Ethiopian born-United States citizen, Biya Simbassa smashed the USATF 10 km Road Championships course record on Saturday (17) in United States.
The 29 year-old used Jacob Thomson as a pacer who took charge of the race from 2 mile until the 3mile mark but was dropped as Simbissa and Sam Chelanga increased the pace crossing halfway in 14:22, the two had an appreciable gap on the rest of the field. Thomson relaxed his pace, but Simbassa and Chelanga saw an opening to slip away from their rivals.
When the two reached the fourth mile, Simbassa increased his pace leaving Chelanga gasping for air and he forged on and erasing the old record mark of 28:22 that had been set by Ryan Hall in 2006 with a new course record of 28:12 .
Simbassa was followed a distant latter by the veteran Leonard Korir who came from behind to pass Chelanga and claim the second spot in 28:35 with Chelanga forced to settle in third in 28:36.
Dillon Maggard came home in fourth in a time of 28:46 with the defending champion Futsum Zienasellasie finishing a distant fifth in 28:56
This was the 42nd edition of this event which was founded in 1978. Part of the USATF Running Circuit, it was the ninth stop of this year’s series which concludes with the California International Marathon on December 4, in Sacramento, Calif.
Siblings Norah Tanui Jeruto, the former Commonwealth Youth Games 2,000m bronze medalist and Daisy Jepkemei, the former world junior 3,000m steeplechase champion are some of the huge athletes’ talents exported to other nations.
The duo will simply be Kenyans versus former Kenyans affair at this year’s World Athletics championships that will be held in Eugene, Oregon, in the United States of America.
With most exports lining up on track and road running where over 1900 athletes from 192 World Athletics (WA) member federations will be battling out for 43 gold medals at the Eugene Hayward Field between July 15th to July 24th.
According to the list released by WA, Jeruto. Who won the World Youth 2,000m steeplechase in 2011 and succeeded by Jepkemei who won the title in 2013 as the race became a family affair will be representing Kazakhstan.
They will fly the Kazakhstan at the world championships and are expected to give a competitive race against fellow Kenyans running for Kenya.
Jeruto is also the 2016 Africa Senior Athletics 3,000m steeplechase champion while Jepkemei is the former Africa Youth 2,000m steeplechase champion.
Another Kenyan born Winfred Mutile Yavi will be running for Bahrain in the same race against Kenyans led by world 3,000m record holder Beatrice Chepkoech, Jackline Chepkoech, Celliphine Chespol Chepteek and Purity Kirui.
In the recent past, Kenyan athletes’ have switched their allegiance has seen their new nations claim a big share of Kenyan glory as they are spread across the world.
Just like in 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Ruth Jebet won gold in the 3,000m steeplechase and Eunice Kirwa won silver in the marathon behind Jemimah Sumgong.
Despite Kenyans switching nationalities, their love is not lost since they can communicate in Swahili and still train in their country of origin.
Eunice Chebichii Chumba will be representing her new found lover Bahrain where she will be competing in a marathon. Just Chebichii, Lonah Chemtai Salpeter will be representing Israel in the marathon.
The two former Kenyans will be chasing the marathon title against reigning champion Ruth Chepngetich, Olympic marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir, Paris marathon champion Judith Jeptum Korir and Vienna City marathon champion Angela Tanui.
In men, Jonah Koech will be representing the hosts in the 800m competing against Kenyans led by reigning world under 20 800m bronze medalist Noah Kibet, reigning Commonwealth Games 800m champion Wycliffe Kinyamal, Olympic 800m champion Emmanuel Korir and world under 20 800m champion Emmanuel Wanyonyi.
In a crowded 10,000m, Belgium’s Isaac Kimeli will be up in arms for his new nation, competing against Commonwealth Games 10,000m bronze medalist Rodgers Kwemoi Chumo, Daniel Mateiko and Stanley Waithaka Mburu.
Two former Kenyan athletes will be flying the American flag in the 3,000m steeplechase. Hillary Bor and Bernard Keter will face former country mates Leonard Bett, Abraham Kibiwot, Benjamin Kigen and reigning champion Conseslas Kipruto.
