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Ward, Landry Set to Clash, Scherf Looks to Defend at USATF 25 km Championships

INDIANAPOLIS -- Current USATF Running Circuit leader Christo Landry and Olympic marathon qualifier Jared Ward are set to square off Saturday morning at the USATF 25 km Championships in Grand Rapids, Michigan, hosted by the Fifth Third River Bank Run, while Lindsey Scherf seeks to defend her title in the women’s race.
The USATF 25 km Championships are the sixth stop on the 2016 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.
At the 2015 USATF 25 km Championships, Ward edged Landry for the title by a mere five seconds, as the two battled all the way to the finish. With Landry winning the recent USATF Half Marathon Championships, and Ward coming off his third place effort at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon in Los Angeles in February, the two enter Saturday’s contest as the pre-race favorites once more.
Two-time USATF 25 km champion Fernando Cabada is also entered in the field. Cabada looks to rebound after a 55th place showing at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon. He has plenty of experience in Grand Rapids, earning victories in 2006 and 2011.
Nick Arciniaga is another notable entry fully capable of challenging for victory in Grand Rapids. Arciniaga finished tenth at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon in February, and similar to Cabada, has had USATF 25 km success, earning two top four finishes in past years.
Other men who should vie for top five finishes include USATF Running Circuit veterans Craig Curley and Tyler McCandless, along with Andy Wacker, who finished seventh at the USATF Cross Country Championships earlier this year.
In last year’s women’s race, Scherf took to the lead early, driving the pace hard in her usual style of racing. Her early efforts cemented her in the lead the entire way, as she won by over a minute, besting up runner-up Sara Hall by a minute and six seconds.
Scherf will no doubt use the same race tactic again Saturday and this time it remains to be seen whether anyone will go with her early on. Scherf arrives in Grand Rapids coming off an eighth place finish at the always competitive Bloomsday Race in Tacoma, Washington. The top American finisher at Bloomsday and a strong competitor for Saturday is Aliphine Tuliamuk-Bolton, who became a U.S. citizen just two days before that race.
Also ertain to challenge Scherf, Clara Santucci may vie for the victory in Grand Rapids. Santucci, who holds five top five finishes in USATF Running Circuit races over the years, is extremely experienced racing distances from the half marathon on up and is coming off a fine 14th-place finish at the Bloomsday Run earlier this month, where she finished as the fifth American overall.
Another notable veteran entered in Saturday’s race is Wendy Thomas. The Colorado-based runner finished 17th at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon earlier this season and holds two top eight finishes at the USATF 25 km Championships to her name. She continues to seek her first USATF Running Circuit title.
Other USATF Running Circuit veterans, Esther Atkins and Kelsey Bruce, both earned top ten finishes at the USATF Half Marathon Championships late last month. Atkins placed eleventh overall at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon in February.
Young pros Jennifer Bergman and Ashley Brasovan each look to make their mark against their more experienced competition and should contend for top five finishes in Grand Rapids.
Saturday’s race has big implications in the USATF Running Circuit standings, as Landry currently leads by six points (39 points total) over second place Craig Lutz, while Ward looks to quickly move up, where he currently sits in sixth place with 20 points.
For Scherf, she currently sits in ninth place with 15 points, well behind USATF Running Circuit leader Tara Welling (45 points), but a repeat victory would move her up to third place, tied with U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon champion Amy Cragg with 30 points.
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 15 for first, 12 for second, 10 for third, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1, 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

Christa Mann
Marketing & Communications Manager
USA Track & Field

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