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SIMBASSA, BRUCE VICTORIOUS AT THE USATF 10 KM ROAD CHAMPIONSHIPS

Abbabiya Simbassa ran an incredible final mile on the men’s side, while Stephanie Bruce used a furious kick to the finish in the women’s race, both claiming victory Saturday morning in Northport, New York at the USATF 10 km Road Championships presented by Toyota. 

The USATF 10 km Road Championships was the ninth stop on the 2022 USATF Running Circuit presented by Toyota. 

As the starting cannon sounded, the men’s field immediately strung out along the streets of Northport, with Jacob Thomson pushing the pace and taking over the early lead. The honest early pace kept the front pack small, with Thomson being joined by Sam Chelanga, Simbassa, and Korir, with a few second gap back to the rest of the field. With the halfway point in sight, Thomson opened a small lead over the rest of the lead quartet, passing through the 5 km mark in 14:21 and earning a half-way bonus.

Chelanga and Simbassa passed through two seconds back in 14:23, with Korir coming through 5 km in 14:27. Thomson would fall off pace shortly after halfway, with Simbassa and Chelanga taking over the pacing duties and pushing the pace over the next mile.

Korir sat just behind in third. With less than two miles to go, Simbassa pushed the pace and opened an immediate gap on Korir and Chelanga. Simbassa continued to push over the next mile, opening a nearly 20-second lead heading into the final mile of the race. 

Over the final mile, Simbassa maintained both pace and form, extending his lead ever so slightly, on his way to claiming his third USATF Running Circuit title, crossing the finish line in 28:12, a new course record. Behind Simbassa, Korir and Chelanga waged an epic kick to the finish, with Korir pulling ahead by a step in the final meters to claim second overall in 28:34, while Chelanga placed third in 28:35. 

Dillon Maggard, Futsum Zienasellassie, and Tai Dinger ran much of the race together Saturday, but in the end, it was Maggard pulling away in the final mile to claim fourth in 28:45. Zienasellassie earned another top-five finish on the USATF Running Circuit season with his fifth-place effort in 28:55, while Dinger finished a second behind in sixth in 28:56. Geoffrey Kipchumba claimed seventh overall in 29:00. Thomson slid back to eighth overall in 29:19. Ryan Kutch and Brian Barraza rounded out the top ten in 29:28 and 29:34. 

With Korir’s runner-up finish, his second of the USATF Running Circuit season, he elevated himself to an even more dominant first-place standing, with a 104 point total. Zienasellassie’s fifth-place effort added another six points to his standings total, giving him 56.5, sitting in second place overall. Chelanga’s third-place finish moved up into third place overall in the standings with 42 points.

Early in the women’s race, a pack of four women pulled away from the field, establishing a pace that no one else could manage. Bruce, Annie Frisbie, Nell Rojas, and Ednah Kurgat formed a tight pack and worked with one another along the streets of Northport. 

The quartet came through the halfway point mark in 16:05, all four looking strong and able to handle the fast pace. Little changed among the top four until the final mile and a half, when Kurgat started to dip off the back of the pace, while the other three charged ahead, seemingly only a matter of time before someone made a move to try and break open the race. 

Over the final mile, Bruce charged to the lead, ramping up the pace, a move that would prove decisive. Bruce pulled away from Rojas, Frisbie, and Kurgat, and never looked back, raising her arms as she crossed the line while earning her second USATF 10 km Road title and her third USATF Running Circuit victory of her career.

Bruce finished first in 31:52, while also breaking the course record. Rojas was able to break free of Frisbie and Kurgat in the final 800m to place second in 31:56, while Frisbie finished two seconds back in 31:58 and Kurgat seven seconds back in 32:03, as the two placed third and fourth, respectively. 

With her runner-up effort, Rojas added 12 more points to her USATF Running Circuit standings total, giving her 33 points overall. That addition moves Rojas up into sole position of third overall, a half point ahead of Aliphine Tuliamuk, but still well behind USATF Running Circuit standings leaders Emily Sisson and Keira D’Amato, who are tied for first with 55.5 points. 