Others who have switched allegiance include, Bahraini Benson Kiplagat Seurei, the son of 1987 All Africa Games 1,500m champion James Seurei who competes in 1,500m, Mike Ozbilen Kigen in marathon representing Turkey, Abraham Rotich (800m) and Albert Rop (5,000m), Rose Chelimo, Isaac Korir and Abraham Cheroben (10,000m).
Lucy Kimani, Yasemin Can, Tarik Langat Akdag run in 3,000m steeplechase, Ali Kaya, Ilham Tanui, Ozbilen, Meryem Akda, Bernard Lagat, Paul Chelimo, Leonard Korir and Shadrack Kipchirchir, Evans Kiplagat.
Kenyan-born American long-distance runner, Leonard Korir will be the star to watch at the USATF Half Marathon that will be held on Saturday (7) in Indianapolis.
The 35 year-old who is a two-time USATF Half Marathon champion started his season on a high note as he was a runner-up at the USATF 15 km Championships and a fourth-place finisher at the USATF Cross Country Championships, which places him at the top of the USATF Running Circuit overall standings with 19 points, four points ahead of Shadrack Kipchirchir, whom they will battle for honors with on Saturday.
Korir will also face off with the Eritrean-born American, Futsum Zienasellassie who finished in position six at the USATF 15 km Championships and ninth at the USATF Cross Country Championships.
The 29 year-old, whose father is a priest in the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, beat Korir at the 2021 USATF Half Marathon Championships, placing fifth to Korir’s seventh.
The 2019 Pan American Games 10,000m champion Lawi Lalang and Reid Buchanan who is also the silver medallist at the same games have also been incorporated to fight for the top prize money of $7,000.
Other contenders include, Jacob Thomson, who placed tenth at the USATF 15 km Championships, Noah Droddy, Sid Vaughn and Caleb Kerr.
Shadrack Kipchirchir took the top honors at the USATF Cross Country Championships that was held on Sunday (9) at Mission Bay Park in San Diego.
The race took off with 13 men forming the lead back through the first two kilometer loop. As expected, the pace would soon pick up, as Sam Chelanga started to push the pace, with training mates Benard Keter and Leonard Korir on his shoulder. The shift in pace caused the men’s lead pack to quickly fall to seven runners.
Chelanga would throw in surges throughout the next five kilometers of the race; with 2019 champion Kipchirchir running off his shoulder throughout.
Little changed until there was one kilometer to go, as Keter was dropped off the pace, and it was a battle to the finish. Maggard and Chelanga took turns pushing the pace, with Kipchirchir and Korir just behind. The foursome kept rolling along, pushing the small undulations on the course.
With 100 meters to go, Kipchirchir and Dillon Maggard separated themselves just enough from Chelanga and Korir to make it a two-man race to the finish. Kipchirchir gave a kick of his lifetime to dash past Maggard and claim his second USATF Cross Country Championship title, with a time of 30:32.
“You know I’m glad to finally be at the start line,” Kipchirchir said in his USATF.tv interview. “I got injured right before the Olympic Trials. I was frustrated, but I held on to a lot of hopes that I was going to come back.” He also announced that he and his wife, Elvin Kibet, were expecting a child later this year.
Maggard, who placed fourth at the 2020 Championships, crossed the line in second in 30:34, with Chelanga closing the first three podium finishes in 30:34.
Korir and Keter came home in fourth and fifth place in 30:37 and 30:49 respectively.
The 2013 World Cross Country silver medallist Champion, Ben True beat a strong field that included Kenyan-born American long-distance runner Leonard Korir at the USATF 20 km Championships that was held on Monday (6) in New Haven, Connecticut
A conservative early pace left a massive contingent of runners in the lead pack of the men’s field. True and fellow veterans Korir, Emmanuel Bor, Clayton Young and Abbabiya Simbassa led the charge, along with Nico Montanez and Brian Shrader.
The field would slowly dwindle, but still have more than a dozen runners, as the men passed through the 10 km mark in 30:30, with True, Shrader, and Korir leading the charge.
