Browne wins USA 10 mile title at Papa John's
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
USA Track & Field
Also Sets USA Championship Record
By Jim Estes
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - (April 10, 2004) - "Papa" John Schnatter was in such a hurry to get the 2004 edition of the Papa John's 10 Miler/USA Men's Championship underway before the forecasted rains appeared, the field for the USA Men's Championship on Saturday morning was barely on the line when the gun went off. Fortunately, the rain didn't show, but a strong field and another national championship record did as 2004 Olympic marathoner Dan Browne of Portland, Ore. won in 46:32.
Once again, near perfect weather, 52 degrees and a light breeze met a field of 5,500 runners for the fourth running of this event. In addition, runners had the added bonus of Eddie Money in concert after the race.
Defending USA 10 Mile Champion Chris Graff of Palo Alto, Calif. said that he thought that the opening mile of 4:28 would "narrow the field more than it did and a pack of 12 guys at two miles in 9:02 (4:33), was certainly not what I expected."
By the time the leaders hit three miles in 13:44 (4:41), the front pack was down to Browne, Graff, 2003 USA 5K Champ Henry Dennis, 2003 USA Marathon and Half-Marathon Champion Ryan Shay and Justin Young of Boulder, Colo. and each would take more than one turn trying to separate themselves from eventual winner Browne.
It was at that point that Browne, 28, knew "Today is going to be a fast day. At no point were we taking it easy, there was always a point when someone was willing to take the lead."
Regarding the multiple lead changes, Graff who would go on to finish second (47:02) commented, "I was surprised with the level and amount of aggressive moves, one guy would push up the hills and another would push through the crest and yet another would push the down-hill. No one could hold the lead for more than 200 meters during the first six miles."
A pair of 4:46 miles got the lead pack half-way home in 23:18. No one in the group was willing to let any one of the others gain more than a few steps. Going up the final hill in the park approaching six miles in 27:59 (4:45), Dennis made what would amount to be his final attempt to make a break, however, his competition stayed close and coming out of the park on the down-hill seventh mile 4:37, Ryan Shay became the barrier for the slight head-wind that met the leaders coming back down Southern Parkway.
"I knew that everyone was looking to me to take the wind, so I took it and tried to make something happen. I took a look at seven miles and everyone was still there and I knew that Dan was feeling pretty good and would be making a move soon, so, I just tried to maintain," commented Shay, a Team Running USA athlete.
A 4:41 eighth mile had Browne just beginning to feel like he was pushing hard, with Graff less than two steps behind as the pair left Shay, Dennis and Young to sort out third. By the time Browne turned in a 4:32 ninth mile, the 2003 Pan Am Games 10,000 meter bronze medalist was nine seconds up on Graff and with a solo final mile, he hit the finish at the fifty-yard line in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in a USA Men's Championship record of 46:32 bettering Graff's 47:09 from last year.
Browne's winning time is the fastest 10 mile performance by a U.S. male since Bill Reifsnyder's 46:32 in April 1991 at Cherry Blossom and ties Reifsnyder for #3 U.S. all-time on confirmed, certified courses.
"This was a great test of my fitness, I just came off the Olympic Marathon Trials feeling good and want to run a fast 10K in a few weeks and was glad to come to Papa John's to confirm that my training is moving in the right direction," said the West Point grad who won his 9th USA road title and 12th overall as well as pocketing $10,000 as national champion.
Graff made a point to add, "When it is all said and done, it was a great race again this year, I know I speak for the rest of the athletes when I say we really appreciate Papa John's and their support of a USA Championship. I especially want everyone to know, how much we love Karen Sherman, Race Director for the Papa John's 10 Miler, she's really great!"
As part of the 2004 USA Running Circuit, a USA Track & Field national championship road series, the top 10 U.S. runners earned USARC points at Papa John's. With his victory (worth 15 Circuit points), Browne moved into second place in the Men's USARC standings with 35 points. Fellow Olympian Meb Keflezighi of Mammoth Lakes, Calif. sits atop the men's standings with 54 points.
The 2004 USARC offers a record of $818,700 in guaranteed prize money with a final $12,500 grand prix purse ($6000, $4000 and $2500) for the top three men and women point scorers overall.
Visit www.usatf.org for USARC standings and more.