Landry, Welling Charge to Victory at the USATF Half Marathon Championships

Landry, Welling Charge to Victory at the USATF Half Marathon Championships

Provided by USATF

COLUMBUS -- Christo Landry and Tara Welling each used late race surges to break the field and run to victory Saturday morning at the USATF Half Marathon Championships in Columbus, Ohio, hosted by the Capital City Half Marathon.

The USATF Half Marathon Championships are the fourth stop on the 2016 USATF Running Circuit. Next up on the circuit, the USATF 1 Mile Road Championships take place in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 12

As the men’s race got underway, Olympian Abdi Abdirahman and HOKA ONE ONE Northern Arizona Elite’s Scott Fauble jumped to the lead, as a large lead pack formed behind them.

Abdirahman, Fauble and Landry led for much of miles two through ten, along with Scott MacPherson and Scott Bauhs. The pack ran consistently between 4:44-4:50 per mile, as the runners sized each other up, knowing a move would come over the final 5 km of the race.

That move came from Landry, who at mile 10 decided to throw down a dramatic shift in pace. Landry charged to the front, gliding away from the competition as he ran a 4:30 tenth mile.

From there it was all about hanging on and the 2014 USATF Running Circuit overall winner used his veteran experience to gage his energy and hold on for victory, crossing the finish in 1:02:52.

A hundred meters back from Landry fighting it out for second were Fauble and Bauhs. The two challenged each other over the final two miles, ultimately seeing Fauble run to the runner-up spot in 1:03:06, with Bauhs just behind in third with a 1:03:15 time.

Quietly, Shadrack Biwott placed an impressive fourth in 1:03:19, as he looks to recapture the magic of 2013 when he won the USATF Running Circuit overall title. Biwott pulled away from fifth place finisher Phillip Reid over the final mile, as Reid charged home for a 1:03:30, a two second personal best.

Rounding out the top ten, Tim Young held strong to place sixth overall in 1:03:44, while Abdirahman and MacPherson held on for seventh and eighth in 1:03:49 and 1:03:57 respectively. Noah Droddy finished ninth in 1:04:08 and Louis Serafini finished tenth in 1:04:17.

Landry’s victory moves him into first place in the current USATF Running Circuit standings with 39 points, while USATF Cross Country champion Craig Lutz sits in second with 33 points and U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon victor Galen Rupp in third with 30 points.

On the women’s side, Welling, Olympians Janet Bawcom and Desiree Linden, Brianne Nelson and Pan Am Games marathon silver medalist Lindsay Flanagan created a formidable lead pack early on Saturday morning, setting the tone and making it a five-women race very early on.

While the pack took turns leading, it was Linden, runner-up at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon back in February, who did much of the work, surging at various points and taking note on how her competition was reacting to her moves.

Just passed the 10 km point, Linden put in a surge, which Welling and Nelson reacted to, as Flanagan and Bawcom slowly faded off the back. Shortly thereafter, Welling took over, pushed the pace and ultimately broke both Linden and Nelson.

Welling rattled off strong final miles, crossing the finish line first in 1:10:25, setting nearly a three minute personal best in the event and earning her second consecutive USATF Running Circuit title after winning her first national title at the USATF 15 km Championships in March.

Behind Welling, Linden finished the race well, running the fourth fastest half marathon time of her career with a mark of 1:11:06. Nelson held on gamely over the final two miles, crossing third in 1:11:24, while Flanagan and Bawcom finished fourth and fifth in 1:12:16 and 1:13:49.

Veteran Lauren Jimison nearly caught Bawcom over the final strides of the race, good enough to place sixth in 1:13:53. Semehar Tesfaye edged out Kelsey Bruce and Esther Atkins for seventh with a 1:14:12 finish, as Bruce took home eighth in 1:14:15 and Atkins ninth in 1:14:19. Katie DiCamillo closed the top ten with her 1:14:27 clocking.

Welling’s victory moves her into the lead in the USATF Running Circuit standings with 45 overall points. She’s followed by Linden, who with her runner-up finish accumulates another 18 points, giving her 42 points, while U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon winner Amy Cragg sits third overall with 30 points.

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 $41,500 in prize money is awarded at the USATF Half Marathon Championships.

The first ten U.S. runners earn points at each USATF Running Circuit race. For the USATF Half Marathon Championships, scoring is set as 22.5 for first, 18 for second, 15 for third, 10.5, 9, 7.5, 6, 4.5, 3 and 1.5, 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