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Olympians look for big wins in the Big Apple at the 2019 USATF 5 km Championships


NEW YORK CITY – Olympians Shadrack Kipchirchir, Stanley Kebenei, Shannon Rowbury and Emily Infeld lead talented fields ready to clash Saturday morning at the USATF 5 km Championships, hosted by the Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5K.


The USATF 5 km Championships are the ninth and final stop on the 2019 USATF Running Circuit. Fans can tune-in for the live broadcast for free beginning at 8:20am ET on USATF.TV and can watch the coverage on-demand with a +PLUS subscription. Race videos, results, post-race interviews and photos will be available shortly after the race in cooperation with Join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #USARC.


In 2018, Paul Chelimo outkicked Kipchirchir by the narrowest of margins, as both men crossed the finish in 13:45. While Chelimo will not return to New York this weekend, Kipchirchir looks to continue his incredible racing and enters Saturday’s race as the favorite.


Not only is Kipchirchir coming off a tenth place finish at the IAAF World Championships in the 10,000m, as well as USATF Running Circuit victories at the USATF Cross Country and 15 km Championships, but he also has the most experience on the course Saturday, having won the USATF 5 km Championships in 2017 and placing second in 2016 to go along with last year’s runner-up finish.


Kipchirchir should find his most challenging competitor in training partner Stanley Kebenei. Kebenei has had great success on the track and the roads this season. Coming off a tenth place finish in the 3000m steeplechase at the IAAF World Championships, Kebenei also has a runner-up finish to his name at the USATF Half Marathon Championships this season, as well as a third place finish at the USATF 15 km Championships.


The duo are vying for a runner-up finish in the USATF Running Circuit standings, as well. While Leonard Korir and his 73 total points cannot be caught, Parker Stinson currently sits second with 45 points. Kebenei (39 points) and Kipchirchir (37.5 points) are only slightly behind and top three finishes would push them ahead of Stinson.


Eric Jenkins and Olympian Ben Blankenship are two other experienced competitors looking to earn the win Saturday. Jenkins has had a quiet back half of 2019. He placed 11th in the two-mile at the Pre Classic earlier in the season, while running a fine 13:21 over 5000m at the Payton Jordan Invitational. Saturday will be a good test of his current fitness.


Blankenship recently competed in the 1500m at the IAAF World Championships, qualifying for the semi-final. While he isn’t known as a 5000m runner on the track, he’s shown flashes of strength and speed to compete in the distance on the roads.


Young pros Clayton Young, Aaron Templeton and Jacob Thomson should also challenge for top three Saturday morning. Young is the reigning NCAA 10,000m champion, who showed his 5000m capabilities with a third place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships and a sixth place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.


Templeton and Thomson showed well earlier this summer at the USATF Outdoor Championships. Templeton placed tenth in the 10,000m, while Thomson took home 14th place, a spot behind Young. Thomson also captured 11th place in the 5000m.


Not to be overlooked, Willy Fink finished tenth in New York City at last year’s USATF 5 km Championships. Fink had a great week in Des Moines at the USATF Outdoor Championships, placing ninth in the 5000m and 11th in the 10,000m.


Other notable contenders include Olympian Donn Cabral, USATF 20 km seventh place finisher Anthony Rotich, NCAA Outdoor 5000m fourth place finisher Andy Trouard, USATF Outdoor 3000m steeplechase sixth place finisher Obsa Ali, seventh place finisher in the 10,000m at the USATF Outdoor Championships Reid Buchanan, and last year’s ninth place finisher Josef Tessma.


The race for first in the women’s race is wide open Saturday morning, with a number of qualified runners capable of taking home top prize.


Leading the charge are Olympians Rowbury and Infeld. While both ran far from their peaks for much of this season, Rowbury returning from having her first child and Infeld coming back from injury, both are showing fine form as they head to New York City.


Rowbury, who placed sixth at the USATF Outdoor Championships this summer in the 5000m, ran a season best in the 5000m in Berlin in early September with 15:05. For Infeld, she placed third in the highly competitive Reebok Boston 10K for Women two weeks ago. With encouraging performances for each, the battle up top should be fierce.


2018 runner-up Erika Kemp is entered and ready to improve one spot in 2019, while Jess Tonn is also running extremely well and should push for the win. Tonn finished eighth in the 10,000m at the USATF Outdoor Championships, while taking home a fourth place finish at the USATF 20 km Championships in early September.


Meanwhile, Kemp won her first national title at the USATF 15 km Championships in March. She set her 5000m personal best of 15:28 at the Payton Jordan Invitational in May, where she placed 12th.


A big finish from Kemp will push her into the top five in the 2019 USATF Running Circuit overall standings. Sara Hall dominated the 2019 season, amassing three victories and two runner-up finishes, leaving her with 102 points. Emma Bates sits second with 52 points, while Katy Jermann is third with 48.5 points. Kemp can bypass current fifth place athlete Bethany Sachtleben, who has 25.5 points to Kemp’s 22.5 points.


Maggie Montoya and Danielle Shanahan are two other runners to keep an eye on. Montoya placed third at the USATF 15 km Championships earlier this season, while the duo placed 13th and 14th respectively in the 10,000m at the USATF Outdoor Championships.


Experienced veterans Amanda Eccleston and Stephanie Garcia are two other runners fully capable of challenging for top three Saturday, as each has plenty of big-time performances to their names, although each has little experience racing over a mile on the roads.


Four other top returnees from 2018 are back in New York City ready to improve their finishes this time around. Olympian Shalaya Kipp has had a very quiet back half of the season, but she also finished ninth at the USATF 5 km Championships in 2017, giving her plenty of experience on the course.


2018 sixth place finisher Emily Durgin returns but with few notable performances this season, while Lauren Paquette, who placed seventh in 2018, looks to show she’s back to her strong running ways, after placing sixth in the 5000m at the Pan American Games earlier this summer.


Aisling Cuffe, who ran to an eighth place finish last year, took home a seventh place finish two weeks ago at the Reebok Boston 10K for Women, narrowly losing to Paige Stoner, who is also entered, as is 2017 third place finisher Natosha Rogers.



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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