By Hank Brown
Winning by over 30 seconds and running a course record 28:11, Dathan Ritzenhein won his first U.S. road championship at the Food World Senior Bowl Charity Run 10 km in Mobile, Ala. on Saturday.
Ritzenhein quickly took the lead and was never challenged as he stalked Marc Nenow's U.S. 10 km record of 27:48 through the first 3 miles, but the warm conditions combined with oppressive humidity hampered his record attempt.
"I wanted to give myself a shot at 27:48," said Ritzenhein after winning his first U.S. road title. "I wanted to go out on that pace. I held it forthree orfour miles, but then I kind of lost it. It was definitely hot and humid. I just wanted to be aggressive. I'm happy to get the course record at least."
Behind Ritzenhein, Matt Gonzales and Brian Sell ran together, taking turns in the lead of the chase pack until Gonzales gradually pulled away atfive miles and hung on for second place in 28:39. Sell held on to third in 28:48, with Josh Moen fourth and Fernando Cabada rounding out the top-five.
The women's race was not a national championship, but race director Vic Knight recruited some of America's best female distance stars to Mobile. USA 10 km Champion Katie McGregor took the lead early and was in control the entire 10 kilometers. She won in 32:51 with Missy Buttry well back in 33:35. Jenny Crain claimed third, Kate O'Neill fourth, and Alicia Craig fifth.
The USA Men's 10 km Championships concluded the 2005 USA Running Circuit (USARC) for men. Abdi Abdirahman is the champion in the men's standings with 48 points ahead of defending USARC Champion Ryan Shay with 44 and Sell finishes third with 41.
A USA Track & Field road series, the USARC features USA Championships from 5 km to the marathon and attracts the best U.S. distance runners. The eleventh edition for the men, the 2005 circuit had nine events.
The first ten U.S. runners earn points at each USARC race (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 ($6000, $4000, and $2500) for the top three men and women point scorers overall. The USARC points at the USA Marathon Championships will be doubled.
The mission of the USA Running Circuit is to showcase, support, and promote U.S. runners. Since its inception in 1995, the USARC and its races have provided over $4 million dollars to U.S. distance runners.
For more information on the 2005 USA Men's 10 km Championships visit www.usatf.org.