BEND, Oregon -- Reigning USATF Club Cross Country Champion Amy Van Alstine and former USATF Running Circuit champion Christo Landry lead the top open women and men into this Saturday’s USATF Cross Country Championships in Bend, Oregon.
The USATF Cross Country Championships are the first stop on the 2016 USATF Running Circuit. The USATF Cross Country Championships will be broadcast live beginning at 3:00pm ET at USATF.tv. Race video, results, post-race interviews and photos will be available shortly after the race in cooperation with RunnerSpace.com. Join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #USARC.
For the first time ever, the women’s open race will be contested over 10 km. Leading the charge into Saturday’s race is Amy Van Alstine, who won the USATF Club Cross Country Championships over a solid field back in December, while finishing as the top American at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country Meet last month with a sixth place finish. Van Alstine, who won the USATF Cross Country Championship title in 2014, is showing prime early-season fitness and enters this weekend’s contest as the pre-race favorite.
Van Alstine’s chief competition comes from friendly rival Mattie Suver. Suver, who finished second and third respectively at the past two USATF Cross Country Championships, finished a mere 12 seconds behind Van Alstine in Edinburgh last month, showing similar form, as Suver looks to make a strong statement as the 2016 USATF Running Circuit seasons gets underway.
Following closely on the heels of Van Alstine and Suver are fellow Edinburgh teammates Cally Macumber and Kristen Rohde. The duo finished 20th and 27th in Scotland, finishing as the fourth and seventh-best Americans on the day. Macumber placed fourth at the USATF Club Cross Country Championships in December, while Rohde finished ninth, so both are fully capable of cracking the top five Saturday.
Other top entries include Team USA Minnesota’s Katy Moen, Oiselle Haute Volèe athletes Marie Lawrence and Megan Rolland, along with Hudson Elite athlete Maggie Callahan.
In the men’s field, 2014 USATF Running Circuit overall champion Christo Landry looks to get his 2016 season off to a strong start. After a solid 2015 season, in which the 29 year old ran new personal bests on the track and came away with two runner-up USATF Running Circuit finishes, Landry seeks his first USATF title in cross country.
Landry will run in early contention with HOKA ONE ONE Northern Arizona Elite athlete Craig Lutz. Lutz, who turned pro in 2015 out of the University of Texas, set an Arizona state record by running 13:51 in a 5k road race in Phoenix late last year, only to come back two weeks later and run a half marathon debut of 1:05:28. His mix of speed and strength make him a contender over Saturday’s 10k course.
Joining the race up front, former Adams State University runner Tabor Stevens and all-around standout veteran Max King each look to mix it up among the top five. Stevens is coming off a career year in the 3,000m steeplechase, while King continues to be one of the world’s best trail and ultra runners.
U.S. Army’s Hillary Bor and Emmanuel Bor both have strong road racing credentials to their names and will compete for top five finishes, as will Patrick Geoghegan, who earned new personal bests in 2015 over the half marathon and marathon distance, along with former University of Colorado All-American Joe Bosshard, Team USA Minnesota runner Abbabiya Simbassa and veteran Donnie Cowart.
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 $27,000 in prize money will be awarded at the USATF Cross Country Championships.
The first ten U.S. runners earn points at each USATF Running Circuit race. For the USATF Cross Country 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
The USATF Masters Cross Country Championships kick off the 2016 season, inaugurating the USATF Masters LDR Grand Prix circuit, with both team and individual GP points at stake, as well as $3000 in prize money.
The Masters athletes race in the morning. After their race, they can enjoy cheering on the Junior and Open Elite runners who are competing for spots on Team USA for the 2nd Pan American Cross Country Cup (NACAC Cross Country Championships) to be held in Caraballeda, Venezuela, on March 4, 2016.
Some of the top runners expected to compete for Masters titles include 2014 USATF Masters XC winner and 2015 runner-up, Gregory Mitchell, and the runner who surprised him at Boulder last year, defending champion Jacques Sallberg. Mitchell had the satisfaction of besting Sallberg at the Club Cross Country Championships in San Francisco at the end of the year. Who will gain the early edge this year?
For the women’s race, Grace Padilla with her 18:15 at the Carlsbad 5000 last year, has the inside track for the women’s crown. Men’s favorites include M45 Rusty Snow, defending M60 champion, Rick Becker and M65 Doug Winn who took the title at the USATF Club Cross Country Championships two months ago. Carl Combs, who took second in the Club Cross M50 is favored in that division. In Women’s races, W45 Cindy Abrami and W55’s Kelly Kruell are favorites along with W65’s Jo Anne Rowland, who finished as the runner-up at the Club Cross Championships.
Contributed by Paul Carlin