For Immediate Release                      
Tuesday June 14, 2012
Contact:  Dave Watt (703-731-3429)

dave@americanrunning.org

Legendary U.S. distance runner Craig Virgin to Hit Trails of Northern Virginia

 Casual "Meet & Greet" near Lake Accotink Trail Alexandria VA -

 Craig Virgin, a dominant force on the track, roads and trails in the 1970s and 1980s, comes to Northern Virginia at 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 16, for a meet-and-run at Wakefield Park in Annandale. He is the only American ever to win a World Cross Country championship (he won two, in 1980 and 1981) and to qualify for three Olympic Games in the 10,000 meters.

Virgin is being hosted by the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon and American Running Association in their effort to bring legends of the sport to today’s running enthusiasts.

Virgin will open with remarks about his long and illustrious career, including his trials and tribulations as a professional distance runner in a sport under transition from amateur status to professionalism. He will be available for pictures and autographs before departing for a short run on the beautiful trails around Lake Accotink.

“Most of us hard-core running kids had more than a few pictures of Craig hanging on our walls,” said Wilson Bridge Half Event Director Steve Nearman. “He was like a rock star to many of us. My favorite was a pic of Craig and other top runners in an international cross country meet head-to-toe covered in mud. That was so inspiring to see his successes on the world scene.”

A seven-time U.S. record holder in road and track events, including a 27:39.4 in the 10,000 meters in 1979 (breaking Steve Prefontaine's U.S. record), Virgin scorched a 27:29.16 in 1980 that was the second-fastest 10,000 meters in history at the time. All this despite having been born with a congenital urological disease.

Virgin took titles at nearly all the top professional road races like Falmouth, Peachtree and Bay to Breakers, and was runner-up at the 1981 Boston Marathon in 2:10:26.

But he never could medal at the Olympics, as he was eliminated in the 10,000-meter heats at both the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics and the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics. He watched from the sidelines during the 1980 Olympics due to the U.S. boycott, all the more frustrating as 10 days prior he ran the second-fastest 10,000 meter race in history.

Virgin retired from competitive racing in 1992. Five year later, Virgin was involved in a head-on car collision where he almost died from his injuries. After physical therapy and eight operations in the two years following the accident, Virgin began running again.

In 2001, he was inducted into the National Distance Running Hall of Fame, and in 2011 inducted into the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame. Also in 2011, he was inducted into the National USA Track & Field Hall of Fame, after being selected in 2010.

About the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon – the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon is a 13.1- mile professional footrace from Mount Vernon, VA to National Harbor, MD. The race is sanctioned by USA Track and Field and the course is certified by USATF. See www.wilsonbridgehalf.com

About American Running Association - The American Running Association (ARA) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1968 to promote healthy living and active lifestyles among all Americans. It is dedicated to increasing the physical activity of America's youth through events like running the mile and youth cross country. ARA supports runners through education and specialized programs, as well as encouraging all individuals from youths to adults to run and be fit. For more information about the ARA or to learn more about the Walk and Run programs, visit www.americanrunning.org.

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Legendary U.S. distance runner Craig Virgin to Hit Trails of Northern Virginia