After the top four women, there was a race for fifth happening over the back half of Saturday’s contest. In the end it was Emma Hurley pulling away from the field in the final mile, racing to a fifth-place finish in 32:49. Hurley finished just ahead of Amy Davis and Molly Grabill, who ran to sixth and seventh place finishes in 32:52 and 32:54. Erika Kemp, who owned the previous course record, placed eighth overall in 32:59. Carrie Verdon took home ninth place in 33:05 and Anne-Marie Blaney earned tenth in 33:21. 

Next up on the USATF Running Circuit is the USATF 10 Mile Championships presented by Toyota, which take place on Sunday, October 2 in Minneapolis, hosted by the Medtronic TC 10 Mile.

(09/17/2022) Views: 98 ⚡AMP
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Fast times at the USATF Half Marathon Championships

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: 379 ⚡AMP
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Nell Rojas Outkicks Jenny Simpson at 2021 Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile

On a warm and crystal clear late summer morning in our Nation’s Capital, American Nell Rojas won a thrilling race among the top women runners at this year’s Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile (CUCB), while Kenyan Edwin Kimutai left the rest of the men’s field in his footsteps 25 minutes into the race to handily win the men’s race.

With his 33-second victory, Kimutai honored the recent passing of his wife, while Rojas surprised all the pundits when she sprinted away from Jenny Simpson with less than one half mile left in the race to win the 2021 USATF Women’s 10 Mile Championship Presented by Toyota.

“I had zero expectations on place or time,” said Rojas in a post-race interview. “At seven or eight miles, I could tell Jenny and the others were working hard, and I was like ‘I’m not working hard.’ At that point I was OK letting myself believe I could win.”

Rojas added: “With 800 to go, I knew Jenny was right there, I was really scared. I kicked around 600, and made that decision because I couldn’t let Jenny have the last 50-meter sprint. At that point, I was like ‘I’m fine with second, but just let me do this.’”

While she may have been a novice on the roads at anything longer than one mile, Simpson displayed confidence and savvy from the start. In fact, USATF.tv webcast commentator Carrie Tollefson remarked that Jenny cut the tightest tangent in the women’s lead pack of 14, going into a roundabout on the Virginia end of Memorial Bridge at a little more than 1 ½ miles into the race. Throughout the race, Simpson could be seen moving around the dwindling lead pack — side to side, forward and back — while eventual third place American Annie Frisbie oftentimes found herself in the lead, pushing the pace, or sharing pacesetting duties with Rojas and overall third place finisher Antonina Kwambai.

“When Nell pushed it up the last hill, once she got separation, I just couldn’t respond,” said Simpson. “She was really strong.”

Simpson added: “Sometimes the best thing that can happen with a new experience is to get second. I’m finishing hungry. Overall, the entire experience was 10 times better than I expected.”

In the men’s race, American Frank Lara —who would eventually finish fifth overall as fourth American — charged out hard from the start, and the men’s field quickly strung out. By 5K four men had broken away: Kimutai, Lara, and his fellow Americans Abbabiya Simbassa and Augustus Maiyo. By 10K, Kimutai had established a 17-second lead over the Maiyo and Simbassa, with Lara a few seconds adrift of his compatriots. As Kimutai’s lead grew, Maiyo and Simbassa continued to run side-by-side through 15K. Two minutes later, the 28 year-old Simbassa began to pull away from 38-year-old Maiyo, building himself a five second margin by the finish.

When asked if he felt guilty taking the 2021 USATF Men’s 10 Mile Championships title from the 38-year-old Maiyo, Simbassa replied: “I respect those guys, they know more than I do. I’m just out to do my best.”

Well, today, Simbassa’s best earned him the title of America’s best after so many recent second-place finishes in USATF Championship races, and elicited this comment: “It feels good. I’ve been hunting for a long time, and it finally happened today.”

Here’s a compilation of place, times and money earned by the top-10 American women and men as well as open prize money winners, and RRCA Roads Scholar-RunPro Development Award winners.

