August 8, 2005—The Professional Road Running Organization (PRRO) circuit events will initiate in-competition drug testing at its events beginning in 2006. The events include the World’s Best 10k in San Juan, Puerto Rico (Feb. 26), Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile in Washington, DC (Apr. 2), Lilac Bloomsday 12k in Spokane, WA (May 7), Peachtree Road Race 10k, site of the PRRO Championship, in Atlanta, GA (July 4), and the Boilermaker 15k in Utica, NY on July 9.
“We heard the concerns of elite athletes about wanting a level playing field in the sport of long distance running. This action brings that goal closer,” said PRRO President Julia Emmons after the organization’s Board Meeting in July. “We encourage other events to join us in being pro-active in this area.”
PRRO will engage the United States Anti-doping Agency (USADA) to test selected athletes who earn prize money. PRRO event organizers are funding the testing program themselves but will be contracting USADA to conduct testing in accordance with the International Standards of Doping Control.
The PRRO Board also announced a restructuring of its circuit bonus over the next two years. For 2006, any athlete winning the World’s Best 10k, Credit Union Cherry Blossom, Lilac Bloomsday 12k and the Peachtree Road Race will earn a $19,000 bonus (split if a man and a woman win all four races in the same year). In 2005, Kenyan John Korir won the first three races before missing a chance to collect the bonus when visa problems kept him from competing at Peachtree.
The major change will take place for what will be known as the “2006-2007 PRRO Championship Season” that will commence with the 2006 Boilermaker Road Race and conclude with the 2007 Peachtree Road Race. During this period, any athlete winning two races from the first four events – the 2006 Boilermaker 15k, the 2007 World’s Best 10k, the 2007 Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile and the 2007 Lilac Bloomsday 12k – plus the 2007 Peachtree Road Race 10k (three events overall) will earn the cumulative circuit purse. If no athlete claims the purse in 2006, the 2006-2007 purse will be $24,000. The new format means an athlete only needs to win two of the first four events plus the championship, and it opens the possibility of two athletes with two wins each in the other four races battling it out at the championship in Atlanta for the bonus. “This is the type of exciting international competition that the PRRO Circuit has prided itself on over the years,” Emmons said. With five races now participating, the bonus pool will increase by $5,000 each year.
The PRRO Circuit represents some of the most competitive non-marathon elite competitions in the U.S. It encourages competition among athletes of all nations. The 2005 circuit featured over $800,000 in prize money and bonuses and attracted over 130,000 participants.
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