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Dryer wins USA 10K title at Tufts


Ryan Lamppa
Media Correspondent
USA Track & Field
(805) 696-6232

Dryer Wins USA 10K Road Title at Tufts

By Ray Lapinski, Running USA wire

BOSTON - (October 13, 2003) - With a dominating performance, Elva Dryer of Albuquerque, N.M. won her second USA 10K road title in 32:34 at the Tufts Health Plan for Women. The 2000 Olympian also won the national crown in 2001.

To be a baseball fan and a road race junkie, there was no better place to be than Boston on Columbus Day Weekend with the excitement of playoff baseball and the Yankees in town, the BAA Half Marathon on Sunday and to top it all off, the crown jewel of the weekend was the Tufts 10K. Celebrating its 27th year, this USATF Women's 10K Championship is the largest all-women's 10K event in the United States, with over 7000 registered runners.

Under clear blue skies and a temperature of 65 degrees, the noon start was preceded by the National Anthem and "Take Me Out to the Ball Game". As the field sped down Charles Street, 400 meters into the race, a group of five established itself at the front. Luminita Talpos (Romania), Tatiana Khmeleva (Russia), Katie McGregor, Elva Dryer and Carrie Tollefson hung together through the mile in 5:08 with Yale All-American and Massachusetts native Kate O'Neill 10 yards back.

At the 1.7 mile point, Dryer, 32, powered through the Massachusetts Avenue underpass and quickly opened up a 10 meter lead. Fighting a strong head wind with gusts of 20-25mph along the Charles River, the Team USA California athlete continued to push the pace, moving through 2 miles in 10:20. At the 3.5 mile mark, Dryer had opened up an 18 second lead over newcomer O'Neill who was moving away from Tollefson in 3rd.

As the group turned left, back onto Mass Ave at the 4.2 mile mark, Dryer now had 20 seconds on O'Neill, and she pushed gamely on, running a solo effort in the strong winds and passing 5 miles in 26:15. As she approached the finish at the Boston Common, Dryer looked up to see the clock tick 32:34, outside the course record of 31:38 set by Kiwi Anne Hannam in 1988. O'Neill finished a solid second in 33:02 followed by a fast finishing Jenny Crain (33:16) and O'Neill's twin sister Laura in 33:21.

Dryer was pleased with the effort after almost passing up the race due to illness. "I got back from the World Championships in Paris and took a week off...after that I felt fatigued and found my iron was a bit low, but some good red meat got me back on track." Two weeks later a viral infection had her call the Tufts organizers to tell them she was going to back out. "It only lasted about a week, and then I started to feel pretty good, so I called to get back in." Her future plans call for the North American Challenge on October 26 in San Diego and then the Food World Senior Bowl 10K in Mobile, Ala. After that, it's all about the Olympic 10,000 meters in Athens.

Kate O'Neill was pleased with her national runner-up status and very happy to perform in front of a "hometown" crowd. The Milton, Mass. native is looking forward to the Boston Mayor's Cup Cross Country, and some other harrier opportunities including the World Trials in Indianapolis in February.

Jeanne Lasee-Johnson, 46, from Chula Vista, Calif. finished second master overall in 35:40 to break her U.S. 45-49 age group record (35:57) which she set last year at Tufts.

Tufts was also the 2003 Women's USA Running Circuit finale and prior to the race, Colleen De Reuck (with 73 points), Sara Wells (47) and Marla Runyan (42) had already locked up the top three GP prize money places ($6000, $4000 and $2500 respectively). De Reuck won the overall USARC GP title for the second consecutive year.

The USARC - a USA Track & Field road series - features USA Championships from 5K to the marathon. The Men's USARC finale is hosted by the Food World Senior Bowl Charity Run 10K on November 8 in Mobile, Ala.

The 2003 USARC, the ninth edition for the men and eighth for the women, offers over $340,000 in championship prize money plus a $25,000 grand prix purse. Per USARC race, the first ten U.S. runners earn points (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 for the top three men and women point scorers overall. Circuit points at the USA Marathon Championships were doubled.

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