(09/13/2021) Views: 554 ⚡AMP
by Running USA
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Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run

Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run

The Credit Union Cherry Blossom is known as "The Runner's Rite of Spring" in the Nation's Capital. The staging area for the event is on the Washington Monument Grounds, and the course passes in sight of all of the major Washington, DC Memorials. The event serves as a fundraiser for the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, a consortium of 170 premier...

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American Women Offer Most Intriguing Storyline of 2021 Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run

Jenny Simpson is the course record holder (4:16.1) and eight-time winner of the Fifth Avenue Mile — the farthest she’s ever raced on the roads. Jenny is also a three-time Olympian (2008, 2012 and 2016 bronze medalist) and three-time World Championship medalist (gold in 2011, silver in 2013 and 2017). Sara  Hall, on the other hand, has run the second fastest marathon ever (2:20:32) for an American woman, and has won 11 USATF National Championships on the roads since 2006, including 10 mile titles in 2018 and 2019. Hall was 2nd American (52:54) when the USATF 10 Mile Championships were last hosted by the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile (CUCB) in 2014.

But Simpson and Hall aren’t the only two American women entered in the 2021 USATF 10 Mile Championships Presented by Toyota. They just define the two extremes of road racing experience represented in what is sure to be an interesting and exciting race for the title of America’s best over 10 miles in 2021.

When Hall and Simpson line up for the women’s-only start at 7:18 a.m. this coming Sunday morning, September 12, they will be joined by Americans Diane Nukuri, Annie Frisbie, Natosha Rogers, Susanna Sullivan, and Bethany Sachtleben, among others. But no runner comes into the race with the same momentum Hall has as winner of three road races this summer, while setting a personal best for 10K on the roads (31:33) at the Mastercard New York Mini. Nukuri may have raced more frequently, with six top-10 road race performances over the last six months, but it was her 5th place result at CUCB 2018 (53:56) that best argues for her inclusion in the conversation about pre-race favorites.

Hall is 38 years old, Simpson is 35 and Nukuri is 36, but this won’t just be a race among veterans if Annie Frisbie has her way. In fact, the 24 year-old Frisbie prevailed over Nukuri at two races this summer, and boasts a 54:00 personal best for 10 miles from the 2019 USATF 10 Mile Championships, when she placed 5th. Another sub-54 minute performer (53:45), Natosha Rogers (30), placed second at the 2017 USATF 10 Mile Championships and returns to the roads after a spring and summer of racing on the track in quest of an Olympic team slot in the 10,000m.

Top DC-area runners Susanna Sullivan (31) and Bethany Sachtleben (29) have proven themselves to be worthy competitors over the years, with Sachtleben placing 3rd among Americans at CUCB 2018 and 2nd among Americans in 2019. Sullivan was 4th American at CUCB in 2014, 5th in 2015 and 3rd in 2017.

American runners will be competing for a total of $26,000 in U.S.-only prize money, from $5,000 for 1st place to $500 for 10th place, paid equally to men and women.

Of course, there’s an international component to the 2021 Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile as well. And Kenyans Iveen  Chepkemoi (24) and Caroline Rotich (38) will lead the women’s chase for an international prize pool of $20,000, with $5,000 for 1st place down to $150 for 10th place, again paid equally to men and women. American runners placing in the top-10 overall are able to “double-dip” and claim the appropriate payment from both international and U.S.-only prize pools.

Chepkemoi boasts the fastest 10-mile personal best among all the women (51:43), while Rotich won CUCB in 2013 (52:46).

So, who will prevail? The rookie Simpson? One of the 38 year-old veterans, Hall or Rotich? Or one of the 24 year-old up-and-comers, Frisbie or Chepkemoi? There’s an all-out 10-mile race between here and the answer.

A stellar field of American and international men will take to the same 10-mile course at 7:30 a.m. this Sunday, in pursuit of the same titles, prize money and bonuses as the women. Bonuses on offer include $10,000 for a World Record (44:23 men/51:23 women), another $10,000 for an American Record (45:54 men/51:23 women) — either of which will be split evenly among any men and women record breakers — as well as time bonuses of $1,000 and $750 for the first two runners to break 46:00 for men or 52:00 for women. Finally, there is a special prize pool of $1500/$1000/$500 for both men and women who have taken part in the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) RunPro Camp or Roads Scholar programs.

