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The final stop on the 2021 USATF Running Circuit presented by Toyota did not disappoint, as Keira D’Amato and Conner Mantz came away victorious at the USATF Half Marathon Championships presented by Toyota in Hardeeville, South Carolina.
As the women’s race got underway, D’Amato, Allie Kieffer, and Natosha Rogers jumped to the front, putting a six-second gap on a chase trio of Erika Kemp, Makena Morley, and Lauren Paquette, coming through the 5 km split in 16:04.
The lead trio would run together until mile five, when D’Amato pushed the pace and was able to gap Rogers and Kieffer. D’Amato grew her lead quickly, coming through 10 km in 32:05, 12 seconds ahead of Kieffer, who had a nine-second lead on Rogers.
D’Amato would continue to grow her lead, running nearly a minute ahead of Rogers and Morley, who were running second and third. Kieffer sat in fourth a couple seconds back of the duo, as was Paquette.
Over the next 5 km, D’Amato grew her lead to 1:34 over Rogers and Dakotah Lindwurm, who ran a tremendous 10th and 11th mile to move up into the chase, while Paquette started to pull ahead of Morley for fourth.
With the finish line in sight, D’Amato pushed the pace once last time, crossing the finish line with her arms raised and a smile on her face, finishing the half marathon distance in 1:07:55.
Rogers held off the late-race push from Lindwurm to place second overall in 1:09:36, having yet another fine USATF Half Marathon Championship performance. Lindwurm ran an excellent back half of the race to take third in 1:09:40, just ahead of Paquette, who ran to a fourth-place time of 1:09:46, her debut at the half marathon distance.
Morley held on over the final miles to place fifth in 1:09:57, edging out Erika Kemp, who placed sixth in 1:10:38. Kieffer faded a bit in the later stages of the race, but still place seventh overall in 1:10:44, while Maggie Montoya ran 1:11:21, Susanna Sullivan ran 1:11:58, and Jessie Cardin crossed in 1:12:08, as the trio took eighth through tenth.
While D’Amato ran a dominating performance to win Sunday, there was another race within a race, with Kemp and Morley battling for the 2021 USATF Running Circuit title. As the final race of the 2021 USATF Running Circuit season, Kemp entered Sunday’s action with a nine-point lead over Morley.
Early on Sunday, it seemed as though Morley might pull away and claim the overall title, but Kemp’s strong finish helped her outlast Morley. Kemp’s sixth-place effort claimed her the overall USATF Running Circuit title with 62.5 points, just ahead of Morley’s 55 points. Emily Durgin finished with 49 points to place third overall, while Lindsay Flanagan and Annie Frisbie earned fourth- and fifth-place finishes with 34 points and 30 points.
A large group led the men’s race early Sunday morning, with all of the pre-race top contenders in tow. Reigning NCAA Division 1 cross country champion Mantz led the way early, as Sam Chelanga, Lawi Lalang, and Augustus Maiyo also ran up front, as the pack found hit a groove, running 4:40 mile pace for the early miles.
As the men came through 10 km, Mantz continued to lead, with Chelanga, Maiyo and Morgan Pearson off his shoulder. Over the next 5 km, Pearson and Mantz would take turns pacing, while Maiyo and Chelanga right behind with Lalang.
As the lead group passed through mile 10, Lalang started to drop off, while Clayton Young and Nico Montanez moved up. The pace continued to ratchet down, as the group formed a single file line, with Mantz and Pearson pushing ahead.
With a mile to go, it was now a three-man race, with Mantz, Chelanga and Montanez running together. Chelanga tried to push the pace and break up the group, but Mantz hung tough and wouldn’t concede any ground to Chelanga.
In a furious kick to the finish, Mantz showed his championship-level form, pulling away from Chelanga to claim his first USATF title, crossing the finish in 1:00:55 in his debut over the half marathon distance.
Chelanga took home second place in 1:00:59, a strong finish to his 2021 USATF Running Circuit season, as Montanez placed an impressive third in 1:01:13, his second top three finish on the USATF Running Circuit season and less than two months after placing seventh at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
Clayton Young, who won the USATF 15 km Championship title, the first race of the USATF Running Circuit season, finished fourth overall on Sunday in 1:01:18. Futsum Zienasellassie had another strong performance to take fifth in 1:01:21, as Maiyo finished well to take sixth in 1:01:33.
Olympian Leonard Korir took home seventh in 1:01:43, just ahead of Pearson, who claimed eighth in 1:01:47. Frank Lara and Lawi Lalang rounded out the top ten crossing the finish in 1:02:19 and 1:02:49, respectively.
While he didn’t race Sunday, Abbabiya Simbassa claimed the 2021 USATF Running Circuit overall title with 77 points, well ahead of the rest of the field, after claiming two USATF victories and two runner-up efforts during the 2021 USATF Running Circuit season.
Chelanga’s runner-up finish in Hardeeville gives him 48 points and a second place finish in the overall USATF Running Circuit standings, followed closely by Young, who claimed third with 47.5 points. Montanez finishes fourth on the season with 37 points, while Fred Huxham places fifth on the season with 30 points.(12/05/2021) Views: 485 ⚡AMP