ATLANTA – Deep and talented fields led to thrilling finishes Sunday morning at the USATF 10 km Championships presented by Toyota, as Sara Hall earned her eleventh USATF Running Circuit title, while Sam Chelanga earned his sixth USATF title.
Race highlights and coverage of the USATF 10 km Championships, hosted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race, are available and can be viewed with a +PLUS subscription on USATF.TV. Join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #USARC.
As the gun sounded Sunday morning, the women’s field packed together, with all of the pre-race contenders sitting at the front. Olympian Aliphine Tuliamuk, teammate Stephanie Bruce, Hall, and Emily Durgin led the charge early on, leading a pack of ten women through the two mile mark.
Emily Durgin, Sara Hall and Annie Frisbee, photo by Paul Ward.
Just past the half way point, as the runners climbed Cardiac Hill, it was Durgin and Hall, trailed by Annie Frisbie, that started to pull away from Diane Nukuri, Bruce and Tuliamuk. The gap grew over the next mile, with Durgin and Hall taking turns pushing the pace.
With just under two miles to go, Durgin and Hall put a small gap on Frisbie, a gap Frisbie would never be able to make up.
As Durgin and Hall entered the final mile, Hall started to put in one final surge, which Durgin tried valiantly to cover. The two ran stride for stride until Hall slowly started to pull away and as the finish came into view, it was Hall who maintained her pace, pulling away and crossing the line victoriously in 31:41, while Durgin held on to finish second in 31:49. Frisbie concluded her incredible day in Atlanta in third in 32:06.
Durgin’s runner-up effort earned her another 12 points in the USATF Running Circuit standings. Her performance in Atlanta moves her into the top spot with 22 points, giving her a nice lead over second place runners Emily Sisson, Rachel Schneider, and Hall, who all have 15 points to their names.
Nukuri, Bruce, and Tuliamuk would finish in their own pack. Nukuri grabbed fourth place overall in 32:27, just ahead of Bruce in fifth in 32:35. Tuliamuk finished well to finish sixth in 32:43, while Lauren Hurley maintained form over the final mile to finish seventh in 32:54.
Rounding out the top ten, Susanna Sullivan couldn’t quite close the gap on Hurley and the chase group, but she finished a strong eighth place in 33:02, well ahead of the rest of the field. Maegan Krifchin took home ninth place overall in 33:39, while Bria Wetsch earned tenth in 33:43.
The men’s race started in similar fashion, with a large pack running together early on. Olympians Galen Rupp and Jacob Riley took turns leading at the front during the early stages of the race, until Colin Bennie jumped to the front to take over pacing duties. Bennie led the lead pack through the half way point, hitting 5 km in 14:31.
Fred Huxom, Samuel Chelanga and Clayton Young. photo by Amanda Tobin
The large men’s pack would stay intact for another mile and a half, until Bennie, USATF 15 km champion Clayton Young, and veterans Elkanah Kibet and Sam Chelanga started to push the pace. The field slowly thinned, until with a half mile to go there were only a half dozen athletes in contention for the win.
In the final stages of the race, Chelanga took over the lead and put in a big surge that broke open the top group. Chelanga started his drive to the finish and it was only Fred Huxham and Young who could manage the increased pace.
With less than a quarter mile to go, Chelanga put in one final push that simply couldn’t be matched. The U.S. Army runner charged down the final straight, crossing the finish, arms raised, in 28:44.
Following closely behind, it was Huxham crossing the line second in 28:45. Huxham had a career day in Atlanta, earning his first ever USATF Running Circuit points.
Young held his pace through the finish to earn third place overall in 28:48, finishing just ahead of Bennie, who crossed the finish in fourth in 28:54.
Young’s effort earned him another ten points in the USATF Running Circuit standings, where he now has a firm lead on the field with 28 points, 13 points ahead of second place runners Chelanga and Eric Avila. Bennie currently sits fourth overall with 13 total points.
After the top four, places 5-10 were decided in a mere eight seconds. Kibet took home fifth overall with a big kick to the finish, crossing the line in 29:00. Matt McClintock edged Matthew McElroy for sixth, as the two finished in 29:03-29:04.
Rupp held on over the final stages of the race to take home eighth overall in 29:06, just ahead of his fellow Olympian Jake Riley, who claimed ninth in 29:08. Augustus Maiyo earned tenth place in 29:08, finishing a half step behind Riley. — Scott Bush/USATF
The next stop on the USATF Running Circuit is the USATF Women’s 6 km Championships, which take place on July 17 in Canton, Ohio, hosted by the 2021 Women’s 6K Festival.
About the USATF Running Circuit
The USATF Running Circuit is a USATF road series featuring USATF championships from one mile through the marathon and consistently attracts the best American distance runners with more than $500,000 to be awarded in total prize money. A total of $23,500 in prize money will be awarded at the USATF 10 km Championships presented by Toyota.
The first ten U.S. runners earn points at each USATF Running Circuit race. For the USATF 10 km Championships, scoring is set as 15 for first, 12 for second, 10 for third, 7 ,6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1, with those earning the most points receiving prize money at the end of the series.
The mission of the USATF Running Circuit is to showcase, support and promote U.S. runners. Since its inception in 1995, the USATF Running Circuit and its races have provided over $7 million to U.S. distance runners.
Contributed by Scott Bush