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Masters, Lipari eye repeat at USATF 1 Mile Road Championships


DES MOINES, Iowa – After thrilling and hard-fought victories in 2018, both Riley Masters and Emily Lipari return Tuesday to the USATF 1 Mile Road Championships in Des Moines, Iowa to defend their titles, as some of America’s finest middle distance talent lines up at the event hosted by the Grand Blue Mile.


The USATF 1 Mile Road Championships are the third stop on the 2019 USATF Running Circuit. Fans can tune-in for the live broadcast beginning at 7:10pm CT on USATF.TV with a +PLUS subscription. 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.


Masters kicked to victory in 2018, pulling away from the pack over the final 100 meters, winning by less than a second over Eric Avila. While Avila is not entered in Tuesday’s content, Masters will still have his hands full. Currently training in Boulder, Colorado, Masters has had a slow start to his season, racing sparingly indoors and has yet to open his season outdoors.


Leading the pre-race chase pack will be a quartet of top seven finishers from 2018. Nick Harris, Daniel Herrera, Brandon Lasater and Tripp Hurt finished 3-4-5-7 respectively, all less than two seconds off of Masters. Knowing the course and how to race well on the roads, each will again be in contention for the victory.


Harris ran 3:58.55 indoors in Boston back in late January, while winning an 800m race at the Colorado Invitational in 1:52.69 earlier this month. Herrera also went 3:58 for the mile indoors and ran 4:02.21 in the mile to open his outdoor season two weeks ago. Laster placed sixth in the 1000m at the Toyota USATF Indoor Championships, while Hurt placed third overall in the two mile at the Toyota USATF Indoor Championships.


Two additional athletes in the field who have a strong shot to challenge for the win are former multi-time NCAA champion Lawi Lalang, who gained American citizenship and the ability to represent the United States in March, as well as Kyle Merber, who ran 3:57.92 indoors in early March and owns the best mile seasonal best in the field.


Other notable entries in the men’s field include Paralympic gold medalist Mikey Brannigan, who is looking to redeem himself after placing 17th at the USATF 1 Mile Road Championships last year, veteran Will Leer, former NCAA Outdoor 1500m champion Chad Noelle, as well as Harun Abda, who ran 1:49 for 800m twice indoors in February.


On the women’s side, Lipari outkicked Olympian Brenda Martinez, winning the title in Des Moines, 4:32.9-4:33.1. The BAA-trained athlete finished tenth in the mile at the NYRR Millrose Games in 4:33.97, while winning the 3000m at the Camel City Elite races. She’s showing great strength and speed early on this season.


While Lipari enters as the pre-race favorite, similar to Masters, she’ll find a strong field full of capable championship contenders. One of those top contenders is Shannon Osika.


Osika,placed seventh in the 1500m at the USATF Outdoor Championships last summer and enters Tuesday with consecutive fourth place finishes at the USATF 1 Mile Road Championships. The former University of Michigan runner is in fine form, having placed fourth in the mile at the Toyota USATF Indoor Championships in late February.


Another of Lipari’s main challenges could come from three-time USATF 1 Mile Road champion Heather Kampf, who looks to get back to her dominating ways on the roads, having won titles from 2014-16.


Kampf worked on her strength during the indoor season, racing a 3000m in late January and then the two mile at the Toyota USATF Indoor Championships a month later, so her sharpness for the mile remains to be seen, but no one has had more success in road miles over the past few years than Kampf.


Nikki Hiltz is another top entry, having raced in both the mile and two mile at the Toyota USATF Indoor Championships in February, while coming off a 2018 season where she finished ninth in the 1500m at the USATF Outdoor Championships.


Hannah Fields and Alexina Wilson both have experience at the USATF 1 Mile Road Championships, having placed sixth and seventh respectively in 2017, as does Therese Haiss, who placed sixth in 2018 and should push again for a top five finish.


Megan Rolland, who placed sixth at the USATF Outdoor Championships in the steeplechase is also a top five contender, while young pros Marisa Howard and Ashley Stinson add elite depth to the strong field.


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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