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Emily Sisson started fast and never looked back.
On a blustery, windy Saturday morning in Jacksonville, Sisson turned in a dominant effort to win the 44th Gate River Run in dominant fashion.
Sisson, a professional runner who competes for New Balance, was superb in her first 15K. She built a lead not long into the Gate and stretched it throughout. Clayton Young, the men’s winner, didn’t have nearly the buffer as Sisson. He overcame a bunched pack in the final mile and won by two seconds in 43 minutes, 52 seconds.
Sisson finished in 48:09, nearly a minute in front of Lindsay Flanagan. It was the fifth-fastest women’s time in the race history.
Sisson was coming off of a personal-best 14:55.82 in the 5K at the Sound Running Invite earlier this month in Los Angeles, but a 15K was not a distance in her wheelhouse.
“I wanted to run pretty aggressively from the start. With the win, that was kind of an unexpected element so I had to run a bit off field,” Sisson. “It was such an amazing field. They did a great job putting this on. I had a great time.”
Sisson’s win earned her $10,000, and she picked up an extra $5,000 for being the first person across the finish line with the five-minute equalizer bonus.
“The only part I found really tricky was the last bridge at the end,” I was going up into the wind on it and I felt like I was nearly walking,” Sisson said. “Then we had the downhill to the finish so that was nice.”
John Raneri led at the 5K split, but that 18-second margin dissipated by the time the Hart Bridge. Young, in a pack of runners at the Green Monster, slowly began chipping away inside that final mile and a half. A newcomer to the race, Young said that he didn’t know when to start his final kick until he saw the finish line not far in the distance.
Young pulled away in the final mile and turned in a 43:52. He was two seconds in front of Abbabiya Simbassa (43:54). The top 11 men’s finishers were stacked together and separated by just 23 seconds. The race’s 2019 winner, Shadrack Kipchirchir was third in 43:55. Last year’s winner, Frank Lara finished seventh in 44:02.
“They don’t call it the Green Monster for nothing. I was surprised there was such a pack at the top of that gigantic overpass,” Young said. “I hadn’t done this last mile before so I didn’t know when to make my move but I saw the finish line and I was like, now or never, and so I made my move and just didn’t look back.”(03/20/2021) Views: 1,002 ⚡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...