The USA 25 km Championships are the sixth stop on the 2014 USA Running Circuit, which concludes this fall with the .US National Road Racing Championships. The top ten finishers at each race on the circuit qualify to compete in the .US National Road Racing Championships.
After an eye-opening 41 second victory at last month’s USA 10 Mile Championships, Christo Landry not only looks to win Saturday in Grand Rapids, but leap to the top spot in the USARC standings, where he currently sits five points behind leader Chris Derrick. Landry finished fourth in last year’s USA 25 km Championships and runner-up in the 2012 edition, as he looks to be in control of this year’s race from the opening gun.
“The most important thing for me is to stay relaxed and keep focused on making all the hard decisions when they come up, Landry said. “Last year I covered all the surges that were thrown in over the second half of the race except for the last one, just looking for that one last step.”
Landry will be followed closely by Chris Solinsky. The former American 10,000m record holder shifts his focus this season to the roads and Saturday’s race is the kick off to his 2014 campaign. Training at altitude for much of the early part of spring, Solinsky is strong and while he may not be as race sharp as Landry, his savvy veteran experience means he cannot be overlooked.
2013 USA Running Circuit overall champion Shadrack Biwott looks to get back on track after a slow start to his season. Biwott finished second twice and third three times in last year series, with zero wins, which he looks to change in Grand Rapids. After placing seventh overall, as second American, recently at the Bloomsday Run, Biwott is ready to challenge for the win.
Plenty of road race veterans will vie for top three as well, including Tyler McCandless who finished eighth at the USA 10 Mile Championships last month, 2013 eighth place finisher Michael Reneau, top ten 2013 USA Marathon Championships finisher Abdelaaziz Atmani and Scott Bauhs.
Defending champion Dot McMahan leads the women’s race. In the 2013 edition, McMahan outkicked Mattie Suver in the final stretches of the race to net her first national road title, an exhilarating feat after finishing top four each of the prior three years. While McMahan is healthy and ready to race for the title Saturday, she knows she won’t be alone.
“I expect to have a large pack of competitors through most of the race. Every one of them wants a US title, including me,” says McMahan.
2013 runner-up Suver returns, looking for revenge and moving up one spot in the results this time around. The Colorado-based standout finished third in the overall USARC standings last season with two runner-up and five top five finishes. She’ll seek her first national road race title in Grand Rapids.
With five of the top six finishers in the 2013 edition of the USA 25 km Championships, the depth up top marks just how close the race should play out. Melissa Johnson-White, Hansons-Brooks teammate of McMahan, finished fourth in 2013, while Suver’s teammates Brianne Nelson and Wendy Thomas finished fifth and sixth respectively. Nelson enters Saturday’s race coming off of a fifth place finish at the USA 10 Mile Championships, while Thomas placed fourth at the USA Half Marathon Championships earlier this season.
Kellyn Johnson is another athlete to keep an eye on. Johnson placed fourth at the USA Cross Country Championships back in February and is coming off of a ten-second PR 5k effort of 15:21 on the track last Sunday, showing she’s very race sharp.
For Lindsey Scherf, who finished fifth at the USA 15 km Championships in mid-March, she looks to regain the success she saw in 2012, when she finished runner-up at the USA 25 km Championships.
Other notable entries include Heather Cappello, who finished seventh at the USA 10 Mile Championships last month, as well as Marci Gage.
Live text updates of the USA 25 km Championships will be available at www.USARunningCircuit.com beginning at 8:20 am ET. Video of the race, results, post-race interviews and photos will be available shortly after the race in cooperation with RunnerSpace.com. Join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #USARC.
About the USARC
The USARC is a USA Track & Field road series featuring USA 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 $30,200 in prize money will be awarded at the USA 25 km Championships.
The first ten U.S. runners earn points at each USARC race (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 USARC is to showcase, support and promote U.S. runners. Since its inception in 1995, the USARC and its races have provided over $7 million to U.S. distance runners.
Contributed by Scott Bush