ALBANY, N.Y. (May 29, 2001) — Libbie Hickman, the defending Freihofer’s Run for Women champion, withdrew yesterday from the 5K National Championship & Fitness Run slated for Saturday, June 2 at 10:15 a.m.

According to Walter Hickman, Libbie’s coach and husband, Hickman pulled out because she is not in the type of competitive shape necessary to defend her crown this weekend.

“During last minute workouts over the Memorial Day weekend, Libbie realized she is not where she’d like to be to compete in a National event like Freihofer’s,” said Walter, explaining that Libbie has been fatigued since returning from last year’s Olympics in Sydney.

“She disappointed not to be coming back to run in Freihofer’s,” he added. “She loves coming to Albany and has been continuing to correspond via e-mail with students at Green Meadow School in East Greenbush over the past couple of months.”

With Hickman, the race’s clearcut favorite now absent, Saturday’s field is now “wide open,” said Run for Women Event Director George Regan.

“I’m very disappointed that we’ve lost our defending champion,” he said, “but her withdrawal now opens up our field for a number of other runner to shine like Blake Russell (2nd place finisher in 2000), Sylvia Mosqueda (3rd in 2000), and Laura Baker (5th in 2000).

“I’m excited, however, about this year’s master’s (over 40) race, which is certainly the best field we’ve ever assembled,” Regan added. “Joining our two-time defending champion Carmen Troncoso will be Judi St. Hilaire (2nd place master’s finisher in 2000, and open winner in ’89 and ’91), Joan Benoit-Samuelson (1984 women’s Olympic marathon gold medalist), Jane Welzel (’95 and ’96 master’s champion), as well as new master’s runners like Gordon Bakoulis and Sabrina Robinson.”

Those who’d like to sign up to run in the 2001 Freihofer’s Run for Women can still do so. Entries will be accepted from noon-9 p.m. Friday, June 1 at the Runner’s Expo, concourse level, Empire State Plaza.

For more information on the 2001 Freihofer’s Run for Women, Freihofer’s Community Walk and Freihofer’s Kids’ Run, call (518) 273-5552 or go to