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Korir Holds Off Kipchirchir, Tuliamuk Dominates at the USATF 10 km Championships


ATLANTA, Georgia -- Warm temperatures couldn’t slow down the top runners at the USATF 10 km Championships on Tuesday morning, as talented fields ran inspired races on the Fourth of July, as Olympian Leonard Korir and Aliphine Tuliamuk came home victorious on the AJC Peachtree Road Race course in Atlanta.


From the start, Tuliamuk made the women’s race one of attrition, setting a fast early clip that would never slow down. As the women came upon the first mile marker, the field had already strung out mightily, as Tuliamuk, Sarah Pagano, Jordan Hasay and Marielle Hall positioned themselves out front, with the rest of the field chasing from behind.


The quartet, along with Jessica Tonn, who kept contact a few meters back, continued to pull away from the field throughout much of the second and third mile, but it was in the fourth mile when the race was seemingly decided, as Tuliamuk put in another surge to break away from the pack, a lead she would never relinquish.


Tuliamuk continued to storm the course in Atlanta, slicing through the humid air, pushing the hill over the final mile of the course and ultimately crossing the line victoriously in 32:49, nearly 100 meters ahead of her next closest competitor, to win her third USATF Running Circuit race of the season.


Behind Tuliamuk, Pagano used her prior course experience, having finished second in Atlanta in 2016, to pull away from Hasay over the final mile, earning another runner-up finish in 33:01. Hasay settled for third overall in 33:08.


Tonn continued a tough pace, pushing past Hall with less than two miles to go, but not quite getting up to finish with Pagano and Hasay. The former Stanford standout finished strong however, placing fourth overall in 33:16, while the Olympian Hall earned some valuable experience on the roads with a fifth place finish in 33:36.


After Hall, Lauren LaRocco and Becky Wade waged an incredible finish, coming down the home stretch side by side, with LaRocco lunging across the finish a half step ahead of Wade, as both runners finished in 33:44, while earning sixth and seventh place finishes.


Neely Gracey finished strong despite the heat, taking home an eighth place finish in 33:58, while Susanna Sullivan picked up a couple points in the USATF Running Circuit standings with a ninth place finish in 24:04. Bridget Lyons took home tenth overall in 34:17.


Tuliamuk’s front-running ways earned her another 15 points in the USATF Running Circuit, increasing her total to 75 points, well ahead of Gracey, who currently sits second with 54 points. Jordan Hasay and Natosha Rogers are tied for third with 32.5 points apiece.


Chris Derrick decided from the start to make Tuesday’s men’s race fast. Shooting to the lead, along with Sam Chelanga and Jon Grey, Derrick led much of the first few miles in Atlanta.


With another seven runners sitting off the shoulders of Derrick, including Olympians Korir, Shadrack Kipchirchir, Bernard Lagat and Abdi Abdirahman, the lead pack maintained form for the first four miles.


It wasn’t until that fourth mile that Chelanga decided to open up the race, putting forth a massive shift in pace that immediately separated himself from the rest of the field, while the rest of the pack had to decide to either race to catch up or simply maintain form and hope the leaders would drop back.


Chelanga was joined by Korir and Kipchirchir, making the final two miles of the race a three-man battle to the finish.


Despite throwing in a series of surges, hoping to break his competition, Chelanga couldn’t maintain pace as the finish came into sight. Korir and Kipchirchir powered away over the final half mile of the race, each putting in their own moves with the goal to outlast the other.


Down the homestretch the two U.S. Army training partners came, each eyeing glory on the Fourth of July, and just when fans thought Kipchirchir put in a stride on Korir, it was Korir making one final move in the last ten meters of the race to slip ahead of Kipchirchir for his fourth USATF Running Circuit victory of the season.


Korir crossed the finish first in 28:16, while Kipchirchir finished second in 28:17. Chelanga rounded out the top three with a finishing time of 28:25.


Behind them, Derrick pushed past Lagat in the final moments of the race to take home fourth in 28:39, while Lagat took home fifth in 28:42. Abdirahman and Grey each maintained pace over the final mile to earn sixth and seventh place finishes in 28:54 and 28:57, respectively.


Rounding out the men’s top ten, Elkanah Kibet kept form over the final mile to hold off a charge from Ryan Vail, finishing eighth overall in 29:04. Vail showed good form to place ninth overall in 29:06, while Parker Stinson finished in tenth place with a time of 29:25.


With his victory, Korir extends his USATF Running Circuit lead with 75 total points, well ahead of Chelanga, who sits in second place with 50 points. Kipchirchir’s fine runner-up performance earned him 12 points, which moves the U.S. Army runner up to third place with 40 points.


The USATF Running Circuit resumes on July 29 in Davenport, Iowa, as many of the top American distance runners are set to square off at the USATF 7 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 $100,000 in prize money will be awarded at the USATF 10 km Championships.


The first ten U.S. runners earn points at each USATF Running Circuit race. For the USATF 10 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 $9 million to U.S. distance runners.


Contributed by Scott Bush



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