Korir, fellow Olympian Jared Ward, Young, Montanez and Shrader started to push the pace around mile nine, as the lead pack started to diminish even more. Ward would eventually drop back, while Reid Buchanan would jump to the front with Young and True.
As the finish line came into view, True, Simbassa and Montanez started a mad dash to the finish. As spectators cheered wildly in the final stretch, True pulled ahead ever so slightly in the last few strides, winning his eighth USATF Running Circuit title and first since 2015.
True crossed the finish in 59:53, one second ahead of both Simbassa in 59:54 and Montanez, also pulling the same time. Korir tried valiantly to maintain pace with the lead trio over the final stretch but faded ever so slightly back to finish in fourth place in 59:58.
Organisers have announced the elite fields for the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label road race, whose 14th edition is set for 21 October.
Leading the list is this year’s fastest man over the distance, Eric Kiptanui. The Kenyan has already notched up two impressive half marathon victories in 2018, winning the high-quality Lisbon and Berlin races earlier in the year, coming home in the German capital in a world-leading 58:42 to move up to number four on the world all-time list.
Kiptanui will be accompanied on his first trip to India by his training partner Daniel Kipchumba, who paced Kiptanui to 15 kilometres in Berlin. A few weeks later, Kipchumba stood on top of the podium himself after a win at the Verbania half marathon in Italy in 59:06.
Two-time TCS World 10K winner Alex Korio – whose best of 58:51 was set in the 2017 Copenhagen Half Marathon – has been a regular participant in Procam International events in recent years and has run in Delhi twice in the past, last in 2015, but has never faced either of his two compatriots in battle so the tactics between the three Kenyans will be fascinating to watch.
Representing Ethiopia will be two men who are better known as marathon runners but who can still boast of outstanding half marathon credentials.
Leul Gebresilase was second in the Dubai Marathon at the start of the year in 2:04:02 while Feyisa Lilesa won a memorable silver medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, their half marathon bests are 59:18 and 59:22 respectively.
Adding to the considerable global interest in the race, USA’s Leonard Korir and New Zealand’s Zane Robertson are also in the men’s elite field. Korir just missed the North and Central American record of 59:43 when he ran his personal best of 59:52 at this race last year while Robertson holds the Oceania area record with 59:47.
All the runners will have in mind the very good course records in Delhi.
The men’s mark is 59:06 and was set by Ethiopia’s Guye Adola in 2014 while the women’s course record has been standing since 2009 and belongs to Kenya’s Mary Keitany at 1:06:54.
The two fastest women in the ADHM elite field, Kenya’s Caroline Kipkirui and Ethiopia’s 2016 ADHM winner Worknesh Degefa, will go head-to-head again after a memorable duel in the Prague Half Marathon back in April.
Kipkirui – who set a personal best of 1:05:07 in Ras Al Khaimah in January – prevailed by just one second on that occasion to take second place in the Czech capital and it’s certain that Degefa will have that in mind ahead of her fourth ADHM appearance.
Two other highly-rated Ethiopian women will also be on the start line in Delhi: Yeshaneh Ababel and Senbere Teferi.
Ababel was second at the ADHM 2017 and has since been victorious at the Istanbul and Yangzhou half marathons while Teferi, who will be making her half marathon debut, has won world championship medals on the track and at cross country in the past and will arrive in Delhi fresh from setting a 3000m personal best when representing Africa at the recent IAAF Continental Cup.
All the leading runners will also have in their sights first prize cheques of US$27,000 with a total prize money purse (combined men and women) of US$280,000.
Elite fields for the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon 2018 (with personal bests):
Eric Kiptanui (KEN) 58:42
Alex Korio (KEN) 58:51
Daniel Kipchumba (KEN) 59:06
Leul Gebresilase (ETH) 59:18
Feyisa Lilesa (ETH) 59:22
Zane Robertson (NZL) 59:47
Moses Kurong (UGA) 59:50
Andamlak Belihu (ETH) 59:51
Leonard Korir (USA) 59:52
Aron Kifle (ERI) 1:00:31
Getaneh Molla (ETH) 1:00:34
Betesfa Getahun (ETH) 1:00:54
USATF reigning champion Leonard Korir lived to his expectations as he increased his tally after clinching the USATF 20km Championships held on American runners Labor Day.
