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Chelanga seeks repeat, Tuliamuk eyes fourth title at USATF 10 Mile Championships


MINNEAPOLIS – Defending men’s champion Sam Chelanga faces a tough field while continuing to show fine form on the USATF Running Circuit, while Aliphine Tuliamuk seeks her fourth straight road race title this year at Sunday’s USATF 10 Mile Championships, hosted by the Medtronic TC 10 Mile in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


The USATF 10 Mile Championships are the ninth stop on the 2016 USATF Running Circuit. For USATF.TV +PLUS subscribers, the race will be aired live on USATF.TV starting at 7:50am ET, while race video, results, post-race interviews and photos will be available shortly after the race in cooperation with Join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #USARC.


Chelanga enters Sunday’s race having won last year’s edition by one second over Tyler Pennel. While he’s joined by four other returning top ten finishers, which means there is plenty of competition, Chelanga comes in having finished third at the recent USATF 5 km Championships, as well as a runner-up finish at the USATF 20 km Championships.


While Chelanga currently sits eighth overall in the USATF Running Circuit standings with 22 points, a top three finish would move him up to second place overall, only behind standings leader Christo Landry, who has a massive 31 point lead over current second place runner Craig Lutz, 64-33.


The four other top ten finishers from 2015 include last year’s runner-up Pennel, fifth place finisher Jonathan Grey, sixth place Tim Ritchie and ninth place Brian Shrader.


While Pennel has raced sparingly on the roads since finishing fifth at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon, he’s proven himself time and time again in USATF championship events and should provide another tough challenge to Chelanga.


Ritchie comes to Minneapolis having placed fifth at the recent USATF 20 km Championships, once again showing he’s one of the top road racers, regardless of distance, in the U.S. Adding to the mix is Scott Bauhs, who took home a third place finish at the USATF Half Marathon Championships earlier in the year.


Other notable entries in the men’s race include USATF Running Circuit veterans Andrew Bumbalough, Girma Mecheso, Ben Bruce and Maverick Darling, along with Nathan Martin, Ahmed Osman and recent circuit newcomers Martin Hehir and Matt McClintock.


In the women’s race, Aliphine Tuliamuk once again enters as the pre-race favorite, coming off back-to-back-to-back wins on the USATF Running Circuit, with titles over 25 km, 20 km and 5 km distances. Tuliamuk currently sits second in the USATF Running Circuit overall standings with 45 points, a mere one point behind leader Tara Welling, meaning even a tenth place finish would move her into sole possession of first place.


Sure to challenge Tuliamuk up top, reigning USATF 15 km champion Lindsey Scherf is also in position to make a run at the top of the USATF Running Circuit standings. Currently sitting fourth with 37 points, Scherf is only nine points behind Welling. A recent fourth place finish at the USATF 20 km Championships and runner-up at the USATF 25 km Championships, Scherf will contend.


Brianne Nelson and Maddie Van Beek are two others looking to move up the USATF Running Circuit standings, currently sitting sixth and seventh overall. Nelson is the top returnee from last year’s USATF 10 Mile Championships after finishing sixth, while owning two third place finishes on the circuit this year, coming at the USATF Half Marathon Championships and USATF 20 km Championships.


For Van Beek, Sunday’s race is chance to prove how far she’s come in a year after placing tenth in this race last year. Van Beek owns four fifth place finishes on the circuit this season, including recent success at both the USATF 20 km Championships and USATF 5 km Championships.


Two others to keep an eye on are Jordan Hasay and Sara Hall. For Hasay, Sunday’s race marks another opportunity to gain experience on the roads, having placed third at the USATF 5 km Championships last month in Providence, Rhode Island. For Hall, she seeks to get back to the form she showed in 2015, when she finished second at the USATF 25 km Championships.


Another notable entry in the field is reigning Olympic triathlon gold medalist Gwen Jorgensen. As part of her build-up to racing the TCS New York City Marathon next month, Jorgensen is testing her fitness in the Twin Cities. The Midwest native ran track and field and cross country at the University of Wisconsin and could very well challenge for a top five finish.


Joining the lead group also includes Stephanie Bruce and Clara Santucci. The road race veterans are both in strong shape. Bruce, who’s preparing to race at the California International Marathon later this fall, finished second at the USATF 15 km Championships earlier in the year, while Santucci placed third back in May at the USATF 25 km Championships.


Rounding out the women’s field of contenders, former NCAA champions Emma Bates and Natosha Rogers each look to gain some late-season momentum as they hope for accomplishments in 2017, while Mara Olson, Rachel Sorna and four-time top ten 10 Mile finisher Meghan Peyton each eye top finishes.


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 $81,000 in prize money will be awarded at the USATF 10 Mile Championships.


The first ten U.S. runners earn points at each USATF Running Circuit race. For the USATF 10 Mile 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

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