Out of Fog, Molly Huddle and Ben Bruce Win Inaugural Bay Area Cross Challenge
By Sam Grotewold, NYRR
January 16, 2011
(c) 2011 Race Results Weekly
SAN FRANCISCO (16-Jan) -- Under a blanket of typical San Francisco fog that faded throughout the morning but never completely went away,
American 5000-meter record-holder Molly Huddle and Ben Bruce of the
Oregon Track Club won the women's and men's races, respectively, at the
Bay Area Cross Challenge, a new event organized by the Bay Area Track
Club and sponsored by New York Road Runners. The event gave athletes a
tune-up opportunity before the USA Cross Country Championships on
February 5 in San Diego.
Huddle, who has been training in the warmth of Arizona since the beginning of 2011, seized the lead in the opening strides and ran alone on her three circuits of the 2 km loop around Golden Gate Park's Polo Fields, winning the 6-K race in 19:19. For Huddle, whose 19th place finish helped Team USA to the bronze medal at the 2010 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, the meet was a perfect opportunity to test her fitness before the USA Championships in three weeks' time.
"I wanted to get a race in around now, and this was an easy trip from where I'm training [in Tucson]," said Huddle who lives in Providence, R.I. "I think the USA Championships will be a little faster, so I still have some sharpening to do.
Following Huddle were reigning USA indoor 3000-meter champion Renee Baillie (19:31) and 2008 Olympian Magdalena Lewy Boulet (19:32). Lewy Boulet, who lives in nearby Oakland, is a member of the Bay Area Track Club was also part of the meet organizing committee.
In contrast to Huddle's relatively easy victory, the men's 8 km race was only decided in the final centimeters. Steeplechaser Jon Pierce, who attended college at nearby Stanford University and now trains with the Mammoth Track Club under coach Terrence Mahon, led the race through halfway before beginning to fade. The lead was quickly assumed by three-time World Cross Country team member Max King, with Bruce and his Oregon Track Club teammate Kevin Chelimo. Although Bruce had a one-step lead when the group disappeared from view on the ultimate lap, the trio turned onto the 300 meter finish straight side-by-side, with no indication of who might win. Sprinting at top speed through a particularly muddy patch 200 meters from the finish, Chelimo inched ahead of his rivals, but King and Bruce quickly pulled even. It was not until the final three meters that Bruce edged ahead just enough to be given the win after a lengthy review of the finish line photo. All three athletes were given the same finishing time of 23:12, and Bruce's margin of victory over runner-up Chelimo was .07 seconds. Like Huddle, he picked up $2,000 for winning the race, part of a $9,000 total prize money purse.
Bruce, who didn't know he had won until well after he had crossed the finish line, was motivated by a similar experience that didn't go his way a few months ago. "I thought I had it won at the USA 5-K Championships last fall, and [Robert Cheseret] got by me in the last 10 meters, so I just wanted to keep driving and not celebrate until I hit the tape," the steeplechaser said. A San Diego native, Bruce will look to qualify for his second consecutive World Cross Country Championships team in his hometown next month.
Nobody was more satisfied after the meet than 2009 World Championships 1500-meter bronze medallist Shannon Rowbury, who along with three-time USA Champion David Torrence and 2000 Olympian Bolota Asmerom led the organization of the event.
"We knew it was going to be a lot of work going into organizing this meet, but I've been really amazed by the energy, talent and work ethic of my teammates at the Bay Area Track Club in putting this meet on," she said. Rowbury, who ran many cross country races on this same Golden Gate Park circuit during her high school career, is still in early training mode for her 2011 track season and did not compete.
The meet recorded 109 total finishers in the junior, women's and men's races.
Note: Sam Grotewold, is the Elite Athlete Coordinator for the NYRR
Men's Top Results
|1||411 BEN BRUCE||M8k M NIKE OREGON TRA||23:12||4:40|
|2||413 KEVIN CHELIMO||M8k M NIKE OREGON TRA||23:12||4:40|
|3||417 MAX KING||M8k M||23:12||4:40|
|4||420 JON PIERCE||27||M8k M ASICS||23:49||4:48|
|5||421 PHILLIP REID||M8k M ASICS AGGIES RU||23:55||4:49|
|6||422 JACQUES SALLBERG||M8k||23:57||4:50|
|7||423 STEPHAN SHAY||M8k M SAUCONY||24:08||4:52|
|8||425 DAVID TORRENCE||25||M8k M NIKE||24:12||4:52|
|9||405 COLE ATKINS||24||M8k M ZAP FITNESS/REE||24:14||4:53|
|10||415 JOE DRISCOLL||31||M8k M ZAP FITNESS||24:19||4:54|
|11||412 BOAZ CHEBOIYWO||32||M8k M NIKE||24:22||4:54|
|12||404 BOLOTA ASMEROM||32||M8k M SAUCONY/ BATC||24:30||4:56|
|13||402 MARCO ANZURES||22||M8k M MCMILLAN ELITE||24:35||4:57|
|14||424 DANIEL TAPIA||M8k M ADIDAS TRANSPOR||24:54||5:01|
|15||105 GILIAT GHEBRAY||M8k M TEAM PENSKE||24:57||5:02|
Women's Top Results
|1||416 MOLLY HUDDLE||W6k F SAUCONY||19:19||5:11|
|2||406 RENEE BAILLIE||29||W6k F NIKE||19:31||5:14|
|3||410 MAGDALENA BOULET||W6k F SAUCONY||19:32||5:15|
|4||418 ALISSA MCKAIG||24||W6k F ZAP FITNESS/REE||19:33||5:15|
|5||428 REILLY KIERNAN||w6k F NYAC||19:49||5:19|
|6||409 NICOLE BLOOD||W6k F NIKE OREGON TRA||20:11||5:25|
|7||403 MEGHAN ARMSTRONG||W6k F TEAM USA MINNES||20:26||5:29|
|8||427 TANYA ZEFERJAHN||W6k F BOWERMAN ATHLET||20:36||5:32|
|9||150 KATE NIEHAUS||22||W6k F||20:44||5:34|
|10||131 ALEXA GLENCER||22||W6k F IMPALA||20:49||5:35|
|11||173 KAITLIN GREGG||23||W6k F NEW BALANCE SIL||20:54||5:37|
|12||113 TERESA MCWALTERS||26||W6k F IMPALA RACING T||20:55||5:37|
|13||123 STEFANIE SLEKIS||22||W6k F SUN ELITE||20:59||5:38|
|14||179 LINDSEY SCHERF||W6k F||21:02||5:39|
|15||419 STEPHANIE PANCOAST||W6k F NEW BALANCE SIL||21:05||5:40|