Oregon Twilight Women's 5K Welcomes International-Class Field

May 11, 2001

EUGENE - Several top international and national women's distance runners will travel Saturday (5/12) to Hayward Field for the Oregon Twilight Women's 5K, likely making it one of the fastest on U.S. soil this season.

Headlining the field, Japanese entrant Michiko Shimizu (Recruit Running Club) is a two-time Olympian, including a fourth-place finish in the 5,000 at the 1996 Atlanta Olympiad. In Sydney last September, she finished 10th in her opening section of the 5,000, before ending the year with a season best of 15:21.04. Overall, her career personal bests are 4:13.00 (1,500), 8:52.06 (3,000) and 15:09.05 (5,000), and she also competed at the 1995 and 1999 World Championships.

Other notable international entries include Una English (Ireland, 15:26.69 PR from 2000), Robyn Meagher (Pacific Storm-Canada, 15:44.97 PR from 2000, and a 4:13.33 1,500 PR from her April Oregon Invite win), and Courtney Babcock (Mountain West Track Club-Canada, 15:34.29 PR from 2000).

Many of America's best will also toe the starting line, including two Eugene favorites - Annette Peters (Asics) and Clare Taylor (Asics).

Peters was a 1992 Olympian and a 1991, 1993 and 1999 World Championships qualifier. Last season, she finished fifth in the U.S. Olympic Trials in Sacramento in the 10,000 (32:09.49) and 10th in the 5,000 (15:37.99). The former University of Wisconsin NCAA champion Taylor finished sixth in the 5K at the Olympic Trials (PR 15:30.44) and missed the Olympic team by one spot.

This season, Peters and Taylor finished fourth and sixth, respectively, in the 8K at February's U.S. Cross Country Championships in Vancouver, Wash., then followed with 53rd and 42nd-place finishes in the World Championships in March.

A pair of fast-improving Americans - Sarah Toland (Nike) and Jenny Crain (Adidas) - were close behind at Feburary's U.S. 8K harrier finale, and took eighth and 10th, respectively. On the outdoor oval this season, the pair have already lowered their 5K personal bests to 15:59.58 and 15:48.88, respectively.

Another American duo to watch include Collette Liss (Indiana Invaders) and Blake Russell (New Balance).

Liss claimed the 2001 U.S. indoor mile crown (4:35.24), and was a 2000 and 2001 World Cross Country Championships qualifier in the 4K. On the track last summer, she finished seventh in the 1,500 and 12th in the 5K at the Olympic Trials, and by season's end, had improved her personal bests to 4:11.24 (1,500), 8:58.47 (3K) and 15:49.85 (5K). Russell ranked sixth in the U.S. in the 10K last season (32:16.33) and ninth in the 5K (15:21.37), and finished seventh and 11th, respectively at the Olympic Trials.

Other entrants in Saturday's race include Jennifer Hillier (Asics, 19th in 2001 U.S. 8K XC champs), Rebecca Moore (OSU Track Club), and former University of Washington NCAA participant Margaret Butler (Kajaks Track Club-Canada).

The other headlining event, the men's Bill McChesney Jr. Memorial Twilight Mile, closes the evening at 8 p.m. and features Jason Pyrah (HSI). The two-time Olympian will defend his title from last year (3:57.63) against two other sub-4 finishers from a year ago - South Africa's Clyde Colenso (second, 3:58.49) and unattached entrant and Oregonian Mike Miller (fifth, 3:59.86).

The women's 5K is the penultimate event and set for a 7:40 p.m. Saturday's first field event, the men's and women's hammer, begins at 4:30 p.m., with the first running event, the women's 100 hurdles, scheduled for 5:40 p.m.

Reserved tickets for the meet are $6, with general admission tickets $5 for adults, and $3 for kids high school age or younger and senior citizens 62 or older. The Bowerman Building ticket window will open at 3:30 p.m., an hour before the first event.

Saturday's tickets also are good for Saturday's softball games with Stanford (or vice versa) at nearby Howe Field. The doubleheader with the No. 3-ranked Cardinal starts at noon.

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