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Kipchirchir, Hall Kick to Repeat Victories at the USATF 10 Mile Championships


MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL – Experience reigned supreme Sunday morning at the USATF 10 Mile Championships hosted by the Medtronic TC 10 Mile, as Shadrack Kipchirchir outlasted training mate Leonard Korir and Sara Hall outkicked Molly Huddle, each defending their titles in the Twin Cities.


A cool and calm morning saw a quick start to the men’s race, as the Olympic trio of Kipchirchir, Korir and Stanley Kebenei shot to the lead and dictated the early pace. All three teammates worked together throughout the race, distancing themselves from the chase pack early on and running stride for stride much of the way.


Through the halfway point, the trio remained intact, as fans could hear the men talking, working together to push themselves along the Twin Cities route. Keeping their effort brisk but completely comfortable, little changed until the final mile of the race.


As the men cruised past the nine mile mark, it was Kipchirchir and Korir who were able to drop Kebenei, the duo recreating their thrilling finish of 2017 in which they finished with the same time.


With half a mile to go, Korir pulled slightly ahead, and it seemed as though the USATF Running Circuit leader would run away to his fourth title of the season. However, Kipchirchir, competing in his first USATF Running Circuit race of the season, had other plans, and used one final push to overtake Korir and surge to victory, this time winning by three seconds, 46:32-46:35.


With his runner-up effort, Korir extended his lead in the USATF Running Circuit to a dominating 91.5 points, a massive margin over second place Sam Chelanga, who currently has 55 points.


Depsite losing contact in the final mile, Kebenei hung on to finish third overall in 46:39, a fine showing for the 3000m steeplechase specialist.


The U.S. Army / American Distance Project training group continued to have a great day in the Twin Cities, as Kirubel Erassa earned fourth overall in 47:23. Erassa led a massive chase pack and was able to distance himself in the final stages of the race to secure one of his best performances of the season.


Josef Tessema earned his first top ten finish on the USATF Running Circuit, grabbing fifth overall in 47:25, just ahead of circuit veteran Abbabiya Simbassa, who placed sixth in 47:26.


Abinet Adraro earned another top ten performance with his seventh place effort, finishing in 47:27, just ahead of Futsum Zienasellassie and Jerrell Mock, who took home eighth place and ninth place finishes in 47:28 and 47:29. Andrew Colley concluded the top ten with a 47:36 finish.


Just as the men’s race came down to the final quarter mile of the race, a similar thrilling finish shaped up on the women’s side.


From the gun, Hall, Huddle, Emma Bates and Kellyn Taylor set the tone, easily gapping the field by mile two and running well together through the next few miles.


As the race approached the halfway point, Huddle and Hall started to pull away, putting a gap on Bates and Taylor, who ran together for a short while, until Bates broke off and set her own pace.


It seemed as though it would be a two woman battle to the finish through 10 km, as Huddle and Hall looked in control, but Bates was far from finished, working her way up over the course of two miles to catch the duo with two miles to go.


The trio ran stride for stride over the next mile, until Huddle started her charge to the finish. The 20-time USATF Running Circuit champion was methodical in her late race push, but she couldn’t shake Hall. With Bates dropping off the back, it left the two woman to battle to the finish.


With a quarter mile to go, Hall found another gear, pulling away from Huddle, who hadn’t lost a USATF Running Circuit race in her past 14 contests. Hall could not be stopped however, defending her USATF 10 Mile Championship title and earning her second consecutive win on the circuit, crossing the finish in 52:47.


Huddle pushed all the way to the finish, earning a runner-up effort in 52:48, giving her another big finish on the USATF Running Circuit. Bates hung on and finished just off the duo, placing third overall in an impressive 52:51.


With their first and third place finishes, Hall moved into first place in the USATF Running Circuit standings with 67 points, while Bates moved just past Aliphine Tuliamuk for second with 59 points, two ahead of Tuliamuk. Huddle’s runner-up finish earned her 18 additional points, jumping up the standings to fourth place with 40.5 total points.


While Bates made her late race charge to catch Hall and Huddle, Taylor held on to fourth place, crossing the line in 54:16, giving her another fine performance on the roads over the past few weeks.


Rounding out the top five, Elaina Tabb ran a strong second half of the race, finishing in 54:44, just ahead of sixth place finisher Anne-Marie Blaney and Katy Jermann who placed sixth and seventh overall in 54:50 and 54:59.


Samantha Bluske earned another top ten finish on the season with her eighth place effort of 55:19, while Jocely Todd and Olivia Pratt rounded out the top ten in ninth and tenth respectively, finishing in 55:31 and 55:41.


The USATF 5 km Championships, the  ninth and second-to-last stop on the 2018 USATF Running Circuit, take place November 3 in New York City, hosted by the Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5k.


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 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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