ATLANTA - May 7, 2015 - An Olympic medalist and a pair of top marathon champions are among the captains named today for the four international elite teams set to compete for the inaugural Peachtree Cup at this year"�s AJC Peachtree Road Race
In the Peachtree Cup, Team USA will face Team Africa, Team Asia and Team Europe. Each team will consist of six athletes, including three men and three women, vying for international bragging rights and a first-place prize of $42,000 for the winning team. The team members"� individual finish times will be added together and the team with the fastest cumulative time will win the Peachtree Cup at the AJC Peachtree Road Race on July 4.
Leading Team USA will be Shalane Flanagan, a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist at 10,000 meters who owns three American records, including 10,000 meters on the track (30:22.22) and 15K on the roads (47:00). In 2014, Flanagan ran the fastest time in history in the Boston Marathon by an American woman (2:22:02) after boldly leading for the first 19 miles. The 33-year-old lowered her personal best later last year when she finished third at the 2014 BMW Berlin Marathon in 2:21:14 - making her the second-fastest American woman in history.
"�Putting on a Team USA uniform always brings out the best in me, and that will count double on the Fourth of July,' said Flanagan. "�It"�s a day of national pride for America, and our team will definitely want to provide some early fireworks.'
Selected as captain of Team Africa is Gebre Gebremariam of Ethiopia, the 2009 World Cross Country Champion. Gebremariam, 30, followed that victory up with a win at the 2010 New York City Marathon, and has seen success at this race, as well.
"�Ever since winning the AJC Peachtree Road Race in 2010, I have been looking forward to running again in front of the great Atlanta fans,' said Gebremariam. "�To come back as captain of Team Africa makes my return even better. We have a lot of good runners in Africa, you know, so our team should give the fans much excitement.'
A four-time medalist at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, often considered the toughest competition in the sport, Gebremariam finished third in the 2011 Boston Marathon in a personal best of 2:04:53.
At the helm of Team Europe will be Daniele Meucci of Italy, the 2014 European Champion in the marathon. Meucci, 29, is also a three-time European Championships medalist at shorter distances, and competed in the 2012 Olympics at 10,000 meters. He ran his 10K personal best of 28:19 last year in New York City.
"�Running in the United States always seems to bring out the best in me,' said Meucci, who has also run personal bests at the half marathon and 10,000 meters on the track in this country. "�Thus I look forward to bringing out the best in my teammates in leading Team Europe to a strong performance.'
And leading Team Asia is Yusuke Hasegawa of Japan. Hasegawa, 26, was the 2008 National University Champion at 1500 meters while competing for Jobu University, and finished fourth in the prestigious All-Japan Corporate Championships at 5000 meters in 2011. He has a personal best of 27:50.64 at 10,000 meters on the track.
"�As captain of the team from Asia, I promise to give my hardest effort to secure the Peachtree Cup,' Hasegawa said. "�It will not be easy, but I have confidence that, working together, we will be strong and so will bring my region great honor.'
The 2015 AJC Peachtree Road Race will have a total prize purse of $98,500, with $81,000 of that amount set aside for the team competition. The remaining prize money will be awarded to individuals in the men"�s and women"�s open and masters races.
The 46th running of the AJC Peachtree Road Race will take place on Saturday, July 4, 2015. The AJC Peachtree Road Race is the world"�s largest 10K, with 60,000 participants.
Additional details about the 2015 AJC Peachtree Road Race are available at peachtreeroadrace.org