Korir did not allow the warm and humid weather to dampen his victory with the temperature hitting near 80 degrees at race start, with 90 percent humidity, both the men’s and women’s race got off to conservative starts, as runners gaged how the conditions would challenge them throughout the 12.4 mile race.
The race started with the U.S. Army contingent of Korir, Haron Lagat, Samuel Kosgei and Elkanah Kibet grabbing the lead and setting the tone.
As the men’s field, containing a dozen runners passed through the 5 km mark in 14:59, it was the Flagstaff duo of Kiya Dandena and Aaron Braun, along with USATF Running Circuit veteran Ahmed Osman, leading the charge. As quickly as those three made the race, things shifted when Korir and Lagat took over around 8 km.
Korir put in a surge that would ultimately break the other two runners, while Braun tried valiantly to hang on in fourth, putting nearly 40 meters on both over the next half mile.
The 31 year Kenyan born- American hanged on for another big USATF Running Circuit victory, securing the win, his second in three years when he cut the tape in 1:00.17.
Lagat battled for the second place when he crossed the line in 1:00.29 with Dandena closing the podium three places 1:00.34.
Osman edged out Kibet to finish in fourth and fifth in1:01.43 and 1:01.44 respectively.
Korir’s victory gives the reigning USATF Running Circuit overall champion the lead in this year’s standings, surpassing Sam Chelanga with 73.5 points to Chelanga’s 55 points. Hehir’s eighth place finish moves him past Scott Fauble for third, 31.5-28.5. Kosgei’s sixth place finish adds another 7.5 points to his total on the season, his 26.5 points placing him fifth in the overall standings.
Reigning USATF running overall champion, Leonard Korir will be targeting to increase his points at the USATF 20 km Championships that will be held on American runners Labor Day morning.
The USATF 20 km Championships, hosted by the Faxon Law New Haven Road Race, are the seventh stop on the 2018 USATF Running Circuit.
Seven of the top ten finishers from 2017 are back and ready to contend for the title. Last year, Korir finished one second behind race champion Galen Rupp, but with no Rupp entered, Korir will seek to earn his second USATF 20 km title after winning the race in 2016.
In addition to vying for the victory, Korir seeks to take over the lead in the USATF Running Circuit. He currently sits four points behind leader Sam Chelanga, 55-51, and Chelanga is not racing.
Korir will be running both with and against his U.S. Army teammates in New Haven. In what’s become a familiar sight in the USATF Running Circuit, Korir is joined by a trio of other U.S. Army teammates and fans can expect them to run a large portion of the race together up front.
Elkanah Kibet, Samuel Kosgei and Haron Lagat are each having terrific 2018 seasons. Kibet, who is preparing for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, placed fourth at the USATF 20 km Championships in 2016, while earning a fifth place finish at the USATF 25 km Championships earlier this season and a third place finish in the 10,000m at the USATF Outdoor Championships.
For Kosgei, Monday’s race is another chance to move up the USATF Running Circuit standings. Currently sitting sixth overall, Kosgei finished sixth at the USATF 20 km Championships in 2017. Using that experience, along with the momentum built from fifth place finishes at the USATF Half Marathon Championships and USATF 25 km Championships earlier this season, Kosgei should be in the top three as the race enters the closing stages.
For Lagat, he’s stepping up in distance. The experience steeplechase runner on the track finished sixth in the event this summer at the USATF Outdoor Championships, while earning a runner-up finish at the USATF 10 km Championships. If he can hold form with his teammates until the final stages of the race, his superior speed could prove crucial to earning a top three placing.
Not to be overlooked, Martin Hehir, who recently joined former Syracuse teammate Justyn Knight and coach Chris Fox in a new Reebok-sponsored training group, enters Monday’s race sitting fourth in the USATF Running Circuit standings, only 1.5 points behind third place Scott Fauble. Hehir showed success earlier in the season at the USATF 15 km Championships, where he placed third, and is ready to challenge for another big finish.
