Coaching Athletics Quarterly
Thursday, 02 November 2017 17:48

Olympians set to shine in New York City at USATF 5 km Championships

Written by USATF
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NEW YORK – 10 Olympians, headlined by silver medalist Paul Chelimo and American record holder Molly Huddle, lead incredible men’s and women’s fields Saturday morning in New York City, lining up at the USATF 5 km Championships, hosted by the Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5K.
The USATF 5 km Championships are the tenth stop on the 2017 USATF Running Circuit. The race will be shown live via USATF.TV, with the broadcast scheduled to begin at 8:20am ET with the race starting at 8:30am ET. Race videos, results, post-race interviews and photos will be available shortly after the race in cooperation with RunnerSpace.com. Join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #USARC.
In the men’s race, a trio of U.S. Army runners should lead the race early on in fellow Olympians Chelimo, Leonard Korir and Shadrack Kipchirchir.
Chelimo, the reigning Olympic silver medalist and World Championship bronze medalist over 5000m, had another phenomenal track season and now sets his sights on proving his mettle on the roads.
Korir and Kipchirchir are arguably the most experienced road runners in the field. Korir currently leads the USATF Running Circuit standings with 111 points, 31 points ahead of second place Sam Chelanga. A top three finish Saturday would clinch the circuit title for Korir. He won the USATF 10 km Championships earlier in the season and knows how to close races to perfection.
For Kipchirchir, he’ll look to build on his third place USATF Running Circuit standing. He placed second behind Korir at the USATF 10 km Championships, as the two kicked to the finish, but beat Korir on the track at the USATF Outdoor Championships. For former Oklahoma State standout was runner-up at the USATF 5 km Championships in 2016.
Other Olympic contenders include Hassan Mead, who beat both Korir and Kipchirchir on the track at the USATF Outdoor Championships this summer to win the 10,000m title, while two-time Olympic steeplechase standout Donn Cabral should also contend for a top five finish. 
Ben True should also contend for the top prize on the streets of New York City. After finishing fourth in the 5000m at the USATF Outdoor Championships this summer, True is looking to get back to his winning ways and will be able to pull on his road racing experience, having won USATF 5 km road titles in 2011 and 2012. True also holds the American record for the 5 km, after he sprinted to a 13:20 effort in Boston in 2017.
Thomas Curtin, Reid Buchanan and Emmanuel Bor all finished in the top ten at the USATF Outdoor Championships in the 5000m and look to have even more success on the roads, while Craig Lutz, Kirubel Erassa, Joe Stilin and Biya Simbassa add depth to a loaded field of competitors.
On the women’s side, Huddle is the pre-race favorite, having won USATF 5 km titles from 2012-2015, while owning the American record for the 5 km distance on the roads with her 14:50 mark from 2015 in Boston. As Huddle starts to shift more of her attention to the roads, Saturday’s contest gives her a strong test heading into the late fall and winter months.
A mix of young and veteran road runners should provide Huddle her biggest test. Reigning USATF Half Marathon champion Natosha Rogers is having an exceptional season on the roads. In addition to winning the USATF Half Marathon title earlier in the season, she’s also currently sitting fourth in the USATF Running Circuit standings with 50.5 points, within striking distance of second place Jordan Hasay and third place Neely Gracey, who have 55 and 54 points a piece.
Molly Seidel, who was last week’s USATF Athlete of the Week after winning the Mayors Cup in Boston by thirty seconds over Olympian Abbey D’Agostino, is entered and is clearly in fine form. The former NCAA champion and young pro will be able to gain some valuable experience on the roads and see where she stacks up against some of the best in the U.S.
Olympians Desiree Linden, Brenda Martinez, D’Agostino and Shalaya Kipp are all entered, as well. For Linden, the 5 km distance is a dramatic step down from her marathon specialty, while for Martinez it’s a dramatic step up in distance from her 800m and 1500m specialties on the track.
For D’Agostino, Saturday’s race is another step back from her horrific injury at the 2016 Olympic Games. Her second place showing to Seidel last week was a step forward. For Kipp, the 2012 Olympic steeplechase star continues to test herself on the roads during this second half of the 2017 season.
Adding to the field, Lauren Paquette, who placed sixth at the USATF Outdoor Championships over 5000m, is a strong contender to finish in the top three, while World Championship steeplechase qualifier Stephanie Garcia also offers the versatility to challenge for a top three finish.
Former University of Michigan All-American Erin Finn, HOKA ONE ONE Northern Arizona Elite teammates Amy Van Alstine and Rochelle Kanuho, as well as Maddie Van Beek, who placed fifth at the USATF 5 km Championships in 2016, add additional depth to the field.
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 $60,000 in prize money will be awarded at the USATF 5 km Championships.
The first ten U.S. runners earn points at each USATF Running Circuit race. For the USATF 5 km Championships, scoring is set as 15 for first, 12 for second, 10 for third, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1, 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
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