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Jorge Torres, Shalane Flanagan Win 8k Titles at Central Park Challenge
By David Monti
(c) 2008 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

NEW YORK (15-Mar) -- At the inaugural Central Park Challenge here today, which incorporated the U.S. Men's 8-K Championship, Jorge Torres and Shalane Flanagan won their respective races convincingly.  But the paths taken to their titles were completely different.

In the men's race, all eyes were on U.S. mile record holder, Alan Webb, running in only his fourth professional road race and his first race of 2008.  Webb was on the lead with Christian Hesch at the first mile (4:36), and was right behind Andrew Carlson at the two mile mark (9:05).  Carlson began to push the pace in the third mile (13:37), but Webb and Christian Hesch surged through the 5-K mark (14:10) where primes were awarded for the top-3 men (Webb was first with Hesch just behind).

Webb began to lose contact with the leaders at the bottom of Cat Hill, just short of the four mile mark. Carlson, Torres, and Jason Hartmann pushed up the hill, dropping James Carney and Fasil Bizuneh.  Webb was struggling, and appeared to stop.  He actually paused, resumed running and would later finish 16th, forfeiting his $1500 5-K prime because he did not finish in the top-10.

The last mile of this race is very fast, and Torres upped the pace.  Hartman drifted back a little bit, and Torres had one step on Carlson with 400m to go.  Torres was the better closer, running 62.4 seconds for that final 400 to narrowly beat Carlson by 7/10ths of a second, 22:41.2 to 22:41.9 (both received 22:42 official times).  Hartmann finished third (22:48), followed by James Carney (22:53) and Fasil Bizuneh (23:03).  An impressive 25 men broke 24 minutes.

Flanagan, the recent U.S. Cross Country Champion, surged to the front immediately from the gun, and was the race's only leader, from start to finish.  She went through the first mile in 5:09 with Katie McGregor and Molly Huddle three and five seconds back, respectively.  Flanagan's lead increased with each mile.  She split 5-K in 15:52, and hit the tape in a personal best 25:40 (25:39.7).  McGregor also broke 26 minutes in 25:56, with Huddle taking third (26:07).  Amy Rudolph, in her first race since last September, moved up from seventh place at the 5-K to take fourth in 26:25.  Carmen Douma-Hussar just outkicked Erin Donohue for fifth; both were timed in 26:28.

Both Torres and Flanagan earned $10,000 as race winners, but Flanagan earned an additional $1500 for being first through 5-K.

The Central Park Challange was organized by the New York Road Runners, part of their Professional Racing Series.

*Results and Prize Money Here, LetsRun Article Coming Soon

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