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Cox Breaks American 50K Record

January 18, 2009
|  Phoenix, Ariz.
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Josh Cox (left) poses with Tracy Sundlun (Vice President of Elite Racing) after breaking the American 50K record on Sunday.

Josh Cox (left) poses with Tracy Sundlun (Vice President of Elite Racing) after breaking the American 50K record on Sunday.

Josh Cox, a 1998 Liberty graduate, is now an American record holder. Cox set a new American 50K (approximately 31 miles) standard at this morning's P.F. Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon in Phoenix. Cox's time of 2:47:17 sliced more than four and a half minutes off the existing record, which had stood for nearly seven years.

The 33-year-old Cox, who has competed in each of the last three U.S. Olympic Trials marathons, finished ninth in Sunday's marathon with a time of 2:20:29. Unlike the top eight finishers, Cox did not stop at the finish line. He ran to nearby Arizona State University, completing the remainder of his 50K at the Sun Angel Stadium track.

Cox, who admittedly struggled throughout the second half of the race, was able to regroup and clock 71 seconds on his 19th and final lap around the track to take down Alex Tilson's American record time of 2:51:48.

Now living in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., and training alongside American distance standouts Ryan Hall and Meb Keflezighi, Cox gained his first taste of ultra-marathon running while still a Liberty student. He set a course record of 6:57:10 while winning the 1997 Mountain Masochist 50-Mile Trail Run.

Cox also enjoyed success in both track & field and cross country during his time as a Liberty Flame. He was a four-time Big South champion, capturing back-to-back conference cross country crowns in 1995 and 1996. Cox was also the Big South outdoor titlist at 1,500 meters in 1997 and took the indoor 5,000-meter conference championship the following year.