Torres wins USA Men’s 8 km Championship
Associate Director of LDR and Marketing
USA Track & Field
NEW YORK - 2005 USA 8 km champion Jorge Torres (Boulder, Colo.) out-dueled last week's USA 15 km champion Andrew Carlson (Bloomington, Minn.) to win his second USA Men's 8 km title in New York's Central Park on Saturday. Torres' winning margin was just .07 seconds as both he and Carlson were timed in 22:42.
This year's championships, hosted by the New York Road Runners (NYRR) as part of the Central Park Challenge, saw a field of more than 40 U.S. men start under cloudy skies with temperatures in the low 40's.
Pre-race favorite Alan Webb (Reston, Va.), the American Record holder at the mile, led a tight group through the opening mile in a somewhat relaxed 4:36 with Torres, Carlson, James Carney (Boulder, Colo.), Christian Hesch (Moro Bay, Calif.), Fasil Bizuneh (Flagstaff, Ariz.) and Jason Hartmann (Springfield, Ore.) only a step behind.
For the next two miles, the lead would shift among the group with Webb taking a slight advantage over Hesch at 5 km, which they passed in 14:10. Shortly after 5 km, Webb began to feel the lingering effects of food-poisoning and began to fall off the pace. At the same time, Carlson began a long uphill push that would eventually drop everyone except Torres and Hartmann.
Shortly after passing four miles in 18:16, Hartmann began to fade as Carlson and Torres continued their duel. With 400 meters to go, Torres made his bid for his second 8 km title but Carlson wouldn't go quietly, and was only a step behind until Torres made one last push with 200 remaining.
Hartmann would finish six seconds later in 22:48, with Carney fourth and Bizuneh fifth in 22:53 and 23:03 respectively.
Torres, Carney and Jonathan Pierce (Blowing Rock, N.C. - 12th in 23:22), will represent Team USA at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Edinburgh, GBR in two weeks.
Hesch, Bizuneh and Carney each picked-up premiums of $1500, $1000, and $500 for being the first, second, and third athletes to cross the timing mat at 5 km and finishing in the top-ten.
In the accompanying invitational women's 8 km American Record holder at 5,000 meters outdoors and 3,000 meters indoors Shalane Flanagan (Pittsboro, N.C.) ran 25:40 for a 15 second win over Katie McGregor (St. Louis Park, Minn.), who will also represent the U.S. in Edinburgh on March 30.
Athletes competed for a total prize-money purse of $70,000 with the Torres and Flanagan each earning $10,000.
About the USARC
The USA 8 km Championship was the third stop on the 2008 USA Running Circuit (USARC) for men. Carlson now leads the circuit with 27 points, Carney is second with 22 and Bizuneh and Hartmann are tied for third with 16 points.
The USARC is a USA Track & Field road series that features USA Championships from 5 km to the marathon and attracts the best U.S. distance runners. The fourteenth edition for the men and thirteenth for the women, the 2008 USARC has seven events for men and nine 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 ($6,000, $4,000, and $2,500) 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 2008 USA 8 km Championships visit www.usatf.org.