Chris Derrick (30) comes into the USATF 10 Mile Championships with the fastest personal best among the American men (46:53), which he ran at CUCB 2018, placing 5th. He, like many of the other men and women in the race, however, has his sights set on one of the many fall marathons this year, and may be racing on tired legs.

Abbabiya Simbassa (30) will also be racing on tired legs, having run the 2021 USATF 20K Championships on Labor Day in New Haven, CT, where he placed 2nd, just one-second shy of the title. Add that to the 2nd places he ran at the 2021 USATF 15K Championships in March, and the recent Asics Falmouth Road Race, and you can imagine how Simbassa’s legs feel going into CUCB 2021. Simbassa was also 2nd American at CUCB 2018 and 2nd at the 2019 USATF 10 Mile Championships (46:57).

A cluster of other American men with 10-mile personal bests that should be competitive include Kiya Dandena (46:58), Augustus Maiyo (47:05), Elkaneh Kibet (47:15), Willie Milam (47:18), Noah Droddy (47:28), and Louis Serafini (47:35). Dandena (32) set his personal best at CUCB 2017, when he was 3rd American; he was also 5th American in 2019 and 7th in 2018. Maiyo (38) set his personal best at the 2019 USATF 10 Mile Championships, while placing 5th. Kibet (38) placed 3rd at the 2017 EQT Pittsburgh 10 Miler. Milam (29) ran his best time at CUCB 2019. Serafini (29) was the 6th American at CUCB 2019, and set his personal best at the 2019 USATF 10 Mile Championships, while Droddy (30) ran his best at the 2016 USATF 10 Mile Championships, placing 2nd.

Despite the presence of so many competitive American men, Kenyan runners typically dominate the overall race up front. Stephen Sambu (33) comes into the race with a personal best of 45:29 from his first CUCB victory in 2014. Sambu clearly has the most experience on DC roads of anyone in the field, with wins in 2014 and 2015, a 4th place finish in 2013, and a 5th in 2019.

Two other Kenyans, Dominic Korir (28) and Edwin Kimutai (28), are also very worthy of mention. Dominic Korir was 6th overall in CUCB 2017 in a time of 46:45. Kimutai ran 2:08:15 for 4th place at the Harmony Geneva marathon for UNICEF last May. Sadly, Kimutai’s wife passed away on August 23rd — he’ll be running in her memory, and for a young daughter suddenly left without a mother.

The top American man and woman will each earn a spot on Team USA for the 2022 World Athletics Half Marathon Championships, to be held in Yangzhou, China, on March 20, 2022. Should the winning American man or woman decline their Team USA slot, the second place finisher will be offered the slot; there will be no “rolling down” beyond second place.

(09/09/2021) Views: 627 ⚡AMP
by Running USA
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Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run

Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run

The Credit Union Cherry Blossom is known as "The Runner's Rite of Spring" in the Nation's Capital. The staging area for the event is on the Washington Monument Grounds, and the course passes in sight of all of the major Washington, DC Memorials. The event serves as a fundraiser for the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, a consortium of 170 premier...

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48th Edition of Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run to Feature Strong Men’s and Women’s Fields

It has been a long time coming — too long — and America’s finest distance runners are eager to toe the starting line at the 2021 Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile (CUCB), to be held in our Nation’s Capital on Sunday, September 12. With $26,000 in U.S. championship prize money on offer as well as a $10,000 bonus for an American Record (the bonus will be split if both the male and female break the American records), road racing fans can look forward to hotly contested races among both the men and women.

“It has been nearly two years since the last time the U.S. Ten Mile Championships for men and women were held,” said event director Phil Stewart. “I know a host of talented Americans are eager to take an important middle-distance test as most of them prepare for fall marathons, of which there are plenty, with all six World Marathon Majors events taking place over a six-week period between September 26 and November 7.”

