma’s Marathon. “We are excited to showcase the city of Duluth and its unparalleled hospitality to the country’s best half-marathon runners.”

The bid includes a per year prize purse of $82,000, including first-place awards of $12,000 for the men’s and women’s champions.

Duluth has a strong history of hosting national championship events, including the 2003 and 2004 USA Women’s Half Marathon Championships. The 2003 race was won by Colleen De Reuck in a course record one hour, ten minutes — a mark that remains the fastest women’s time on the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon course. The race celebrates its 20th anniversary next month.

The city also hosted the 1987, 1990 and 1994 USA Women’s Marathon Championships as part of Grandma’s Marathon, currently the country’s 13th largest marathon.

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