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Manzano, Kampf Win Close Races at the USA 1 Mile Road Championships

Olympic silver medalist Leo Manzano and Team USA Minnesota standout Heather Kampf kicked off their seasons in grand style, winning the men’s and women’s USA 1 Mile Road Championship races Tuesday evening in Des Moines, Iowa, hosted by the Grand Blue Mile.

The USA 1 Mile Road Championships are the fifth stop on the 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.

The men’s race kicked off with the entire field running stride for stride through the first quarter mile. Spread out across the road, athletes sized each other up, as the initial pace was relatively modest. Through half way, with the field still tightly packed, the leaders hit 2:11. The comfortable pace meant it was only a matter of time before an athlete made a move to shake up the field.

Travis Burkstrand started to push with just over 400 meters to go, but it was first-year pro Pat Casey who pulled ahead of the pack with a dramatic move, gapping the field with less than 200 meters to go.

With Casey charging, Manzano threw down a decisive move of his own, pulling away over the final meters for the win. Manzano broke the finish tape in 4:05.71, narrowly edging runner-up Casey, who finished with a time of 4:05.81.

2013 champion Garrett Heath hung on over the final strides to finish third overall in 4:06.39. He was followed by fourth and fifth place finishers Jack Bolas and Matt Elliott, who ran marks of 4:07.37 and 4:08.55. 2013 runner-up finisher Jeff  See placed sixth overall in 4:08.60, while Donald Cowart, Burkstrand, Dorian Ulrey and Miller rounded out the top ten.

For Kampf, the women’s race played out exactly as she had hoped. A slower pace through the half way mark, Kampf was able to use her 800m speed over the closing quarter mile of the race to pull away for the victory.

Kampf fought off late charges by both Katie Mackey and 2013 runner-up Sara Hall, finishing with a mark of 4:43.62. Kampf’s win marks her second USA 1 Mile Road title, after winning the crown in 2012. She finished third at the 2013 event.

Hall nearly edged Mackey over the final steps of the race, but it was the Seattle-based Mackey who came up with the runner-up finish. Mackey crossed the line in 4:35.30, while Hall settled for third in 4:35.81. Hall’s performance comes after her runner-up USA 10 Mile Championship runner-up performance earlier this month. Her big 10 point pick-up in Des Moines moves her to third place overall in the USARC standings with 22 points overall, sitting behind current leader Janet Bawcom (27 points) and Amy Van Alstine (25 points).

NJ*NY Track Club runner Heather Wilson finished fourth overall in 4:36.84, while Laura Thweatt rounded out the top five in 4:37.82. Southern California’s Lea Wallace placed sixth overall, as Stephanie Garcia and Nicole Schappert placed seventh and eighth. Molly Beckwith-Ludlow and Angela Bizzarri finished well in ninth and tenth.

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 $25,000 in prize money was awarded at the USA 1 Mile Road 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

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