From Nathan Chambers
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Leading from start to finish, Abdi Abdirahman successfully defended his USA Men's 10 Mile Championship title on Saturday to become the first repeat winner in the history of the event.
The sixth annual Papa John's 10 Miler, which attracted more than 6,000 runners, hosted the championship for the fourth straight year.
Abdirahman, a two-time U.S. Olympian in the 10,000 meters, broke away from the field in the second mile and was never threatened. His finished the race in 48:23, well off the championship record of 47:27 that he set last year but well ahead of the other contenders. Andrew Carlson was second in 48:51, and Jason Lehmkuhle was third in 49:19.
"I wanted to run faster," said Abdirahman. "I went out fast, but it was hard to maintain it by myself. So I just ran to win today."
He was on record pace again through the first two miles, but he could not sustain it through the hills of Iroquois Park in the hot and humid conditions. It was in the mid-70s when the race started at 8:35 a.m.
Carlson, who was fifth in the USA Men's Half Marathon Championship on Jan. 15, made his move as he entered Iroquois Park early in the fifth mile. He split from 2004 champion Dan Browne and soon established as much of a lead in second as Abdirahman had on him. Browne eventually faded to 10th.
Abdirahman, who won the USARC points title last year, earned $10,000 and now leads the 2006 USARC standings with 25 points. Carlson is second with 21, and Brian Sell and Meb Keflezighi are tied for third with 15.
The Papa John's 10 Miler/USA Men's 10 Mile Championship was the third race in the 2006 USA Running Circuit (USARC), a USA Track & Field road series, featuring USA Championships from 5 km to the marathon and attracts the best U.S. distance runners, including several Olympians. The eleventh edition for the men and tenth for the women, the 2005 circuit has nine events for men and eight events for women.
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 2006 USARC and USA Men's 10 Mile Championship visit www.usatf.org.