Mar. 4, 2014
For immediate release

Conley continues top efforts; Biwott earns World team spot

Kim Conley stormed her way onto the 2012 U.S. Olympic team, her memorable surge down the stretch in Eugene sending her on a trip to London.

Shadrack Biwott delivered an impressive series of performances in 2013, his consistent high finishes in national championships earning him the USA Running Circuit title.

The Sacramento Running Association Elite Team standouts grabbed national attention thanks in part to financial support from the SRA, which hopes for similar success from its athletes in 2014.

The early returns look promising.

Biwott qualified for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials with a 1:01:56 effort in the USA Half Marathon Championships and earned a spot on the U.S. team for the World Half Marathon Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark on March 29.

SRA teammate Daniel Tapia (1:04:32), the 2012 California International Marathon winner, and SRA newcomer Anthony Solis (1:04:35) also qualified for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in the USA Half Marathon Championships.

The SRA’s Natasha LaBeaud qualified for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials by winning the Carlsbad Half Marathon in 1:14:17. Lea Wallace finished first in the Coronado Valentine’s Day 10k with a 35:02 effort, with SRA teammate Danielle Domenichelli grabbing third place in 36:02.

Conley, who finished third in the 5,000 meters at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in 2012 with a 15:19.79 effort, opened her season with a personal best 2:05.92 performance in the 800 meters. She also capped a strong indoor season by winning the 2,000 meters at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston (5:41.10) and the 3,000 meters at the Millrose Games in New York (8:48.35) earlier this month.

SRA teammate Michelle La Sala, the race director for the California International Marathon, the Super Sunday Run and the Credit Union SACTOWN Ten-Mile Run, delivered a personal best 2:59:35 at the Houston Marathon.

The SRA Elite Team also stood out at the NorCal John Frank Memorial Run, winning the women’s team title and finishing second on the men’s side. SRA standout Jane Kibii won the women’s 10-mile race in 58:42, with Tori Tyler second in 1:00:04 and Domenichelli fourth in 1:01:25. The SRA men grabbed four of the top 10 spots, with Tim Tollefson fourth in 51:21, Charlie Brenneman fifth in 51:45, Kevin Pool seventh in 52:09 and Cheyne Inman ninth in 52:35.

“I think it’s going to be a good year,” said Pool, the SRA’s Technical Director who manages the Elite Team and also competes for it.

SRA athletes hope to shine at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, set for June 26-29 at Sacramento State’s Hornet Stadium.

Based on their performances in the past two seasons, Conley and Biwott should be in the mix for top finishes.

Conley, a former UC Davis standout, followed her Trials effort with a personal best 15:14.48 performance at the 2012 Olympic Games. She then finished second in the U.S. Cross Country Championships.

Biwott earned his national road racing title by finishing second in the U.S. National Road Racing Championship 12k (34:35) and the USA 20k Championship and with third-place finishes at the USA Marathon Championships, the USA Half Marathon Championships and the USA 10k Championships.

SRA Executive Director Ellen Moore said the Elite Team has been a big success.

“The SRA could not be more proud of what our SRA Elite athletes have accomplished both as individuals and as a team,” she said. “These athletes are great ambassadors for the Sacramento Running Association and the Sacramento running community as a whole. The success they have had in local, regional, national and international competition is a testament to the work they put in day in and day out right here in this region on the wonderful trails we all have access to.

“The SRA is very proud to be able to make a positive impact on these athletes’ lives as they work towards their goals. We look forward to another successful year on the roads, the trails and on the track!”

Pool hopes to send a team to the U.S. Cross Country Club Championships in December as part of an effort to help SRA athletes reach their competitive potential.

Sometimes the behind-the-scenes things, like paying for travel expenses and race entry fees, have a big impact.

“I think it makes a huge difference for the athletes,” said Pool, who finished 18th in the 2013 Boston Marathon with a 2:18:59 performance. “I take care of a lot of the details: travel, entries. It takes a little bit of a burden off of them. Especially if you’re just out of college, it makes a huge difference to have some financial support to get to races you need to be in.

“We’ve helped a lot of people. They’ve really been able to take their running to the next level, compete at a higher level than before. A lot of that is giving them support and peace of mind and making sure they’re in the right races.

“If you’re not able to get in a race to test yourself against the right competition, you’re not going to know what you’re capable of doing.”

The Sacramento Running Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding ways to encourage people of all ages and abilities to run. The SRA is committed to developing new, quality running events that appeal to a broad variety of runners.