RRW: Emily Sisson (48:09) and Clayton Young (43:52) Win US 15k Titles at 2021 Gate River Run

By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2021 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

(20-Mar) — Despite windy conditions, Emily Sisson dominated this morning’s USATF 15-K Championships hosted by the Gate River Run in Jacksonville, Fla.  Running completely alone from gun to tape, she clocked 48:09, the #5 women’s time ever at the race.  Sisson, 29, who represents New Balance, also won the race’s traditional gender battle by finishing well ahead of the men’s champion, Clayton Young, after the elite women were given a six-minute head start.  She earned $15,000 today, $10,000 for winning the women’s title and another $5,000 for winning the gender battle, and today’s victory gave Sisson her third national road running title.

“The game plan was just to run aggressively from the start,” the fast-talking Sisson told Chris Nickinson during her post-race interview on USATF.tv.

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Indeed, Sisson separated herself from the rest of the elite women within 30 seconds of the start.  Occasionally glancing at her watch but never looking back, she rolled through 5 km in a snappy 15:39 with her nearest chasers, Lindsay Flanagan (Asics) and Emily Durgin (Under Armour) 17 seconds back.  Her lead continued to build with every kilometer, and by 10 km (31:37) she had 42 seconds on Flanagan who had dropped Durgin and was running alone.  Although she slowed in the final 5 km which includes the 141 foot (43m) high Hart Bridge –affectionately called “The Green Monster”– Sisson still won comfortably.  Flanagan got second in 49:14 and Durgin third in 49:29.  Makena Morley (Asics/Idaho Afoot) and Erika Kemp (Boston Athletic Association) rounded out the top five in 49:38 and 50:10, respectively.

Sisson only raced twice in 2020.  Before the onset of the pandemic she failed to finish the Olympic Trials Marathon in February, then spent most of last year training with her husband, Shane Quinn, building up a huge mileage base.  She closed 2020 with a personal best half-marathon of 1:07:26 in Valencia last December, and then two weeks ago she ran a career best 14:55.82 for 5000m in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., a Tokyo Olympic qualifier.  She said today that she would only run 10,000m at the USA Olympic Trials in June in Eugene, Ore.

“I just tried to make the most of 2020 when there weren’t a lot of races, and just get really strong,” Sisson explained.  “So now I’m just trying to take advantage of all of the races.  So far I’m just loving it.  I’m so thankful to race again.”

Sally Kipyego, who finished third at last year’s Olympic Trials Marathon and who will be running that event in the Tokyo Olympics this summer, finished 14th in her first race in over a year.

Young, 27, who represents Asics, won his first national title today by mustering the fastest sprint over the race’s final meters after the descent of the bridge.  The former Brigham Young University athlete, who trains with recently crowned NCAA cross country champion Conner Mantz under coach Ed Eyestone, was part of the race’s main lead pack which trailed the surprise leader John Raneri (McKirdy Trained) by 20 seconds through 5 km (14:21).

“Raneri, wow, what a race,” said Young.  “Any time it slowed up he wasn’t afraid to take the lead and push the pace.  A real, real grindy racer.”

Raneri was caught just after 10 km (29:05), and the tactical part of today’s contest began.  A dozen men were still in contention at that point, including Olympian Shadrack Kipchirchir (Nike), the 2019 15-K champion; Frank Lara (Roots Running Project), the race’s defending champion; and Biya Simbassa (unattached), the runner-up at these championships last year.  Lara was the first to make a move as the pack began to ascend the bridge, but that surge was quickly covered by the pack setting up the big sprint at the end.

“I was just going to play it safe and stick in it for as long as I could,” said Young who had never run this race before.  He continued: “I didn’t know, I wasn’t familiar with the last mile of the race, and so when I saw the finish line my eyes lit up and was like, welp, now or never, and I went for it.  Glad I did.”

Young got to the line first in 43:52 followed by Simbassa (43:54), Kipchirchir (43:55), marathoner Nico Montanez (also 43:55), and 5000m runner Kirubel Erassa (43:57).  Defending champion Lara ended up seventh and early leader Raneri was tenth.  Like Sisson, Young won $10,000 for first place, the largest payday of his career.

“I wasn’t too confident coming in and tried to play it safe,” Young said.  “It definitely worked out for me.”

The Gate River Run, which was held for the 44th time today, is part of the USATF Running Circuit. The next event is the USATF 1 Mile Road Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, on April 20.

Talk about the race on the LRC messageboard. MB: Gate River Run US 15k Champs: Emily Sisson Dominates, Clayton Young win

Women
1 Emily Sisson* 29 48:09
2 Lindsay Flanagan* 29 49:14
3 Emily Durgin* 49:29
4 Makena Morley* 25 49:38
5 Erika Kemp* 26 50:10
6 Grayson Murphy* 25 50:14
7 Maggie Montoya* 25 50:25
8 Laura Thweatt* 32 50:30
9 Sarah Pagano* 29 50:36
10 Diane Nukuri* 36 50:42
11 Paige Stoner* 25 50:48
12 Emma Bates* 50:52
13 Sally Kipyego* 51:06
14 Dakotah Lindwurm* 25 51:31
15 Breanna Sieracki* 25 51:39
16 Madison Offstein* 24 51:47
17 Roberta Groner* 43 51:56
18 Carrie Verdon* 27 52:09
19 Katrina Coogan* 52:25
20 Lexi Zeis* 52:25

Men

1 Clayton Young 27 43:52
2 Abbabiya Simbassa 27 43:54
3 Shadrack Kipchirchir 32 43:55
4 Nicolas Montanez 27 43:55
5 Kirubel Erassa 27 43:57
6 Colin Bennie 25 43:57
7 Frank Lara 25 44:02
8 Reed Fischer 25 44:02
9 Chris Derrick 30 44:04
10 John Raneri 29 44:15
11 Sam Chelanga 36 44:21
12 Alex Monroe 28 44:41
13 Rory Linkletter 24 44:41
14 Matt Mcclintock 44:41
15 Sydney Gidabuday 24 44:46
16 Marty Hehir 28 44:54
17 Jacob Thomson 26 44:58
18 Nathan Martin 31 45:05
19 Joel Reichow 27 45:09
20 Sid Vaughn 26 45:12

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