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Masters, Lipari Victorious at the USATF 1 Mile Road Championships


DES MOINES, Iowa – A breezy, mostly sunny evening in Des Moines led to furious finishes at the USATF 1 Mile Road Championships Tuesday evening, as Riley Masters and Emily Lipari outlasted strong fields to claim victory, the first USATF Running Circuit title for either athlete.


The USATF 1 Mile Road Championships, hosted by the Grand Blue Mile, are the third stop on the 2018 USATF Running Circuit. Next up on the circuit, the USATF Half Marathon Championships take place in Pittsburgh on May 6.


From the start, the women’s field packed together, moving through Des Moines stride for stride, as the entire field simply measured each other up, waiting until after half way to make their move. Therese Haiss and others ran five across after the first half mile, as it seemed only a matter of time before someone made a move to break open the race.


That runner would be Rachel Schneider, as Schneider pushed the pace from about 600 meters out, opening a slight gap on the field and looking very in control as the finish neared.


While Schneider seemed in control of the race, Lipari and Olympian Brenda Martinez started their drive to the finish. First it was Martinez overtaking Schneider, then Lipari, then Lipari made one more push to pass by Martinez on her way to her first national title.


“I am really excited to come away with the win,” exalted Lipari. “I have a lot to prove this season and this is a good start.”


Lipari finished just ahead of Martinez, 4:32.9-4:33.1, while Schneider and Shannon Osika ran neck and neck over the final 200 meters, with Schneider holding off Osika 4:33.8-4:33.9. Defending champion Katie Mackey was in contention the whole way, but couldn't quite close the gap in the final stages of the race, taking home fifth place in 4:34.9.


Rounding out the top ten, standout Sarah Brown claimed sixth overall in 4:37.2, while Haiss and Eleanor Fulton placed seventh and eighth respectively in 4:38.0 and 4:39.1. Veteran Dana Mecke took home ninth place in 4:39.9, while Megan Mansy ran a strong race to take home tenth in 4:40.8.


Similar to the women’s race, the entire men’s field ran together for the first half of the race, as multiple athletes took turns leading the way.


As the pack rushed through the streets of Des Moines, it was former champion Garrett Heath and Brannon Kidder taking turns out front. With a quarter mile to go, Kidder jumped to the lead, pushing the pace and gapping the field – making a move he was hoping would separate him enough for the win.


With less than 200 meters to go, Kidder was caught by the chase pack, as Eric Avila made one final push to the finish. It wasn’t until 40 meters to go that three-time top four finisher Masters overtook Avila and strode to victory, crossing the line in 4:03.1.


“Finally I won it,” said an exuberant Masters afterward.


Avila held on for second in 4:03.9, while Nick Harris and Daniel Herrara charged to fantastic finishes, both crossing in 4:04.3. Top ten finisher in 2017, Brandon Lasater, earned a fifth place finish just behind in 4:04.4.


The depth of the men’s field showed throughout the top ten finishers. Multi-time winner Garrett Heath grabbed sixth place with a 4:05.0 finish, just ahead of Tripp Hurt, who finished with the same time. Pat Casey took eighth place in 4:05.1, while Kidder was ninth overall in 4:05.4. U.S. Army runner Emmanuel Bor crossed the line in 4:05.8.


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 $25,000 in prize money will be awarded at the USATF 1 Mile Road Championships.


The first ten U.S. runners earn points at each USATF Running Circuit race. For the USATF 1 Mile Road 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 $7 million to U.S. distance runners.


Contributed by Scott Bush

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