Huddle, Landry Look to Extend Successful Seasons at USA 20 km Championships
Provided by USATF
INDIANAPOLIS – Looking for her second USA Running Circuit title of the season, Molly Huddle leads the field into Monday’s USA 20 km Championships, which take place in New Haven, Connecticut, hosted by the Faxon Law New Haven Road Race.
The USA 20 km Championships are the ninth stop on the 2014 USA Running Circuit, which concludes this fall with the .US National 12K on Sunday, November 16. The top ten finishers at each race on the circuit qualify to compete in the .US National 12K.
Huddle is on fire this season, running up a string of impressive performances, including US#1 ranked times on the track over 5,000m and 10,000m, as well as the number one time in the half marathon. Huddle won the USA 7 Mile Championships in late-July and looks to leap into the top three of the USARC standings with another win.
While Huddle is the clear favorite, she’ll be followed closely by Providence, Rhode Island teammate Amy Hastings. A fellow Olympian, Hastings looks to build off the road success she had in early July, winning the USA 10 km Championships. While she faltered to a seventh place finish at the USA 7 Mile Championships, Hastings is an experienced veteran and should bounce back just fine.
The Northern Arizona Elite tandem of Kelly Johnson Taylor and Amy Van Alstine eye top finishes, as well. Van Alstine has been relatively quiet since winning the USA Cross Country Championships and placing third at the USA 15 km Championships early on in the season. Meanwhile, Johnson Taylor hopes to build off her USA 25 km Championship victory and more recent USA 10 km Championship fourth place finish. Both should contend for top three finishes.
Other top contenders include top five finishers from the 2013 edition, with defending champion Meghan Peyton looking to repeat, while third place Caitlin Comfort and fifth place Wendy Thomas each hope to improve upon their finishes.
Veteran Adriana Nelson looks to jump back on track after running a US#5 marathon performance of 2:31:15 at the Boston Marathon earlier in the year, while fellow marathoners Becky Wade and Clara Santucci look to test their fitness before the fall marathon season ramps up.
On the men’s side, Christo Landry and Sean Quigley resume their rivalry, which saw the two run stride-for-stride until the final 100m at the USA 7 Mile Championships, where Quigley scored the upset win by four seconds. Quigley finished a distant tenth at last year’s USA 20 km Championships, so his recent victory and healthy training means a big jump in finish should be expected.
While Quigley looks to claim his second title of the USARC season, Landry seeks his fourth title, after claiming USA 10 Mile, 25 km and 10 km titles. His impressive collection of victories and runner-up finish leave him solidly in the lead of the USARC standings with 64 points, 37 points ahead of runner-up Chris Derrick and 38 points ahead of third place Shadrack Biwott (Quigley ranks fourth with 24 points).
Biwott enters Monday’s competition coming off of a runner-up finish at the USA 25 km Championships and third place effort at the USA 10 km Championships. In 2013, Biwott finished runner-up to winner Matt Tegenkamp and should compete for the win with Landry and Quigley.
Experienced USARC runners Matt Llano and Fernando Cabada each hope to get back to challenging for top three finishes. Llano earned two top five finishes at the beginning of the season, but after a nagging injury, Llano is back training healthy and focusing on October’s Chicago Marathon. Cabada’s been quite on the USA Running Circuit since the first race of the season, but can never be discounted.
Other notable favorites include USA 10 Mile runner-up Girma Mecheso, USA 7 Mile sixth place finisher and Olympian Diego Estrada, along with veteran marathoner Patrick Rizzo and Llano’s teammate Eric Fernandez.
Live text updates of the USA 20 km Championships will be available at www.USARunningCircuit.com beginning at 8:40 am ET. Video of the race, 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.
About the USARC
The USARC is a USA Track & Field road series featuring USA 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 $43,000 in prize money will be awarded at the USA 20 km Championships.
The first ten U.S. runners earn points at each USARC race (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 USARC is to showcase, support and promote U.S. runners. Since its inception in 1995, the USARC and its races have provided over $7 million to U.S. distance runners.
USA Track & Field is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the country’s No. 1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States. For more information on USATF, visit usatf.org.
Contributed by Scott Bush