Star-studded fields ready to celebrate the Fourth of July at the USATF 10 km Championships
Provided by USATF
ATLANTA, Georgia – Six Olympians are set to line up Tuesday morning at the USATF 10 km Championships in Atlanta. The Olympic contingent of Bernard Lagat, Jen Rhines, Leonard Korir, Abdi Abdirahman, Marielle Hall and Shadrack Kipchirchir lead an all-star cast of talent, as the fields ready to race the streets, kicking off the Fourth of July holiday in grand style.
The USATF 10 km Championships, hosted by the AJC Peachtree Road Race, are the sixth stop on the 2017 USATF Running Circuit. The event will be broadcast live via NBC Sports Gold beginning at 7:15am ET. Race videos, results, post-race interviews and photos will be available shortly after the race in cooperation with RunnerSpace.com. Join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #USARC.
On the men’s side, the start list is dotted with a nice mix of veteran and young talent, headlined by the Olympic quartet of Lagat, Abdirahman, Korir and Kipchirchir.
For Lagat, Tuesday’s contest brings the two-time Olympic medalist onto the roads, a rare encounter, but one that should become more prevalent for the 41-year old having retired competition on the track after his fifth place showing in Rio last summer. While Lagat certainly enters as the biggest name on the men’s side, he’ll have plenty of competition challenging for the win.
The duo of Leonard Korir and Shadrack Kipchirchir, both of whom run for the U.S. Army, would love nothing better than to win a national title on Independence Day. Both men competed in the 10,000m at the USATF Outdoor Championships last month, with Kipchirchir placing second and Korir third, both earning spots on the U.S. roster set to compete at the IAAF World Championships next month. In prime shape, do not be surprised if either takes the title Tuesday.
Korir currently leads the USATF Running Circuit standings with 60 points, 20 points ahead of second place Sam Chelanga, who’s also entered in Tuesday’s race. Korir is undefeated on the USATF Running Circuit season, having won national titles at the USATF Cross Country, USATF 15 km and USATF Half Marathon Championships. For Kipchirchir, who currently sits fourth overall, he finished third at the USATF Cross Country Championships and second at the USATF 15 km Championships.
Rounding out the Olympic caliber talent, Abdirahman, a four-time Olympian in his own right, looks to take a step forward after his 15th place showing at the BOLDERBoulder last month. Abdirahman placed a surprising third at the TCS New York City Marathon last November and has plenty of big-race experience to pull from in Atlanta.
Two other top contenders include Chelanga and Chris Derrick. The duo each took turns leading the 10,000m at the USATF Outdoor Championships, and while they finished seventh and eighth, they also showed they are in tremendous shape entering Tuesday’s race. Chelanga finished second to Korir at the USATF Half Marathon Championships earlier in the season, while placing third behind Korir and Kipchirchir at the USATF 15 km Championships.
The young quartet of Futsum Zienasellassie, Trevor Dunbar, Parker Stinson and Kirubel Erassa all are looking to put their stamp on Tuesday’s race and the 2017 USATF Running Circuit. Stinson placed fourth at the USATF 25 km Championships last month, while Zienasellassie placed 14th in the 10,000m and Dunbar and Erassa placed seventh and 13th in the 5000m at the USATF Outdoor Championships last month in Sacramento.
Not to be overlooked, veterans Shadrack Biwott and Andrew Bumbalough, both savvy racers and experienced in the 10 km distance, look to test their fitness against the loaded field, with each fully capable of top five finishes.
In the women’s race, Olympian Marielle Hall leads the way, coming off a fifth place showing in the 5000m at the USATF Outdoor Championships two weeks ago in Sacramento. While Hall isn’t overly experienced on the roads, especially against some of the USATF Running Circuit regulars, she’s clearly in fine form and has shown the speed and strength to take the title.
Hall will be challenged by Jordan Hasay, Neely Gracey and Aliphine Tuliamuk. Hasay, who placed third at the Boston Marathon back in April, continues to shift her focus from the track to the roads.
For both Gracey and Tuliamuk, the roads have been their focus all season long, each laying claim to impressive USATF Running Circuit success this season, as Tuliamuk won the USATF Cross Country Championship title and USATF 25 km Championship crown, while Gracey took home runner-up finishes at the USATF Half Marathon and USATF 25 km Championships.
The battle between Tuliamuk and Gracey goes a step further on Tuesday, as the two will no doubt battle for the top spot in the USATF Running Circuit standings. Tuliamuk currently leads the overall standings with 60 points, nine ahead of second place Gracey. Both has beaten the other this season, so expect another tight finish between these two.
Boston Athletic Association teammates Sarah Pagano, who is the top returnee having placed second at the 2016 USATF 10 km Championships, and three-time Olympian Jen Rhines, are two contenders who should mix it up right from the start. Pagano especially is coming off a fine eighth place showing in the 5000m at the USATF Outdoor Championships last month. Rhines placed sixth in Atlanta one year ago.
Other notable veterans to the USATF Running Circuit include Lindsey Scherf, Meagan Krifchin and Tara Welling. Welling currently sits sixth in the USATF Running Circuit standings, with her best finish of the season taking place last month at the USATF 25 km Championships, where she finished third. The trio is joined by Chelsea Blaase, Kaitline Gregg Goodman, Cally Macumber, Joanna Thompson and Jessica Tonn, each of whom competed at the USATF Oudoor Championships last month in either the 5000m or 10,000m.
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 $100,000 in prize money will be awarded at the USATF 10 km Championships.
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