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Korir, Hall seek to defend titles at USATF 20 km Championships


NEW HAVEN, Connecticut – Olympian Leonard Korir and Sara Hall return to the streets of New Haven, Connecticut Labor Day morning, seeking to defend their titles at the USATF 20 km Championships against talented fields, as well as extending their USATF Running Circuit standings leads.


The USATF 20 km Championships, hosted by the Faxon Law New Haven Road Race, are the seventh stop on the 2019 USATF Running Circuit. Race videos, 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.


In 2018, Korir ran away from the men’s field over the final two miles, winning by 12 seconds. With that experience, a recent third place finish in the 10,000m at the USATF Outdoor Championships and becoming the first American since 1988 to win the Falmouth Road Race in mid-August, Korir has plenty of momentum on his side heading into Monday’s contest.


Korir currently leads the USATF Running Circuit standings, having won the USATF Half Marathon Championships, placed second at the USATF 15 km Championships and third at the USATF Cross Country Championships. His 50.5-39 point advantage over Stanley Kebenei has Korir in great position with only four races left in the 2019 USATF Running Circuit, but every place matters Monday as Kebenei, Shadrack Kipchirchir with 37.5 points and Parker Stinson with 30 points are still within striking distance.


Stinson, along with Frankline Tonui, Scott Fauble, Lawi Lalang and Reed Fischer headline the top contenders to Korir. Stinson earned his first national title earlier this season with a victory at the USATF 25 km Championships, while Fauble recently placed sixth at the TD Beach to Beacon 10K after his seventh place finish at the Boston Marathon earlier in the year.


Tonui is one to watch, and a bit of an underdog. After finishing fifth at the USATF 15 km Championships earlier in the year, he more recently placed seventh in the 3000m steeplechase at the USATF Outdoor Championships. Similarly, Fischer placed eighth in the 10,000m at the USATF Outdoor Championships, while earning a seventh place finish at the USATF Half Marathon Championships back in May.


Lalang is a wild card. Having little experience on the roads, the former NCAA champion ran 13:25 for 5000m and 28:03 for 10,000m back in May, while placing tenth in the 5,000m at the USATF Outdoor Championships in late-July. If Lalang can hang with Korir and the rest of the lead back until a mile to go, his track speed could prove very useful in New Haven.


Other top contenders on the men’s side include Colin Bennie, who earned sixth place at the USATF 15 km Championships, USATF Running Circuit veterans Timothy Ritchie and Nathan Martin, former multi-time All-American Luke Puskedra, Mick Iacofano, who has two top ten finishes on the USATF Running Circuit to his name this season, and Anthony Rotich, who was a three-time NCAA champion in the 3000m steeplechase.


Similar to Korir, Hall ran away from the competition over the final few miles of the 2018 USATF 20 km Championships and brings her wealth of course experience to New Haven with an eye on yet another national title. Hall is having a tremendous season, winning the USATF 10 km Championships in June, as well as runner-up finishes at the USATF Half Marathon and USATF 25 km Championships.


Hall currently has a slight edge in the USATF Running Circuit standings, 57-52, over Emma Bates, who is not racing Monday. Stephanie Bruce sits third overall with 37.5 points, as the trio has battled a few times this season. Hall looks to build on her Falmouth Road Race runner-up finish in August.


Hall’s chief competition should come from a variety of competitors who’ve found success on the USATF Running Circuit this season. Kate Landau placed fourth earlier this year at the USATF 15 km Championships, while Dakotah Lindwurm finished a strong fifth at the USATF 25 km Championships.


Katy Jermann is having a great year on the USATF Running Circuit with three top ten finishes to her name, including a fifth place showing at the USATF Half Marathon Championships. She’s joined Monday by Kelsey Bruce, who earned eighth place overall at the USATF 25 km Championships and has sixth top eight finishes in USATF Running Circuit races since 2016.


Both Hannah Everson and Erin Clark are entered Monday, coming off of top ten finishes in the 10,000m at the USATF Outdoor Championships. Everson, who runs for the U.S. Air Force, placed seventh, while Clark, a former All-American at the University of Colorado, placed tenth.


Diane Nukuri is also entered and capable of victory Monday morning. The 2016 Olympian showed good fitness by placing 12th at the TD Beach to Beacon 10K in early August, which came off a tenth place showing in the always competitive Prague Marathon in May. Nukuri has serious road race accomplishments to her name, including three top ten finishes at the New York City Marathon and two top ten finishes at the Boston Marathon.


Rounding out the field of top competition, Annmarie Tuxbury returns to New Haven after earning a ninth place finish in 2018, while Belainesh Gebre and Roberta Groner, two very experienced road runners, also have course experience having placed eighth and tenth respectively in 2017.


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 $38,000 in prize money will be awarded at the USATF 20 km Championships


The first ten U.S. runners earn points at each USATF Running Circuit race. For the USATF 20 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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