INDIANAPOLIS – Both Mo Trafeh (Duarte, Calif.) and Jen Rhines (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) won their second USA titles of 2011 at the USA 15 km Championships Saturday in Jacksonville, Florida. This year marks the 18th year that the Gate River Run has hosted the championships. Trafeh and Rhines were the respective men’s and women’s champions at the USA Half Marathon Championships on January 29.
With this year’s race once again featuring the Equalizer Bonus and ideal conditions, the elite women’s race started six minutes before the rest of the field.
Rhines and defending champion Katie McGregor (Minneapolis, Minn.) led the women through the opening mile in 5:29 and approaching 5 km, Rhines took control, opening a gap on everyone except eventual runner-up Nan Kennard (Boulder, Colo.).
By 10 km, Rhines had a seven second advantage over Kennard and was steadily pulling away. Though she still had her eyes set on the Equalizer Bonus, Rhines would have to settle for only the women’s title in 49:31 as Trafeh overtook her in the final mile to claim the bonus. Kennard took second in 49:56 with newcomer Megan Hogan (Minneapolis, Minn.) closing quickly to take third in 49:57.
On the men's side, Trafeh took control early, passing 5 km in 14:08, 5 seconds ahead of the field. With his eyes on claiming the bonus for the second year in a row, Trafeh had a 12 second lead at 10 km, which he passed in 28:31 as Ben True (Hanover, N.H.) and Aaron Braun (Flagstaff, Ariz.) battled for second.
After catching Rhines with about a kilometer to go, Trafeh enjoyed his second straight 15 km title, hitting the line in 42:58. True outkicked Braun to claim the runner-up spot by one second in 43:26.
Video highlights of the USA 15 km Championships are available in cooperation with RunnerSpace.com at www.USARunningCircuit.com
About the USARC
The USA 15 km Championships were the third stop on the 2011 USA Running Circuit (USARC), and featured a total championship prize purse of $80,000. Trafeh and Rhines each earned $12,000 for their titles and Trafeh claimed an additional $5,000 for the Equalizer Bonus.
The 2011 USARC is a USA Track & Field road series, featuring USA long distance running championships and for the first time will include the USA Cross Country Championships. The USARC attracts the best U.S. distance runners and has ten events for men and nine for women.
The 2011 USARC will feature more than $450,000 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 2011 USA 15 km Championships visit www.usatf.org.