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Olympians Linden and Bawcom, Deep Men’s Field Headline USATF Half Marathon Championships


COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Olympians Desi Linden and Janet Bawcom lead a talented women’s field, while a loaded men’s field hosts a bevy of talent capable of winning Saturday at the USATF Half Marathon Championships in Columbus, Ohio, hosted by the Capital City Half Marathon.


The USATF Half Marathon Championships are the fourth stop on the 2016 USATF Running Circuit. The race will be aired live on USATF.TV starting at 7:55am ET, while race video, 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.


Linden, who placed second back in February at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon and booked a trip to the Rio Olympics, tests her post-marathon fitness against a host of challengers. While Linden doesn’t have the fastest personal best in the field, she’s more than capable of pushing the pace early and grinding down her competition. Her experience on the roads and recent successes give her the edge as the pre-race favorite.


Tough challenges for Linden should come from the likes of Brianne Nelson and Bawcom. Nelson finished second at the 2015 USATF Half Marathon Championships, setting a personal best of 1:10:16. Bawcom followed 30 seconds later in third.


The two are more than capable of winning Saturday, as Bawcom comes off a fifth place showing at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon in February, while Nelson continues to find her stride after finishing 35th overall in Los Angeles.


2016 USATF 15 km champion Tara Welling is also entered and hoping to improve upon her 1:13:07 personal best run at the Tempe Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Half Marathon back in January. In the race, Welling finished just over a minute behind Bawcom and will use that experience to challenge for the win on Saturday.


Two other top ten finishers from 2015 are entered in Katie Matthews and Lauren Jimison. Matthews finished eighth overall, while Jimison finished four seconds behind in ninth. Jimison finished 36th at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon, eleven seconds behind Nelson. For Matthews, she enters having finished fourth at the USATF 15 km Championships last month.


Other notable entries in Saturday’s contest include USATF Running Circuit veterans Esther Atkins and Katie DiCamillo, along with the competitive quartet of Pan Am silver medalist Lindsay Flanagan, Hannah Davidson, Rachel Sorna and Bria Wetsch.


On the men’s side, the depth of the field should make the race through Columbus both competitive up front, but fast times through the top ten finishers, too.


Aron Rono is the top finisher from the 2015 USATF Half Marathon Championships. Rono ran to a sixth place finish last year, finishing less than ten seconds out of third with a 1:02:25 personal best. Rono is coming off a 28:22.32 10,000m finish at the Stanford Invitational earlier in the month, showing he’s in good enough shape to challenge for a top three finish Saturday.


Providing the toughest challenge for Rono should come from a combination of Shadrack Biwott, Fernando Cabada and Christo Landry. Biwott and Landry have both proven themselves on the USATF Running Circuit, Biwott winning the overall circuit title in 2013, while Landry won in 2014. Cabada has three top ten finishes at the USATF Half Marathon Championships, while Biwott was runner-up in 2013 and enters coming off a seventh place finish at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon.


For Scott Fauble of HOKA ONE ONE Northern Arizona Elite, the young pro ran a very strong 10,000m race on the track earlier in the month at the Stanford Invitational, placing third overall in 28:00.43. He’s looking to improve upon his 31st place showing at the USATF Half Marathon Championships last year, which with another year of experience he should.


Joining those competing for a top five finish, Capital City Half Marathon champions Nick Arciniaga and Craig Leon will use their experience over the course as an advantage throughout the race. Arciniaga won the race in 2015, while Leon won in 2014 and Arciniaga looks to carry the momentum of his top ten finish at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon in Los Angeles.


Rounding out the experienced field is multi-time Olympian Abdi Abdirahman, who looks to prove he’s healthy and ready to compete at a high level again, along with long-time USATF Running Circuit veterans Scott Bauhs, Tyler McCandless and Scott MacPherson.


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 Half Marathon Championships.


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


Contributed by Scott Bush

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