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Olympians Aplenty at Sunday’s USATF 5 km Championships


PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND -- Numerous recent Olympians are set to compete at the USATF 5 km Championships Sunday in Providence, Rhode Island, as Rio Olympic finalists Hillary Bor, Marielle Hall, Donn Cabral, Leonard Korir and Shadrack Kipchirchir lead the way at the event hosted by the CVS Health Downtown 5k.


The USATF 5 km Championships are the eighth stop on the 2016 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.


On the men’s side, the quartet of Olympians in the field will have their hands full with strong talent from top to bottom. U.S. Army teammates Korir and Kipchirchir placed 14th and 19th respectively in the men’s 10,000m in Rio. With strong finishes in Providence, both have a chance to move into the top five of the USATF Running Circuit standings, with Kipchirchir having placed second at the USATF 15 km Championships earlier this season, while Korir won his first U.S. title at the USATF 20 km Championships.


For fellow Olympians Cabral and Bor, each enters Sunday’s contest coming off their competitive final performances in Rio. Bor finished seventh in the men’s 3000m steeplechase, while Cabral placed a spot behind in eighth. With their track seasons done, the two will test their late-season fitness on the roads.


Speaking to the depth of the field, reigning World Indoor 3000m silver medalist Ryan Hill and recent New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile champion Eric Jenkins are also entered and with their recently shown fitness, it would not be at all surprising to see both challenging for the win in the final strides in downtown Providence.


Hill’s Bowerman Track Club teammates Chris Derrick and Andrew Bumbalough are each entered. Bumbalough is set to race for the first time in a long while due to nagging injuries. While it remains to be seen what sort of racing shape he is in, Derrick lines up having finished fifth at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in the 10,000m earlier in the summer.


The top returnee from last year is Sam Chelanga, who seems poised to challenge for the title in 2016 having finished fourth in 2015. Chelanga placed sixth at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in the 10,000, while taking home a runner-up finish earlier this month at the USATF 20 km Championships.


Headlining the women’s race, reigning USATF 20 km and 25 km champion Aliphine Tuliamuk-Bolton will go for her third USARC title of the season, with the hope to edge ever closer to current USATF Running Circuit standings leader Tara Welling, who is also entered. Tuliamuk-Bolton has plenty of speed to lean on Sunday, having shown her range earlier in the summer at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, where she finished eighth in the 10,000m.


For Welling, Sunday’s race offers the Portland-based runner an opportunity to increase her USATF Running Circuit standings lead. She currently sits first with 46 points, four points ahead of Desiree Linden and owns 15 km and Half Marathon championships to her name on the roads this year.


Tuliamuk-Bolton will have plenty of competition however, especially as Olympian Hall will have something to say. Hall struggled in Rio, finishing in 33rd overall in the 10,000m. She flashed her speed at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in the 5000m, however, where she placed seventh.


Other top 5000m threats on the track, Laura Thweatt and Nicole Tully could pull off the victory in Providence. Thweatt narrowly missed an Olympic Team birth in the 10,000m at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Eugene, placing fifth overall. For Tully, the 2015 U.S. 5000m champion seeks to put a positive result at the end her season, building momentum for next year.


Not to be overlooked, Tuliamuk-Bolton’s closest challenger at the USATF 20 km Championships, Emily Sisson, seeks to build on her runner-up showing in New Haven. The Providence-based standout is the top returnee having placed third in 2015. She’ll use her hometown advantage and passionate crowd to challenge for the win.


Lindsey Scherf and Maddie Van Beek, both experienced road race veterans in their own right, challenge for top five finishes. Scherf is better known in the longer distances on the road, but after a fourth place finish at the USATF 20 km Championships, she’s ready to test herself over the shorter distance. Van Beek placed fifth at the USATF 20 km Championships, while showing her range with a fifth place showing at the USATF 1 Mile Road Championships earlier in the season.


Rounding out the top contenders list, Lauren Hagans Paquette, who finished eighth in 2015, races Sunday after a strong track season. She’s joined by multi-time Olympian Jen Rhines and seventh place 10,000m Olympic Trials finisher Rochelle Kanuho.


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 $38,100 in prize money will be awarded at the USATF 5 km Championships.


The first ten U.S. runners earn points at each USATF Running Circuit race. For the USATF 5 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 $7 million to U.S. distance runners.


Contributed by Scott Bush

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