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Olympic Talent Set to Clash at the USATF 5 km Championships

10/31/2018
 

NEW YORK  – Defending champion Shadrack Kipchirchir and top returnee Lauren Paquette headline an incredible collection of Olympic-caliber talent set to compete Saturday in New York City at the USATF 5 km Championships, hosted by the Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5k.

 

The USATF 5 km Championships are the ninth stop on the 2018 USATF Running Circuit. Fans can tune-in for the live broadcast for free beginning at 8:20 a.m. ET on USATF.TV and can watch the coverage on-demand with a +PLUS subscription. Race videos, results, post-race interviews and photos will be available shortly after the race in cooperation with RunnerSpace.com. Join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #USARC.

 

Last year, Kipchirchir won with a thrilling kick to the finish, as six men finished within two seconds of one another. With even better depth assembled for the 2018 addition, Kipchirchir will have his hands full in defending his title. The U.S. Army runner continues to have a dominant 2018 campaign, coming off a recent victory at the USATF 10 Mile Championships and 10,000 victory at the USATF Outdoor Championships this summer.

 

Kipchirchir is joined by current USATF Running Circuit leader Leonard Korir. Korir holds a 91.5-55 point lead over second place Sam Chelanga. A top ten finish for Korir on Saturday means he’ll repeat as USATF Running Circuit champion. Korir is in fine form having finished second at the USATF 10 Mile Championships in October.

 

Another co-favorite entering Saturday’s race is Paul Chelimo. Chelimo finished fourth at the USATF 5 km Championships in 2017 and will be seeking some redemption this year. Always in top form, the reigning USATF Outdoor 5000 champion is ready to compete toe-to-toe with training mates Kipchirchir and Korir.

 

Also entering in top form are Stanley Kebenei and Kirubel Erassa. The duo placed third and fourth respectively at the USATF 10 Mile Championships. Erassa finished third at the USATF 5 km Championships, one second behind Kipchirchir and took home fourth at the 2016 edition.

 

For Kebenei, he’s looking to use Saturday’s race to rise in the USATF Running Circuit standings. He currently sits fifth, but is a mere 2 points from jumping into sole possession of third place. After his fine performance at the USATF 10 Mile Championships in the Twin Cities and his fourth place effort in the steeplechase at the USATF Outdoor Championships earlier this season, Kebenei is certainly a contender for the win.

 

Two other Olympians add another level of intrigue in Dathan Ritzenhein and Matthew Centrowitz. Ritzenhein was third at the 2016 USATF 5 km Championships and looks to prove his current fitness, while Centrowitz seeks to close out his 2018 racing season in championship form after winning yet another 1500m title at the USATF Outdoor Championships earlier this year. He recently was quoted as wanting to attack the American record in the 1500m in 2019, so a good result in New York City should give him additional momentum heading into a new year.

 

Not to be overlooked, Emmanuel Bor and Eric Jenkins, as well as Abbabiya Simbassa and Olympian Donald Cabral are also entered. Bor finished seventh at the USATF 5 km Championships in 2017 and was fifth in the 5000 at the USATF Outdoor Championships this summer. Jenkins won the USATF 5000 title on the track this summer and earned a fourth place finish on the roads at the BAA 5k back in April.

 

Simbassa recently placed sixth at the USATF 10 Mile Championships and finished fifth at the 2017 USATF 5 km Championships, while Cabral was once again a finalist in the steeplechase at the USATF Outdoor Championships. They’re joined by last year’s eighth place finish Will Leer, as well as USATF Outdoor Championship 1500m finalist David Ribich.

 

Equally as deep, the women’s field is stacked with talent, led by top returnee Paquette. After finishing fourth in 2017, the Brooks-sponsored pro seems poised to challenge for victory Saturday. Always in seemingly fine racing form, Paquette enters with a fourth place finish at the USATF Outdoor Championships in the 5000m.

 

Olympian and World Championship medalist Amy Cragg, who opted to not run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon last month, seeks to test her fitness on the roads Saturday, as will USATF Running Circuit veteran Emily Sisson.

 

Sisson finished second at the USATF 5 km Championships in 2016 and third in 2015. She’s coming off a fourth place performance in the 10,000m at the USATF Outdoor Championships and you can be certain she’ll be eyeing victory in New York City.

 

Two other top ten returnees include Olympian Shalaya Kipp and Dana Giordano. Kipp, who placed fourth at the USATF Outdoor Championships in the steeplechase earlier this summer, earned a ninth place finish in 2017. Giordano finished tenth in 2017 and was a 1500m finalist at the USATF Outdoor Championships this season. Both are fully capable of a top three finish Saturday.

 

Coming off injury, Olympian Kim Conley, Aisling Cuffe and Leah O’Connor are three others to watch. Saturday’s contest offers each athlete an opportunity to prove their current fitness, challenge for a top five finish, while getting in another race on very quiet 2018 campaigns.

 

Other top contenders include USATF Outdoor Championship steeplechase third-place finisher Marie Lawrence, USATF Outdoor Championship 5000m top ten finisher Erin Clark, Brooks Beasts TC teammates Allie Buchalski and Jessica Tonn, as well as Roots Running Club standout Maggie Montoya and USATF Outdoor Championship 10,000m top ten finisher Chelsea Blaase.

 

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 $60,000 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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