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Rotich, Rowbury earn impressive victories at the USATF 5 km Championships


NEW YORK CITY, New York – Incredible fields once again led to thrilling wins on the USATF Running Circuit, as Anthony Rotich won his first USATF title and Shannon Rowbury kicked to victory Saturday morning in New York City at the USATF 5 km Championships, hosted by the Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5K.


As the men’s race got underway under cool and calm conditions Saturday, Rotich set the tone early, stringing out the field right from the gun and pushing a pace few in the field could match.


In the first half mile of the race, Rotich, Shadrack Kipchirchir and Stanley Kebenei surged away from the field, creating a tight front pack that at first seemed as though they were simply going to run away and dominate from start to finish.


The lead trio kept intact past mile one when Eric Jenkins bridged the gap and established himself amongst the group, making it a quartet up front with a sizeable gap already formed back to the chase pack.


The four athletes continued to surge, running through the streets of New York City with their eye on the challenging final mile, one that throws hills and turns at the runners.


With less than a mile to go, Rotich put a small gap on the other three runners, while Tinman Elite’s Aaron Templeton bridged the gap between the chase pack and lead pack and put himself up front as the finish came into sight.


As Rotich charged to the finish line, Templeton put in another surge and grabbed the lead and it seemed as though perhaps a come-from-behind victory was in store. However, Rotich had other thoughts and shifted into one final gear that Templeton couldn’t match over the final strides, as Rotich crossed the finish in 13:48, earning his first USATF title.


Templeton, running his finest race as a pro, held off Jenkins for second, finishing one second behind Rotich in 13:49, while Jenkins concluded his 2019 campaign on a high note with a third place effort in 13:50.


Kipchirchir hung on over the final half mile to take home fourth place overall in 13:53. His finish earned him another seven points in the USATF Running Circuit standings, leaving him a half point shy of second place Parker Stinson, 45-44.5, while Leonard Korir finished the season atop of the standings with a dominating 73 points.


With a strong last mile, Jordan Mann edged out the rest of the chase pack to cross fifth in 13:54, while Templeton’s Tinman Elite teammates Brian Barraza and Jeff Thies finished sixth and seventh respectively in 13:57 and 13:58.


Kebenei hung on over the late stages of the race to capture eighth place in 14:00 and finished the 2019 USATF Running Circuit season with 42 points and fourth place overall. Tommy Curtin and Donn Cabral rounded out the top ten in ninth and tenth in 14:01 and 14:04.


The women’s race would start a few minutes after the men. As the race got underway Rowbury ran to the lead, setting an honest pace and controlled the strategy from start to finish, but that’s not to say she wasn’t without plenty of competition up front.


Rowbury’s pacing strung the field out early, as the three-time Olympian was joined up front by Emily Infeld, Shalaya Kipp and Stephanie Garcia. The four athletes ran in a tight pack for much of the first two miles, while Jessica Tonn also joined the mix after the first mile, making it a lead group of five.


With a half mile to go Rowbury, Kipp, Infled and Tonn were still running together, Garcia having dropped off, but as they passed the half mile to go mark Rowbury in another surge that strung out the group. Infeld was the only one to try and cover, but Rowbury had too much of a kick and simply ran away to victory, crossing the line in 15:43.


Infeld would continue to surge for the finish and looked as though she would place second, but Tonn put forth a furious charge and passed Infeld with 150 meters to go and would almost catch Rowbury, but the former Stanford standout ran out of room and had to settle for second on the day in an impressive 15:44.


Infeld, who continues to knock the rust off her racing after dealing with injuries much of the year, ran to a third place finish, crossing the line in 15:47.


Kipp charged home for a fourth place effort in 15:50, fending off Ayla Granados, who ran to a somewhat surprising fifth place finish in 15:53. Reigning USATF 15 km champion Erika Kemp placed sixth in 15:55.


With her sixth place effort, Kemp earned another five points towards her overall USATF Running Circuit total, moving her up one place in the final standings to fifth with 27.5 points. Sara Hall (102 points), Emma Bates (52 points) and Katy Jermann (48.5 points) maintained their top three positions.


Rounding out the top ten, Paige Stoner finished seventh a half stride behind Kemp with the same time of 15:55. Aisling Cuffe also ran 15:55 for eighth place, while Garcia hung on for a ninth place finish in 15:56. Maggie Montoya took home tenth place in 16:01.


Fans can relive the excitement of Saturday’s race by watching the action on-demand on USATF.TV with a USATF.TV +PLUS subscription.


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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