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Landry, Tuliamuk Take on Talented Fields at USATF 25 km Championships


GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan -- The USATF 25 km Championships take place Saturday morning in Grand Rapids, Michigan and with defending champions Christo Landry and Aliphine Tuliamuk leading the charge, the USATF Running Circuit continues to showcase some of America’s best distance running talent.


The USATF 25 km Championships, hosted by the Fifth Third River Bank Run, are the fifth stop on the 2017 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.


Landry, who pulled away from Olympian Jared Ward over the final portion of the race in 2016 to win, has dominated the roads of Grand Rapids over the years. In addition to winning last year, Landry also came away as victor in 2014, while owning five top three finishes at the USATF 25 km Championships. After finishing third at the USATF Half Marathon Championships recently, Landry will once again line up Saturday as the pre-race favorite.


Local favorite and multi-time Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein may provide Landry his toughest challenge. While having a quiet start to the 2017 season, Ritzenhein would love nothing more than to run strong race and challenge for the win in front of the Grand Rapids fans.


Another key runner in the field is Bobby Curtis. Recently named to compete for Team USA in the marathon at the IAAF World Outdoor Championships this coming summer, Curtis seems primed to complete well over the 25 km distance, having success both at the marathon distance and on the track.


USATF Running Circuit veterans Tim Ritchie and Aaron Braun are strong contenders for top five finishes. Ritchie, coming off a fifth place showing at the recent USATF Half Marathon Championships, led much of the race in Columbus and is showing good form.


For Braun, he put himself among the lead group at the USATF Half Marathon Championships, dropping off in the final miles, but ultimately earning himself a sixth place finish. Similar to Ritchie, he’s clearly in fine form.


Additional top contenders are Joseph Gray, Jonathan Grey, Fernando Cabada, who placed ninth in Grand Rapids last year, while 2016 tenth placed finisher Zach Ripley is also entered.


Tuliamuk, who not only won the USATF 25 km Championships last year but also won the USATF Cross Country Championships earlier this year, enters Saturday’s contest coming off a third place finish at the USATF Half Marathon Championships. As the reigning USATF Running Circuit overall champion, she’ll be keyed in on by other frontrunners in Grand Rapids.


Tuliamuk’s chief competition should come from Neely Spence. Spence beat Tuliamuk with a runner-up finish at the USATF Half Marathon Championships a few weeks ago, pulling away from her rival over the past few miles of the race. Similarly, Spence beat Tuliamuk at the USATF 15 km Championships, again finishing second. In prime shape, Spence is running as strong as she ever has.


2016 runner-up Lindsey Scherf is in attendance and as always should contend for at least a top three finish. Scherf, as experienced on the roads as anyone else in the race, was the 2015 USATF 25 km champion, so her experience in Grand Rapids should pay dividends as the race progresses with a strong understanding of the course.


Two others to watch are Heather Cappello and Tara Welling. Welling, who won the 2016 USATF Half Marathon Championships, has been a consistent contender on the USATF Running Circuit, and finished eighth at the recent USATF Half Marathon Championships.


For Cappello, she placed third at the USATF 25 km Championships in 2015 and similar to Scherf brings with her the knowledge of the Grand Rapids course.


2016 eighth place and tenth place finishers, Alexandra Niles and Melissa Gacek, are once again entered, as is Ashley Brasovan, USATF Running Circuit regular Maddie Van Beek and Boston Athletic Association’s Katie Matthews.


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 $41,500 in prize money will be awarded at the USATF 25 km Championships.


The first ten U.S. runners earn points at each USATF Running Circuit race. For the USATF 25 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 1.5, 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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