WJTV News Channel 12 - Olympic hopefuls to run in Gasparilla Distance Classic

Olympic hopefuls to run in Gasparilla Distance Classic

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) - This weekend's Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic races will feature some elite American athletes. The Gasparilla Distance Classic Association decided to help bring the races into the national spotlight by offering American-only prize money.

A total of $30,000 dollars of this money will be handed out to the top five finishers. The overall winner will receive $8000. Second place receives $3500, and third, fourth and fifth places are awarded $2000, $1000 and $500 respectively.

Susan Harmeling, Race Director for the Gasparilla Distance Classic, said this prize money brought in eight women and eight men to run the half marathon race Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014.

"What they're trying to get into is the Olympic marathon trials which will take place at the LA marathon," said Harmeling.

The races also offer $10,000 in local prize money as well.

The Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic is Feb. 22 and 23. On Saturday, Feb. 22, runners in the 15K and 5K races will head down Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa. Sunday, Feb. 23, it is time for the half marathon and 8K.

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