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Suver, Landry Headline Fields at USATF 15 km Championships as the USATF Running Circuit Resumes


JACKSONVILLE, Florida – Reigning USATF Cross Country Champion Mattie Suver squares off against a deep field on the women’s side, while 2014 USATF Running Circuit champion Christo Landry leads the men’s field, as the USATF 15 km Championships take place this Saturday in Jacksonville, Florida, hosted by the Gate River Run.


The USATF 15 km Championships are the third stop on the 2016 USATF Running Circuit. The elite women will start at 8:24am ET. The elite men will start at 8:30am ET. 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.


Coming off her strong performance at the USATF Cross Country Championships in Bend, where she won by seven seconds, Suver seeks to improve upon her back to back seventh place finishes at the USATF 15 km Championships the past two years. The Colorado-based runner continues to show she’s one of the best all-around road runners in the United States and gets a chance to take home her second national title this weekend.


Suver’s top competition should come from 2013 runner-up Alisha Williams. After a 2015 in which she finished third at the .US National 12K and set new personal bests over the 10,000m distance on the track and the 10 km and half marathon distances on the roads, Williams seeks her first national title Saturday.


Another top competitor to watch is Tara Erdmann Welling. The Portland-based 26 year old is off to a strong start this season, finishing second at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Half Marathon back in January. She’s starting to show the form she was in back in 2012, when she set a variety of personal bests on the track and was a top contender to make Team USA.


A couple intriguing storylines come from Olympian Lisa Uhl and Flagstaff-based Stephanie Bruce. Uhl, who’s raced sparingly over the past year, looks to jump into the mix and test her talent against top-tier competition for the first time in 2016.


Similarly, Bruce, who’s returning after having a baby this past September, tests her early season fitness against the strong field, as a top ten finish is certainly within reason.


Rounding out the field, veteran road runners Sarah Pagano, Heather Cappello, Katie Matthews and Lindsey Scherf each eye top five finishes in Jacksonville. Scherf placed fifth in at the USATF 15 km Championships in 2014, while Cappello finished third at the USATF 25 km Championships last year and Pagano placed seventh overall at the .US National 12K.

In the men’s race, Landry brings a bevy of experience to the Jacksonville course. The 2014 USATF Running Circuit overall champion finished second last year, which came off of a fourth place finish in 2013. In 2014, Landry won three national titles and was runner-up twice. Saturday’s contest is his first road racing opportunity of the season and one he’ll want to use to gain momentum for the rest of the year.


Landry’s top competition comes from reigning USATF cross country champion Craig Lutz, USATF Cross Country Championship runner-up Aaron Dinzeo and two standouts on the track in Shadrack Kipchirchir and Stanley Kebenei.


For Lutz, the HOKA ONE ONE Northern Arizona Elite standout is finding good success since turning pro last summer. The former Texas All-American has shown tremendous promise over the roads since last fall and will get a true test Saturday in Jacksonville to prove himself even more.


Kipchirchir and Kebenei are two intriguing competitors to watch. Kipchirchir placed fourth at the USATF Outdoor Championships over 10,000m last summer, followed by a fourth place finish at the Pan Am Games in the same distance and a 16th place finish at the IAAF World Outdoor Championships.


For Kebenei, he enters Saturday’s contest coming off a 2015 season in which he finished second in the 3,000m steeplechase at the NCAA Outdoor Championships while competing at Arkansas, then finishing fifth at the USATF Outdoor Championships in the same event. Both are proven over long distances, but the 15 km distance is a whole different challenge.


Another top five contender is Tim Ritchie. A successful veteran of the USATF Running Circuit, he’ll look to better his third place effort in 2014, when he edged Landry, who placed fourth.


Rounding out the very competitive field are young pro Reed Connor, Martin Hehir, Nate Jewkes, Brian Shrader, Abbabiya Simbassa and Dan Lowry, along with more established veterans Andy Wacker, Hillary Bor and Emmanuel Bor.  The mix of experienced road racing talent and young up and comers should create an opportunity for some dramatic and surprising finishes on Saturday in Jacksonville.


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 $53,000 in prize money will be awarded at the USATF 15 km Championships.


The first ten U.S. runners earn points at each USATF Running Circuit race. For the USATF 15 km 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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