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Valley Runners Selected to Represent Their Cities in the Foot Locker City Challenge at P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon Posted 12/23/05, Runner's and Triathlete's Web News (

NEW YORK, December 23, 2005—What do an airline pilot, financial analyst, sales representative, law student, special education teacher, and office assistant all have in common? A love for running, of course. This diverse mix of runners, two each from Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe, will put their skills to the ultimate test as they vie for the Foot Locker City Challenge title at the 2006 P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon on Jan 15.

The six athletes have been selected by Foot Locker as representatives of their cities for this special "race within the race." The first runner from the group to cross the marathon finish line will become the Foot Locker City Challenge Champion, winning a Tiffany trophy, a $100 gift card from P.F. Chang's, a two-night stay at an Arizona resort, and city-wide bragging rights.

"We're excited to be part of the third annual P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon to highlight the perseverance and dedication of the average marathon runner," said Chad Smoak, senior vice president, retail brand marketing for Foot Locker, U.S.A. "We've chosen these runners to represent their communities and to create excitement for the marathon throughout Arizona."

All of the runners, who will each average a nine-minute mile, were strangers until they were selected for the Foot Locker City Challenge. In the weeks leading up to the marathon, the competitors, diverse in age and running experience, will meet to train, lend support and trade running tips.

"The Challenge offers runners a unique experience," said Smoak. "It's amazing to see the bond that forms between the runners, regardless of their differences in age and background."

The competitors, who applied at Foot Locker locations in the Valley of the Sun and on-line at the P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon web site, were selected based on several criteria including city residency and running background.

The Foot Locker City Challenge competitors are:

Phoenix: (Winner 2004, Mark Cosmas, 3:55:27)
Jeff Barrow, 37, Airline Pilot
Jeff began running in college to fulfill a physical education requirement. He started running marathons after he completed his first Ironman. Jeff decided to apply for the Foot Locker City Challenge after hearing about it from his good friend and last year's challenge winner, Lorraine Murrietta.

Damon Miller, 28, Financial Analyst
A few years ago, Damon began running when he realized that sitting at a desk all day was adding to his waistline. This will be Damon's first marathon, and he will be dedicating it to "Miles for Michael," a scholarship established in memory of his brother-in-law. Damon's cheering section will include family and friends traveling from around the country to Arizona, but most importantly his wife, Angie, whom he married in October.

Scottsdale: (2005 Winner, Lorraine Murrietta, 3:52:43)
Rob Gilmore, 38, Special Education Teacher
Rob has devoted his life to becoming a better husband, teacher, and father. Within the past year, he has also dedicated himself to leading a healthier lifestyle through running. More than 100 pounds lighter, his efforts have clearly paid off. He now enjoys having the energy to chase his children around the park, and has seen his passion for life return. Rob is a committed special education teacher and works with the Pat Tillman Foundation, an organization dedicated to carry on the legacy of the former Arizona Cardinal and U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan.

Michele Harrison, 37, Mother of four, Office Assistant and Assistant Cross Country Coach
Michele knows her husband and kids think she is crazy when she starts her day at 4 a.m. with her habitual running regimen, but they are also her biggest fans. Michele's love for running is shared with her students at Desert Mountain High School where she is the assistant cross-country coach. At this year's marathon, Michele is hoping to inspire her team and qualify for the Boston Marathon.

Ellen Stemmer, 25, Sales Representative
This year's P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon will be Ellen's first marathon. After completing last year's half marathon, Ellen knew she would attempt next year's full marathon. This is the first time in years that Ellen will run and compete with a team since her days as a two-time high school cross-country state finalist.

Sara Frisch, 26, ASU Law Student
As a law student, studying takes up most of Sara's time, but running is her time to focus on herself and collect her thoughts. She is a self-described running motivator, inspiring family members to run with her, and helping a friend lose more than 100 pounds by running. This year, Sara has convinced a group of ASU law students to participate in the P.F Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon and half marathon.

Foot Locker is part Foot Locker, Inc., an athletic specialty retailer that operates approximately 4,000 stores in 20 countries in North America, Europe and Australia. Through its Foot Locker, Footaction, Lady Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker and Champs Sports retail stores, as well as its direct-to-customer channel, the company is the leading provider of athletic footwear and apparel.

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