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Huddle Dominates, Korir Wins Again at USATF 15 km Championships


JACKSONVILLE – In her final race before next month’s Boston Marathon, Molly Huddle put on a dominating display in the women’s race at the USATF 15 km Championships, while fellow Olympian Leonard Korir repeated as men’s champion Saturday morning in Jacksonville, Florida.


With the women starting six minutes ahead of the men, with an equalizer bonus on the line, Huddle and fellow frontrunners Jordan Hasay and Molly Seidel shot to the lead, running by themselves well ahead of the rest of the field.


While Hasay and Seidel tried to match Huddle early on, the Providence-based runner was running too quick a clip, as Hasay and Seidel paired up and ran their own pace, putting Huddle all alone in front after the first 5 km split.


Huddle would maintain pace, running slightly over five-minute per mile, settling into a cadence where she was clearly putting in a hard effort, but was completely in control of her race.


Huddle continued to build her lead over the competition but trailing behind Hasay pushed her own pace up a notch, dropping Seidel by mile 4, putting five second on Seidel. Her move would end up being a decisive one, as both Hasay and Seidel ran by themselves the rest of the way.


With the finish in sight, Huddle raised her arms in victory, crossing the line in 47:50. Running her own Boston Marathon tune-up, Hasay came in second with a mark of 48:40, well ahead of Seidel, who earned third in 49:20.


While Huddle, Hasay and Seidel finished well ahead of the rest of the field, former University of Tennessee standout Chelsea Blaase ran a strong race, much of it by herself, to place fourth overall in 50:35, while picking up some big USATF Running Circuit points.


In fifth, Rochelle Kanuho ran much of the back half of the race by herself, too, coming away with a 51:02 time.


Rounding out the top ten, Rosa Moriello ran an outstanding race to grab sixth place overall in 52:07, five seconds ahead of seventh place finisher Maddie Van Beek. U.S. Army’s Susan Tanui ran another strong USATF Running Circuit race to finish eighth in 52:16, while Bethany Sachtleben and Bridget Lyons finished ninth and tenth in 52:17 and 52:19.


While the torrid pace of Huddle helped her win the $5,000 equalizer bonus in Jacksonville, the men’s race got off to a conservative start, as a large pack ran together through the first four miles of the race.


U.S. Army and American Distance Project teammates, who train in Colorado Spring, ran together, led by Korir, Sam Chelanga, Elkanah Kibet and Emmanuel Bor. The quartet led most of the race, passing through four miles in 18:45 and 10 km in 28:45.


With Martin Hehir trailing just behind, it wasn’t until the final two miles that the lead group strung out, as Sam Chelanga made a push to break away, with only Korir able to cover his dramatic move.


As Chelanga and Korir pulled away, Hehir caught Kibet, then Bor, solidifying himself in third position with just over a mile to go.


Chelanga and Korir ran together for much of the next mile, but Korir had another gear, which he shifted into and easily pulled away from Chelanga well ahead of the finish, crossing the finish line in Jacksonville first for the second consecutive year – while winning his second straight USATF Running Circuit race. Korir’s final time was 43:06.


Chelanga maintained form and was able to hold off the late charge of Hehir, grabbing second in 43:15. Hehir snagged third in 43:19, while Bor and Kibet finished fourth and fifth in 43:34 and 43:53.


In a tune-up for the Boston Marathon, Ryan Vail ran a terrific race, coming in sixth overall in 44:11.


Coming in behind Vail, fellow veteran Brendan Gregg placed seventh in 44:25, just ahead of training partners Willie Milam and Wade Meddles, with Milam finishing eighth in 44:32 and Meddles ninth in 44:43. Andy Wacker wrapped up the top ten with a 45:16 showing.


The next stop on the USATF Running Circuit takes place April 24 in Des Moines, Iowa, as the Grand Blue Mile hosts the USATF 1 Mile Championships.


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 $58,000 in prize money will be awarded at the USATF 15 km Championships


The first ten U.S. runners earn points at each USATF Running Circuit race. For the USATF 15 km 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 2, 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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