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Tuliamuk eyes three-peat at USATF 25 km Championships


GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan – Heading into Saturday’s USATF 25 km Championships in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Aliphine Tuliamuk will seek a USATF 25 km three-peat a mere six days after winning the USATF Half Marathon Championships.


The USATF 25 km Championships, hosted by the Fifth Third River Bank Run, are the fifth stop on the 2018 USATF Running Circuit. Race videos, 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.


For Tuliamuk, Saturday’s contest will be a test of recovery, having outlasted runner-up Sara Hall at last weekend’s USATF Half Marathon Championships. The two-time defending USATF Running Circuit overall champion has seen her fair share of success in Grand Rapids, having won the past two USATF 25 km titles by an average of a minute and eight seconds.


Such dominance, along with her recent win in Pittsburgh, makes her the clear favorite, but there are still a number of runners fully capable of challenging for a top two finish.


The trio of Lindsey Scherf, Emma Bates and Esther Atkins on paper are Tuliamuk’s toughest competition. Scherf, who broke the world indoor marathon record this past winter, was USATF 25 km champion in 2015 and finished second to Tuliamuk in 2016. Her experience in Grand Rapids could pay dividends towards the later stages of the race.


For Bates, the BAA runner is coming off of a 27th place finish at the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships earlier this season. Bates has shown well time and again on the USATF Running Circuit and enters Saturday’s action coming off of a fine runner-up finish at the Vancouver Sun Run last month.


Meanwhile, Atkins is getting back to the rhythm of the USATF Running Circuit, having not raced a USATF championship yet this season. Atkins did place 12th at the Osaka International Ladies Marathon in January, finishing in 2:36:57, while also having experience on the Grand Rapids course having finished fourth in 2016.


Other notable contenders on the women’s side include Alexandra Niles and Melissa Gacek, who placed eighth and tenth at the 2016 USATF 25 km Championships, while Lauren Totten and Mara Olson each have an opportunity to challenge for top three, coming off of impressive third and fourth place finishes at the Credit Union SACTOWN Run last month.


On the men’s side, Parker Stinson will be in a similar situation to Tuliamuk, racing in Grand Rapids after a runner-up showing at last weekend’s USATF Half Marathon Championships in Pittsburgh. Stinson was barely edged out by champion Chris Derrick and showed he’s in fine form having set a personal best in the half marathon distance by 41 seconds in 1:02:48.


As the top returnee having placed third in Grand Rapids last year, Stinson can quickly move up the USATF Running Circuit standings with a good showing, where he currently sits eighth overall, but only 12 points behind second place Martin Hehir.


Challenging Stinson up front will be Scott Fauble of HOKA ONE ONE Northern Arizona Elite. Fauble, who placed fifth at the United Airlines NYC Half earlier this season in 1:02:58, is coming off a tenth place showing in the 10,000m at the Payton Jordan Invitational. Clearly in good shape, Fauble will once again get a chance to test his fitness and challenge for a USATF Running Circuit victory.


Other top challengers including Nathan Martin, Tyler McCandless and Jared Ward. For Martin, he’s got the experience advantage over his competition in Grand Rapids, having placed sixth overall at the USATF 25 km Championships last year and fourth overall in 2016.


McCandless is coming off a fantastic finish to his 2017 season, where he was runner-up at the USATF Marathon Championships. He’ll look to use his veteran race savvy to best the field, as will Ward, who placed sixth in the marathon at the Rio Olympic Games. Ward hasn’t quite shown similar results to his performance at Rio or leading up to Rio, but he does have a bevy of experience on the Grand Rapids course after placing second in 2016.


Nicolas Montanez and Will Nation are two others with USATF 25 km Championship experience. Montanez earned a seventh place finish in 2017, while Nation took home fifth place in 2016.


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 $30,200 in prize money will be awarded at the USATF 25 km Championships.


The first ten U.S. runners earn points at each USATF Running Circuit race. For the USATF 25 km Championships, scoring is set as 30 for first, 24 for second, 20 for third, 14, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4 and 2, 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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