INDIANAPOLIS – The top three athletes in the USARC standings and multiple Olympians headline the women’s field at the .US Road Racing Championships
, held on November 17 in historic Alexandria, Virginia. The strong field, including 2012 USARC winner Janet Bawcom
(Rome, Ga.), Molly Huddle
(Elmira, N.Y.) and Shalane Flanagan
(Marblehead, Mass.), looks to close out the USARC season with intense competition and impressive performances.
The .US National Road Racing Championships are the tenth and final stop on the USA Running Circuit, with the top ten finishers earning triple points towards the USARC overall standings. With the winner picking up a whopping 45 points (36 for second, 30 for third, 21, 18, 15, 12, 9, 6, 3), the standings are sure to look dramatically different afterward.
Leading the charge into Alexandria, Huddle is on a roll, winning the USA 5 km Championships in late September, then picking up a big win at the NYRR Dash to the Finish 5k on November 2. Huddle is race sharp and with 15 points in the standings, a win could very well propel her to the overall USARC victory.
Not to be outdone, fellow Olympian Flanagan challenges for victory after a third place effort at the NYRR Dash to the Finish 5k. Flanagan, who won the USA Cross Country Championship title at the beginning of the USARC season, is in a similar position to Huddle, entering with 15 points and hoping a 45 point first place victory launches her to the top of the USARC standings.
Flanagan’s Portland-based teammate Emily Infeld
(Cleveland, Ohio) is a likely challenger, having narrowly lost to Huddle at both the USA 5 km Championships and the NYRR Dash to the Finish 5k. Infeld finished less than a second behind Huddle in September and finished with the same time at the Dash to the Finish. Running with confidence and tenacity, Infeld cannot be overlooked.
After the trio of pre-race favorites, the top three leaders in the USARC standings add additional intrigue. Bawcom, who currently sits second in the standings with 45 points, won convincingly in her three USARC races this season, picking up USA 10 km Championship, USA 15 km Championship and USA 10 Mile Championship wins. She’s experienced, and while she’s making the challenging two-week turnaround from competing at the ING New York City Marathon, she’ll certainly challenge from the gun.
(Colorado Springs, Colo.), who currently leads the USARC standings with 47 points, is entered and hopes to hold on to her circuit lead. Suver, who’s also coming off of the ING NYC Marathon, where she finished third, finished runner-up at both the USA 20 km and USA 25 km Championships. While the 12 km distance of the .US National Road Racing Championships will certainly test her speed, there’s a tremendous amount on the line.
Additional strong contenders include Olympian Kim Conley
(Santa Rosa, Calif.) and Alexi Pappas
(Alameda, Calif.). Conley, who finished runner-up at the USA Cross Country Championships, has the speed and strength to always challenge over the 12 km distance, while Pappas recently finished third at the USA 5 km Championships. Laura Thweatt
(Boulder, Colo.), who finished fourth at the USA 5 km Championships, and fellow road race veteran Kellyn Johnson
(Flagstaff, Ariz,) are also poised to contend for top five finishes.
Other notable athletes in the top ten of the USARC standings competing in Alexandria are third place Annie Bersagel
(Lakeville, Minn.), who won the USA Marathon Championships, fifth place Brianne Nelson
(Fort Collins, Colo.), sixth place and USA 20 km champion Meghan Peyton (Richfield, Minn.), tied in eighth place Esther Erb
(Blowing Rock, N.C.) and Wendy Thomas
(Windsor, Colo.), as well as tenth place and USA 1 Mile Championship runner-up Sara Hall
Live text updates of the .US National Road Racing Championships will be available at www.USARunningCircuit.com beginning at 7:15 a.m. ET. Video of the race, post-race interviews and photos will be available shortly after the race on USATF.tv
. Join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #USARC.
About USA Track & Field
USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the country’s #1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States. For more information on USATF, visit www.usatf.org
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About the USARC
The USARC is a USA Track & Field road series featuring USA 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 $100,000 in prize money will be awarded at the .US National Road Racing Championships.
The first ten U.S. runners earn points at each USARC race (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 USARC is to showcase, support and promote U.S. runners. Since its inception in 1995, the USARC and its races have provided over $7 million to U.S. distance runners.
Contributed by Scott Bush