This will be the third time one or more of the USATF 10 Mile Championships have been hosted by CUCB alongside the traditional international competition: the women’s championships were part of the 2013 Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile, with Janet Bawcom winning the title in 53:28 while placing fourth overall. A year later in 2014, race organizers hosted both the men’s and women’s championships. Christo Landry (46:41) was the first American to cross the finish line—in sixth place overall—while Bawcom repeated as the U.S. women’s champion by placing second overall in 52:12. Both of Bawcom’s times established American records at the time.

Keira D’Amato broke Bawcom’s American Record last fall at the Up Dawg Ten Mile, running 51:23 in a small invitational race organized by the Cherry Blossom Race Committee specifically for her to chase Bawcom’s record. D’Amato’s effort was recently verified as a women’s only World Record by the Association of Road Racing Statisticians as well. (ARRS is the only organization keeping world records at the 10-mile distance.)

D’Amato will be joined on the starting line by two American women who have broken 53 minutes for 10 miles: Jordan Hasay (52:49) and Emma Bates (52:51). Three other Americans have run 54:00 or faster: Natosha Rogers (53:45), Diane Nukuri (53:56), and Annie Frisbie (54:00).

On the men’s side, Futsum Zienasellassie will be defending the USATF 10 Mile Championship he won in Minneapolis in 2019 (the last time American runners competed for this title, thanks to Covid-19). His winning time of 46:55 is one of four sub-47:00 marks among the American men entered in the race. Chris Derrick boasts the fastest personal best (46:53), which he ran at CUCB in 2018 when he was top American and fifth overall. Abbabiya Simbassa ran 46:57 to place second behind Zienasellassie in Minneapolis in 2019, and Kiya Dandena ran 46:58 in 2017 at CUCB. The current pending men’s American record is 45:54 set by Galen Rupp last fall. Rupp’s time bettered Greg Meyer’s time of 46:13 from the 1983 Cherry Blossom Ten Mile.

Here’s a complete listing of elite American athletes who have confirmed their entry into the 2021 Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile, with personal bests noted in parentheses:

Women:

Keira D’Amato (51:23)

Jordan Hasay (52:49)

Emma Bates (52:51)

Natosha Rogers (53:45)

Diane Nukuri (53:56)

Annie Frisbie (54:00)

Bria Wetsch (54:14)

Susanna Sullivan (54:22)

Bethany Sachtleben (54:42)

Grayson Murphy (54:51)

Carrie Verdon (56:57)

Danielle Shanahan (31:22.9 10K)

Amy Davis (32:13 10K)

Abbie McNulty (33:07 10K)

Stephanie Bruce (1:09:55 half marathon)

Nell Rojas (1:10:45 half marathon)

Men:

Chris Derrick (46:53)

Futsum Zienasellassie (46:55)

Abbabiya Simbassa (46:57)

Kiya Dandena (46:58)

Augustus Maiyo (47:05)

Elkanah Kibet (47:15)

Girma Mecheso (47:22)

Noah Droddy (47:28)

Louis Serafini. (47:35)

Emmanuel Bor (47:39)

Reed Fischer (47:50)

Shadrack Biwott (47:53)

John Raneri (47:53)

Tyler McAndless (47:56)

Dhruvil. Patel (48:37)

Frank Lara (48:37)

Joel Reichow (48:41)

Alex Monroe (48:57)

Willie Milam (49:10)

Robert Brandt (27:39.2 10K)

Brendan Gregg (44:25 15K)

Reid Buchanan (44:40 15K)

Emmanuel Roudolff (1:04:08 half marathon).

(08/20/2021) Views: 508 ⚡AMP
by Running USA
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Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run

Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run

The Credit Union Cherry Blossom is known as "The Runner's Rite of Spring" in the Nation's Capital. The staging area for the event is on the Washington Monument Grounds, and the course passes in sight of all of the major Washington, DC Memorials. The event serves as a fundraiser for the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, a consortium of 170 premier...

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Emily Sisson and Clayton Young winners at Gate River Run

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: 752 ⚡AMP
by Justin Barney
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Gate River Run

Gate River Run

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...

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