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Hill, Tuliamuk Close Hard to Take Big Wins at USATF 5 km Championships


PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND – As expected, Sunday’s USATF 5 km Championships, hosted by the CVS Health Downtown 5K in Providence, Rhode Island, saw fast starts and furious finishes, as Ryan Hill won the men’s race and Aliphine Tuliamuk won her third straight national title, both running to convincing championship victories.


The USATF 5 km Championships are the eighth stop on the 2016 USATF Running Circuit. The final two races of the 2016 USATF Running Circuit are the USATF 10 Mile Championships, which take place on October 9 in Minneapolis/St. Paul and the USATF Women’s 10 km Championships, which run on October 10 in Boston.


A large pack of men shot off the line Sunday morning, spreading out across the road and running a modest pace early on. With nearly twenty men in contention as the mile mark approached, Olympian Hillary Bor and Aaron Braun took the group through in 4:29.


Little changed, with only a handful of men dropping off the pace in mile two, but all the front runners were still intact, as the leaders passed through the second mile in 9:15. Bor’s U.S. Army teammates Shadrack Kipchirchir and Leonard Korir set the pace, while Bowerman Track Club teammates Chris Derrick, Hill and German Fernandez followed closely behind.


With a half mile to go, Sam Chelanga surged to the lead, pushing the pace up a slight incline, which split the front running pack open. With Hill, Kipchirchir and Atlanta Track Clubs Kirubel Erassa still in tow, Chelanga tried with might to separate from the field.


Then, with 200 meters left in the race, Hill used his superior track speed, charged to the front and never looked back, running to the men’s title with a finishing time of 13:57, one second ahead of runner-up Kipchirchir. Kipchirchir and third place Chelanaga finished in the same time of 13:58.


Behind the lead trio, Erassa hung on for an impressive fourth place finish of 14:00, while Olympian Korir nabbed fifth in 14:02, running the same time as sxith place Derrick. Bor, who challenged for the win early on, placed seventh overall in 14:04, while Flagstaff-based Brian Shrader and German Fernandez finished eighth and ninth overall, both running 14:06. Olympian Donn Cabral rounded out the top ten in 14:14.


In the women’s race, Tuliamuk and Nike Oregon Project’s Jordan Hasay sprang to the lead off the start line and worked their way to a two second lead by the mile mark. Tuliamuk, who recently won the USATF 20 km title and won the USATF 25 km title earlier in the season, ran with confidence, as she and Hasay passed through the mile two second up on their competition in 4:47.


Over the second mile, Tuliamuk surged ahead of Hasay, easily gapping the rest of the field, while Providence-based Emily Sisson caught up to Hasay and ran stride for stride with her through the second mile. As Tuliamuk’s lead grew, so did Sisson’s and Hasay’s lead over the rest of the field, as the trio clearly established themselves as the top three finishers with a mile to go.


Tuliamuk continued to pour it on, knowing the finish line was near. With the finish in sight, Tuliamuk pumped her arms wildly, crossing the finish victoriously in 15:22, a full twenty seconds ahead of her nearest competitor, in what could be the most dominating performance on the USATF Running Circuit this season.


Sisson used a strong kick to best Hasay for second, finishing in 15:42, six seconds ahead of Hasay’s 15:48 time. Sarah Pagano also broke the 16-minute barrier with her fourth place finish of 15:55.


Maddie Van Beek continued her strong USATF Running Circuit racing, placing fifth overall in 16:06, one second ahead of Laura Thweatt, who placed sixth in 16:07. Mara Olson ran tough over the final mile to take seventh in 16:09, while Lindsey Scherf, Lauran Paquette and three-time Olympian Jen Rhines placed eighth, ninth and tenth in 16:11, 16:12 and 16:29.


Despite not racing on Sunday, Christo Landry maintained his enormous lead in the USATF Running Circuit standings, where he currently leads second place Craig Lutz by a 64-33 spread. Jared Ward sits third with 32 points, while Kipchirchir’s big 12-point gain on Sunday ties him for fourth with Galen Rupp, each owning 30 points to their name.


Tuliamuk’s win in Providence gives her another 15 points in the USATF Running Circuit overall standings, placing here a mere point behind leader Tara Welling, 46-45. Desiree Linden now sits third with 42 points, while Scherf gained another three points in the standings to give her a fourth place total of 37. Amy Cragg rounds out the top five with 30 points.


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 $38,100 in prize money is awarded at the USATF 5 km Championships.


The first ten U.S. runners earn points at each USATF Running Circuit race. For the USATF 5 km Championships, scoring is set as 15 for first, 12 for second, 10 for third, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1, 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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