USATF 10,000m defending champion and current USATF Running Circuit standings leader Aliphine Tuliamuk lead talented and deep fields Wednesday morning, as the USATF 10 km Championships get the Fourth of July off to a roaring start.
The USATF 10 km Championships, hosted by the AJC Peachtree Road Race, are the sixth stops on the 2018 USATF Running Circuit. The event will be broadcast live via NBC Sports Gold beginning at 6:30am ET. A broadcast will air on NBCSN at 7:00pm ET. Join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag.
Lomong, a two-time Olympian who trains with the Bowerman Track Club, ran a tremendous race in Des Moines last month at the USATF Outdoor Championships, claiming the 10,000m crown in what many considered a surprise finish. Lomong is a relative novice on the roads and Wednesday’s contest will be a new kind of challenge.
Arguably creating the strongest challenge, Sam Chelanga is the top returnee from the 2017 USATF 10 km Championships, having finished third in Atlanta. Chelanga currently sits second in the USATF Running Circuit standings, nine points behind Leonard Korir’s leading 57 points. Chelanga won the USATF 25 km Championships earlier this season, while finishing second at the USATF 15 km Championships.
Lomong’s Bowerman Track Club teammate Chris Derrick should also be in contention for the victory from start to finish. Derrick won the USATF Half Marathon Championships earlier this season, while placing fourth in Atlanta in 2017. Similar to Chelanga, knowledge of the course should prove an advantage for the veteran.
Emmanuel Bor and Elkanah Kibet are two other USATF Running Circuit veterans running well heading into Wednesday’s clash. Kibet finished third in the 10,000m at the USATF Outdoor Championships as well as a fifth place finish at the USATF 15 km Championships. Similarly, Bor placed fifth in the 5,000m at the USATF Outdoor Championships and fourth at the USATF 15 km Championships and has shown the speed to be a true threat in the final stages of the race.
The legendary Bernard Lagat is also entered in Wednesday’s contest. The five-time Olympian took home fifth at the 2017 USATF 10 km Championships and continues to test his talent over the roads. Lagat should be in contention from the start in Atlanta and left to the final stages of the race, could use his speed to outlast the field.
Martin Hehir took home a third place finish at the USATF 15 km Championships this season, while fellow collegiate standout Andrew Colley earned a third place finish at the USATF Half Marathon Championships.
Along with Haron Lagat, who took home sixth in the steeplechase at the USATF Outdoor Championships, Reid Buchanan, who snagged a seventh place finish in the 5000m at the USATF Outdoor Championships, veteran road racer Shadrack Biwott, Olympian Jared Ward and Samuel Kosgei, who has two top five finishes in the USATF Running Circuit this season, round out a field as deep and talented as any seen on the circuit this season.
In the women’s race, defending champion Tuliamuk seeks to continue her winning ways in 2018. Having won the USATF Half Marathon Championships and USATF 25 km Championships earlier this season, Tuliamuk once again sits atop of the USATF Running Circuit rankings with 45 points and will look to extend her lead over the competition.
Molly Seidel and Emma Bates are both entered, as well, while also currently sitting second and third in the USATF Running Circuit rankings with 33 and 24 points respectively. Seidel placed second at the USATF Cross Country Championships and third at the USATF 15 km Championships earlier in the season, while taking home eighth in the 10,000m last month at the USATF Outdoor Championships.
For Bates, she’s coming off a second place showing at the USATF 25 km Championships. Earlier this year, Bates changed training bases, moving from Boston back to Boise, where she competed and won a NCAA title while at Boise State University.
Stephanie Bruce, Sara Hall and Gwen Jorgensen are three other intriguing athletes who should challenge for victory. Bruce is coming off an impressive third place showing in the 10,000m at the USATF Outdoor Championships, while earning a third place finish at the USATF Cross Country Championships early on in 2018.
For Hall, she continues her diverse 2018 season. The California-based veteran took second at the USATF Half Marathon Championships earlier in the year, while earning a new marathon personal best in late May when she finished third at the Ottawa Marathon in 2:26:20.
For Jorgensen, the Bowerman Track Club runner looks to build upon her seventh place finish in the 10,000m at the USATF Outdoor Championships, as well as her 31:55 10,000m showing back in March, which currently leaves her ranked US#3 in the event on the track. The Olympic triathlete is making a successful transition to a distance running-only focus and hopes to take another step forward on Wednesday.
Another key contender is Sarah Pagano, who finished second in both 2017 and 2016 at the USATF 10 km Championships. Pagano also finished fifth in the 10,000m at the USATF Outdoor Championships last month and could very well use her experience to outlast the field in Atlanta.
Other key contenders are Chelsea Blaase who finished ninth in the 10,000m at the USATF Outdoor Championships, Belainesh Gebre who placed fourth at the USATF 25 km Championships, Susan Tanui who has two top eight USATF Running Circuit finishes to her credit this season and Esther Atkins who finished fifth at the USATF 25 km Championships.