The USATF 20 km Championships, hosted by the Faxon Law New Haven Run, are the eighth stop on the 2017 USATF Running Circuit. Watch on demand on USATF.TV+. Next up on the circuit, the USATF 10 Mile Championships take place on October 1 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The men’s race got off to a slow start, as the men averaged five-minute miles through the first half of the race, before Rupp broke it open with a strong surge that took the men’s field from a dozen competitors in the lead group and chiseled it down to six.
Those six wouldn’t stay together long, as defending champion Leonard Korir and Sam Chelanga grouped up with Rupp and the trio pulled away from Christo Landry, Tim Ritchie and other challengers, making the final miles of the race a three-man battle.
Past nine miles the trio came and went, as Chelanga ran a few strides off Rupp and Korir, who continued to push the pace. As the final mile neared, it was clear it would be a two-man race to the finish.
Over the final half mile, both Rupp and Korir put in moves to try to break the other, but each time the other responded. Rupp seemed to break away with 100 meters to go, but Korir came roaring back and the finish was as close as you could get, as they crossed side-by-side.
The final results told the story, as Rupp inched ahead ever so slightly to claim victory, Rupp finishing in 59:04 to Korir’s 59:05 time.
As Korir crossed the finish in second, he grew his lead in the overall standings over Chelanga, 97.5 - 83. With only three events left in the USATF Running Circuit season, it’s going to take a mighty effort for Chelanga to surpass Korir, especially as Korir has beaten Chelanga five times head-to-head in 2017 on the USATF Running Circuit.
Behind the lead Rupp and Korir, Chelanga finished strong to grab third in 59:16, well ahead of Landry and Ritchie, who hung on to place fourth and fifth respectively. Landry
Rounding out the top ten, Korir’s U.S. Army teammate Samuel Kosgei took home sixth in 1:01:15, slightly ahead of seventh place finisher Kiya Dandena, who crossed the finish in 1:01:17. Jonas Hampton earned eighth with his 1:01:26 time, while Wade Meddles and Ahmed Osman earned USATF Running Circuit points with their ninth and tenth place finishes in 1:01:30 and 1:01:40.
In the women’s race, Hasay and defending champion Aliphine Tuliamuk made it a race until the final three miles, when Hasay broke away and powered to an easy victory.
The duo, along with Sara Hall, distanced themselves from the rest of the pack early on, showing they were the class of the field on this day. The trio ran together through the halfway mark, when Hasay and Tuliamuk started to gap Hall, who settled into running for third.
The leaders continued to set a fast pace, until the ninth mile, when Hasay surged ahead of Tuliamuk and grabbed a 35 meter lead over the course of a mile. Hasay’s lead would continue to grow all the way to the finish, crossing the line over a minute ahead of Tuliamuk in 1:06:35.
Tuliamuk faded over the final two miles, finishing just ahead of Hall for second, 1:07:49-1:07:53.
With her runner-up effort, Tuliamuk extends her lead in the USATF Running Circuit overall standing to a whopping 108, nearly doubling the point total of Hasay’s 55 points. Hasay moved into sole possession of second with her win, surpassing Neely Gracey’s 54 points.
Becky Wade and Stephanie Bruce battled over the final miles, with Wade taking fourth place in 1:08:05 to Bruce’s fifth place of 1:08:14. Both runners picked up big points on the USATF Running Circuit and continue their strong seasons.
Rounding out the women’s top ten, Allie Kieffer held on to score a sixth place finish in 1:08:20, while former Stanford standout Jessica Tonn grabbed seventh overall with her 1:08:55 clocking. Belainesh Gebre earned eighth overall in 1:09:08, while Olympian Shalaya Kipp finished ninth in 1:09:25. Roberta Groner took tenth in 1:10:05.
About the USATF Running Circuit
The USATF Running Circuit is a USATF road series featuring USATF championships from one mile through the marathon and consistently attracts the best American distance runners with more than $500,000 to be awarded in total prize money. A total of $32,200 in prize money will be awarded at the USATF 20 km Championships.
The first ten U.S. runners earn points at each USATF Running Circuit race. For the USATF 20 km Championships, scoring is set as 22.5 for first, 18 for second, 15 for third, 10.5, 9, 7.5, 6, 4.5, 3.5 and 2, with those earning the most points receiving prize money at the end of the series.
The mission of the USATF Running Circuit is to showcase, support and promote U.S. runners. Since its inception in 1995, the USATF Running Circuit and its races have provided over $7 million to U.S. distance runners.
Contributed by Scott Bush