Other notable returnees include USATF Running Circuit veterans Christo Landry and Tim Ritchie. Landry placed fourth at the 2017 USATF 20 km Championships, which came off a third place finish in 2016. Ritchie captured fifth place in both the 2017 and 2016 editions. Both runners haven proven expertise on the course and if fully healthy could very well push for another top five finish.
Similar to others in the field, Aaron Braun is using Monday’s race as a tune-up to the Chicago Marathon, as are Kiya Dandena and Jonas Hampton, who finished seventh and eighth at the USATF 20 km Championships in 2017.
Ahmed Osman, who placed tenth in 2017, Olympian Donn Cabral, USATF Running Circuit veteran Fernando Cabada, Oregon Track Club runner Luke Puskedra and Braun’s HOKA ONE ONE Northern Arizona Elite teammate Futsum Zienasellassie also have a chance to vie for top five finishes.
It was an entertaining finish when the three men battled for the finish that included several fist pumps.
University of Michigan standout Ben Flanagan took down a stacked field of elite athletes to take the top honors at the Falmouth Road Race that was held on Sunday (19) in Falmouth, Massachusetts.
Northern Arizona Elite’s Scott Fauble and Kenya’s Stephen Sambu battled with Flanagan with a little more than a mile remaining in the race, but Fauble made his way to the front and led the pack that was narrowed down to six men—Sambu, Olympian Leonard Korir, Haron Lagat, Flanagan, Fauble, and Martin Hehir. The final mile of the race ended with a thrilling kick from the 23-year-old who managed to beat a group that included seasoned road racing champions and an Olympic finalist to cut the tape in 32:21.
“It’s unbelievable, honestly. It’s been a season with a lot of new experiences for me. I’ve found myself at these events that I could only really have dreamed of competing at,” Flanagan told race organizers after the race. “The attitude has been there’s no specific expectation. I know what I’m capable of doing, but there’s nothing to lose coming into these races.”
Fauble crossed the line in second place in 32:23,with Korir closing the podium three in 32:28.
Defending champion Stephen Sambu crossed the line a distant fourth in 32:32.
After crossing the three-mile split in 13:58, Sambu attempted to drop the rest of the field with a surge, but the top pack remained close behind. By the five mile mark, Sambu led a large group of 10 competitors.
Flanagan earned $15,000 in prize money, which he said would be used to pay for his final semester of college at Michigan.
When Sam Chelanga was growing up in the village of Kabarsel, just north of the Great Rift Valley in Kenya, Paul Tergat would stop by the house as Chelanga tended to the animals on his family’s farm.
In a country known for its distance runners, Tergat is one of Kenya’s greatest ever — a two-time Olympic medalist, five-time world cross country champion, and former world record holder in the marathon. Tergat was a training partner of Chelanga’s brother, Joshua (a 2:07 marathoner), and treated Chelanga like a younger brother — he’d give him 1,000 shillings in pocket money, and in return Chelanga would ferry around the runners in Tergat’s group and drop off water on training runs in Tergat’s Toyota Land Cruiser.
“He would never let anyone [else] drive but he said, ‘Hey Sam, come drive my truck,’” Chelanga says.
Sometimes Tergat would ask Chelanga what he wanted to become when he grew up. Chelanga’s answer was always the same: a lawyer. Chelanga’s home village was poor and lacked reliable access to safe drinking water and hospitals. Chelanga hoped that a law degree would help him to deliver social justice.
But a law degree requires going to college, and college costs money. Tergat told Chelanga that there was another route to college: running. Reluctantly, Chelanga took up the sport, setting in motion a 13-year journey that included a decorated collegiate career at Liberty University and professional stops in Eugene, Ore., Hanover, N.H., Tucson, Ariz., and Colorado Springs, Colo.
