New Haven, Conn. – Matthew Tegenkamp (Portland, Ore.) and Renee Metivier Baillie (Bend, Ore.) won the respective men’s and women’s titles at the USA 20 km Championships on Monday as part of the Stratton Faxon New Haven Road Race in New Haven, Conn. Tegenkamp’s time of 58:30 was a men’s championship record, while Metivier Baillie’s time of 1:07:08 placed her fourth overall in winning the women’s title.
Tegenkamp, a 2012 Olympian in the 10,000m, followed Luke Puskedra (Ogden, Utah) through a blazing early pace and helped guide him to the championships record. Puskedra, who took the runner-up spot 18-seconds back, aggressively brought a pack of 18 through the opening mile in 4:34 and then proceeded to pull away from the field coming through three miles in 13:48, with only Robert Cheseret within reach.
Cheseret would drift back as Puskedra charged onward, coming through the half way 10 km split at 28:33, which was well under pace of the American 20 km record of 57:52, and well ahead of the chase pack 20 seconds behind.
Despite the 71-degree temperature and 73 percent humidity, Puskedra passed up every water stop, but benefited from the new shadier course. It was at halfway mark, however, that Tegenkamp and Joseph Chirlee (Colorado Springs, Colo.) began to work together on narrowing the gap. It was then just Tegenkamp running solo to catch Puskedra at 10-miles. The two would run side by side through 12 miles, until Tegenkamp switched to another gear to seal the win. Puskedra was runner-up with an impressive debut of 58:48.
Augustus Maiyo (Colorado Springs, Colo.) rallied to place third in 59:39, while Chirlee held on for 4th at 59:54, with Cheseret kicking past Sean Quigley (Boulder, Colo.) for 5th in 1:00:00, giving the U.S. Army three of the top five men’s spots.
The women's race started out at 5:23 per mile pace with a pack of about eight women. The pack stayed tight reaching the two-mile mark in 10:47. After clicking of a 5:16 third mile on the downhill section of the course, a pack of five emerged with Molly Pritz (Boulder, Colo.) leading Serena Burla (Falls Church, Va.), Stephanie Rothstein (Flagstaff, Ariz.), Alisha Williams (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Metivier Baillie.
As the sun broke through the trees around mile four and five, the lead pack dwindled to four as Williams dropped off the back of the 5:20 pace that the leaders were pushing. Just past mile five, Baillie started to make a move but settled back into the rhythm of the foursome. Passing through 10 km at 33:00, the athletes looked strong with Surena slightly off the pack. Shortly after the eight-mile mark, her patience paid off and Baillie increased her lead through the rolling hills of East Rock Park.
Baillie then cruised to the victory in 1:07:08, with Pritz holding on for second at 1:07:21 and Rothstein rounding out the medals in 1:07:59.
About the USARC
The USA 20 km Championships were the seventh stop on the 2012 USA Running Circuit (USARC), and featured $43,000 in prize money. The USARC is a USA Track & Field road series, featuring USA Championships from one mile to the marathon and attracts the best U.S. distance runners. The 2012 circuit features nine events for men and ten for women.
The 2012 USARC features more than $900,000 in circuit prize money with U.S. athletes competing for the right to represent Team USA in various international competitions.
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 a final $12,500 grand prix purse ($6,000, $4,000, and $2,500) for the top three men and women point scorers overall.
The mission of the USA Running Circuit is to showcase, support, and promote U.S. runners. Since its inception in 1995, the USARC and its races have provided over $6 million dollars to U.S. distance runners.
For more information on the 2012 USA Half Marathon Championships visit www.usatf.org.