2013 World Cross Country Championships – US Men Stun Kenya and Win Team Silver

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US Wins Silver and Beats Kenya For First Time Since 1984

by LetsRun.com
March 24, 2013

Bydgoszcz, Poland – USA men 2nd, Kenya men 3rd.

Let’s repeat that in case you don’t believe it. USA men 2nd, Kenya men 3rd.

It might be hard to believe, but thanks to a masterful team performance, the US men stunned the world today and grabbed the team silver medal as they edged Kenya 52 to 54 (Ethiopia won win with 38) at the 2013 World Cross Country Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

The American men were led by two well deserved top-10 finishes including a surprising sixth place by Ben True (13:20/27:41 pbs), who was only fifth at the US Trials, as 2013 US champion Chris Derrick (13:12/27:31 pbs) finished 10th. We say well deserved as Derrick and True ran as if they belonged with the leaders from the very get go.

Having two low sticks makes team success in cross country possible but the US team silver only became reality thanks to two perfectly executed races by 27:52/2:11:45 man Ryan Vail and 2012 US Cross Country champion Bobby Mack (13:39/27:53 pbs) who closed out the scoring for the US (the IAAF scores four of the six runners). The duo ran together for most of the race and moved up masterfully throughout to finish 17th and 19th respectively.

After the first of six laps, Vail and Mack were both outside the top 50 (Vail was 62nd, Mack 52nd) and the team battle between Kenya and the USA at that point was as follows:

Kenya 23
USA 122

At the midway point, neither was in the top 30 (Vail was 34th, Mack 33rd) and the team battle between Kenya and the USA at that point was as follows:

Kenya 40
USA 80

Even heading into the final 1950 meter loop, neither was inside the top 20 (Vail was 21st and Mack was 20th) and the team battle between Kenya and the USA at that point was still:

Kenya 49
USA 56

But on the last lap, Vail moved up four spots and Mack moved up one and three of the four Kenyans lost ground (one lost one spot, one lost two, one lost three and one gained one). As a result Kenya failed to finish in the top two and failed to beat the US at World Cross Country for the first time since 1984 – the same year that the US men last won a silver medal.

We’ll break down this historic day in more detail later but are off to celebrate briefly at the IAAF banquet. This is just a first draft/flash recap so check back for more info later. In the meantime enjoy our post-race videos. You see when the US finds out it won silver.

Team USA Gets Silver

Quick Take #1: It was great to be there and see the reaction when the US team was told they won the silver medal and celebrated like kids on Christmas (video below). LRC’s Robert Johnson with help from a USATF official as well as the Hanson brothers had manually scored it 52 to 54 but since it was so close, they were double checking their work before blurting it out to the team.

There is supposed to be “no cheering in the press box” but at World XC it’s impossible to not get caught up in the national fervor.  Goosebumps broke out when the crowd erupted and burst into chants of U-S-A, U-S-A when the US was announced as the silver medallists at the medal ceremony. The US team generated by far the largest crowd response of the day.

Quick Take #2: The US did catch a break when one of the Kenyan runners, 2010 world junior steeple champion Jonathan Ndiku, suffered an Achilles injury on the second lap and ended up at the hospital instead of the finish line. Ndiku, who has run 8:07st/13:11/27:32 got out hard like virtually the entire Kenyan team as he was in third after the first loop.

Quick Take #3: The US win was a huge surprise but so was Japhet Korir’s individual win. Korir was only 6th at the Kenyan Trials and becomes the youngest winner of the men’s senior crown.

Quick Take #4: No one on the US team had been born the last time the US won silver. Both Bobby Mack and James Strang were born in December 1984.

Quick Take #5: Want more info? See video interviews and stats below. Some transcribed quotes from the US team appear on the USATF recap here.

Kenya Versus USA Team Score at 2013 USA Cross Country Championships
 1st lap2nd lap3rd lap4th lap5th lapFinish
Ben True251411866
Chris Derrick1510810910
Ryan Vail624934262117
Bobby Mack524533222019
Elliott Heath303028302730
James Strang615543383637
USA Top 4 Team Score1229980665652
 1st lap2nd lap3rd lap4th lap5th lapFinish
Japhet Korir1412121
Hosea Macharinyang2411791012
Geoffrey Kirui51517141415
Tim Kiptoo1314172326
Philiemon Cherop272823313036
Kenya Top 4 Team Score233040414954
Ben True Leads the US in 6th Place
Rec Watch: Portion of True’s Interview Where Team USA Finds Out it Got Silver and Goes Nuts (if this video has not processed, watch the last half of the video on the left)
Chris Derrick on Finishing 10th 
 Bobby Mack and Ryan Vail 
 James Strang and Elliott Heath
 More videos including the US women on our youtube channel

Top Results via IAAF. Full individual Results here.

Details1143Japhet Kipyegon KORIRKENKEN32:45
Details2101Imane MERGAETHETH32:51
Details372Teklemariam MEDHINERIERI32:54
Details4229Moses Ndiema KIPSIROUGAUGA33:08
Details5234Timothy TOROITICHUGAUGA33:09
Details6245Ben TRUEUSAUSA33:11
Details771Goitom KIFLEERIERI33:16
Details814Collis BIRMINGHAMAUSAUS33:18
Details9100Feyisa LILESAETHETH33:22
Details10236Chris DERRICKUSAUSA33:23
Details111Rabah ABOUDALGALG33:28
Details12146Hosea Mwok MACHARINYANGKENKEN33:29
Details1392Abera CHANEETHETH33:31
Details1490Tesfaye ABERAETHETH33:35
Details15142Geoffrey Kipkorir KIRUIKENKEN33:38
Details1688Sergio SÁNCHEZESPESP33:38
Details17246Ryan VAILUSAUSA33:42
Details1866Abrar OSMANERIERI33:42
Details19241Robert MACKUSAUSA33:49
Details20184Elroy GELANTRSARSA33:53

Full Team Results

Details1EthiopiaEthiopia Ethiopia38
Details2United StatesUnited States United States52
Details3KenyaKenya Kenya54
Details4EritreaEritrea Eritrea75
Details5UgandaUganda Uganda76
Details6AlgeriaAlgeria Algeria107
Details7AustraliaAustralia Australia116
Details8SpainSpain Spain127
Details9CanadaCanada Canada140
Details10PolandPoland Poland164
Details11Great Britain & N.I.Great Britain & N.I. Great Britain & N.I.166
Details12South AfricaSouth Africa South Africa256
Details13RwandaRwanda Rwanda298
Details14JapanJapan Japan306
Details15SudanSudan Sudan350


*More coverage coming. More videos including the US women on our youtube channel

Posted in: Professional