On Thursday, one day after finishing 4th at the USATF 10k Championships at the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, Chelanga, 33, announced that he has retired from professional running in order to enlist in the U.S. Army. On July 29, he will report to Fort Jackson in South Carolina for basic training; once he completes that, it’s off to Officer Candidate School in Fort Benning, Georgia, beginning October 15. Chelanga would like to specialize in military intelligence.
Even though Chelanga says he grew to love running, he was never motivated by medals or glory. As he went on to win four NCAA titles at Liberty and five U.S. titles on the roads as a pro (he became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2015), many things drove him: a college degree, helping his family and home village back in Kenya, representing the United States, supporting his wife, Marybeth, and their two sons, five-year-old Micah and one-year-old Noah. But he wasn’t the guy who went to bed every night dreaming about Olympic gold. When he and Marybeth started dating, Chelanga never spoke about running. When I ask him what his proudest accomplishment in running was, he tells me that it wasn’t a race, but instead the moment when he realized he was actually going to graduate with a college degree “because that is why I started running.”
Chelanga’s retirement announcement prompts several questions. The most obvious: why now? Chelanga, who has trained with Scott Simmons‘ American Distance Project in Colorado Springs since 2016, was the top American finisher at last year’s World Cross Country Championships, finishing in 11th place. This year, Chelanga ran a half marathon personal best of 60:37 in Houston in January, finished 14th at the World Half Marathon Championships in March (again, he was the top U.S. finisher), and won the U.S. 25K title in May. He has plenty left in the tank.
Which is precisely why Chelanga felt it was important to join the Army now.
“I’ve done everything that I wanted to do in running,” says Chelanga, who achieved personal bests of 13:04 in the 5,000m and 27:08 (still the collegiate record, set in a very famous race where Chris Solinsky ran 26:59 and Galen Rupp 27:10) in the 10,000m. “I’ve got more than I asked for when I came in…I don’t want to wait until I’m old or something. I feel young, I feel fresh, I feel like I have a lot of energy and I want to take this job when I’m going to serve at the best level of my ability.”
There’s also this fact: Chelanga no longer has an endorsement contract, as his Nike deal expired at the end of 2017 (Nike did offer to renew it, but Chelanga turned them down).
Chelanga, who considered joining the Kenyan Air Force as a teenager, has always been inspired by men in uniform. He was also born with a desire to serve, and that desire was not being met as a professional runner.
“I left running because I wanted to do something [where] every morning, I wake up and feel fulfilled,” Chelanga says.
Chelanga’s path to the Army is untraditional, especially when contrasted with the journeys of his training mates in Colorado Springs. Several of them, such as Shadrack Kipchirchir, Leonard Korir, and Paul Chelimo, joined the Army as a way to acquire U.S. citizenship and continue their running careers representing the United States. Chelanga had to wait five years to become a naturalized U.S. citizen and decided to join the Army three years later.
Chelanga says that former Army WCAP coach Dan Browne did try to recruit him to join the Army while he was in college, but Chelanga says he was told by a recruiter that he could only enlist if he was a U.S. citizen or was in possession of a green card. That was not actually the case — the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest (MAVNI) program under which Chelimo and others gained their citizenship was established in 2009 — but regardless, Chelanga signed a contract with Nike when he exhausted his eligibility in 2011 rather than attempt to enlist in the military.
Chelanga has not forgotten his home village back in Kenya. During his professional career, Chelanga sent water filters back to Kabarsel so that every family had access to clean drinking water. Recently, he heard about the death of a neighbor, who passed away at the same hospital where Chelanga’s father died and hopes that one day he may be able to help upgrade it.
“I’ve always wanted to do something about that hospital,” Chelanga says. “It’s the only hospital in my district and it’s not even good.”
But Chelanga has other priorities, too. He’s a grown man, a family man, and believes he must do right by the country that has given him so much.
“I got into running with the mindset that I was going to help my community back in Kenya,” Chelanga says. “But now I have two kids, and those kids are going to grow up in the United States. This is their new community, this is my new community…Leading young men and women for the United States in the Army, it’s the biggest honor I would have ever asked. Not that I underestimate that what running has done or can do, but I just feel in my heart that this is a calling for me.”