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The two-time defending champion headlines the elite men’s field entering Saturday’s 42nd annual Gate River Run through downtown Jacksonville, the national 15-kilometer championship for USA Track and Field.
With one more victory, the 32-year-old Leonard Korir can join a select club as winners of three straight men’s titles. Only Todd Williams (1994-96), Meb Keflezighi (2001-04) and Ben True (2013-15) have previously accomplished the feat.
Race director Doug Alred said he’s hoping to see a tight contest, and he feels the odds this year are good.
“It’s not that exciting when one person just runs away with it,” he said. “If the leaders can just stay together onto the Hart Bridge, that would be great.”
So far, that’s been the case in Korir’s past two victories. His 2017 win was the event’s closest finish ever, edging Shadrack Kipchirchir to the finish line by a fraction of a second.
Despite his record in Jacksonville and his international achievements at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, there’s reason to believe that Korir is far from a lock to repeat Saturday.
Unlike 2017 and 2018, he did not win the USATF cross country championships, held this time in Tallahassee on Feb. 2. Instead, he took third, while Kipchirchir beat him out by five seconds.
In addition to Kipchirchir, 2016 champion Stanley Kebenei returns, coming off a fifth-place finish in the cross country finals.(03/08/2019) Views: 1,132 ⚡AMP
The Gate River Run (GRR) was first held in 1978, formerly known as the Jacksonville River Run, is an annual 15-kilometer road running event in Jacksonville, Fla., that attracts both competitive and recreational runners -- in huge numbers! One of the great running events in America, it has been the US National 15K Championship since 1994, and in 2007...more...