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Landry, Hastings Win Convincingly at USA 10 km Championships

Olympian Amy Hastings ground down the competition, while Christo Landry sprinted away from the men’s field over the final quarter mile, as both athletes took home top prize Friday at the USA 10 km Championships in Atlanta, hosted by the Peachtree Road Race.

The USA 10 km Championships are the seventh 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 women’s race got off to a very quick start, as the lead pack hit the first mile in 5:11, then came through the two mile in 10:11 (5:00 for the second mile). With the top group already stringing out, Hastings, Sara Hall, Rachel Ward, Kellyn Johnson and Mattie Suver formed a group of their own, with freshly minted pro Juliet Bottorff right behind leading the chase pack.

Hastings hit the next mile hard, putting a slight lead on Hall, Ward and Johnson. Suver started to drop off the back. Through the half way point, Hastings put herself in command, using the speed she showed with a third place performance over 10,000m on the track and the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships the week before.

Mile four pushed the runners uphill, where Hastings grew her lead and Ward and hall pulled away from Johnson. Hastings put in a surge just past the four and a half mile mark, establishing a lead she would only grow to the finish.

Into the homestretch, Hastings smiled and surged, crossing the line first in 32:16. Behind her, Hall overtook Ward over the final stages, pulling away to a big runner-up finish of 32:28. Ward ran home to a terrific 32:36 effort.

Behind the top three, Johnson held on to finish fourth in 32:49, while newcomer Bottorff finished fifth in 32:55. Suver, new masters runner Jen Rhines and Hansons-Brooks runner Katie Kellner rounded out the top eighth.

With her runner-up performance, Hall jumps into a tie for first in the current USARC standings, as both she and Suver hold 34 points on the season. Johnson’s performance earns her seven more points, leaving her in third place with 30 total points. Janet Bawcom and Amy Van Alstine round out the top five with 27 and 25 points.

The depth on the men’s side was equal to the women’s, as all of the main contenders started with a quick pace early on, as fans saw the runners string out across the road, sizing each other up.

While a large pack grouped together through the first half of the race, the second half, where the hills start to take their toll on those who went out too fast, strung out the field. Tyler Pennel, Landry, Aaron Braun, Shadrack Biwott, Stephen Pifer, Jacob Riley and a few other notable athletes led the lead pack, with Pennel pushing especially hard.

As the runners hit the fourth mile, Pennel put in a surge, gapping the field and establishing himself as the clear leader. Braun and Landry hung tough, both hoping Pennel made a move too early. Moving into the fifth mile, Pennel and Landry started to gap Braun and the race became a battle of will over the final mile.

While Pennel tried desperately to pull away, Landry stayed on his shoulder, never giving an inch. With a half mile to go, Landry took off, dramatically sprinting by Pennel, extending his lead with every stride.

Arms raised as he crossed the finish line in 28:25, Landry won his third consecutive USA title of the season, having won the USA 10 Mile and USA 25 km Championships prior. The Ann Arbor-based runner continues to have a career defining season and his big win in Atlanta is another big step forward.

While clearly defeated by Landry, Pennel never gave in, crossing the finish line second in 28:30 and earning a big 12 points in the USARC standings. Braun, coming off a fifth place 10k showing at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, settled for fourth, edged by Biwott. both finishing in 28:52.

Riley and Pifer worked well together much of the race, with Riley pulling away to fifth in 29:07, while Pifer crossed the line in 29:10 for sixth. Riley’s teammate Bobby Curtis and Tyler McCandless finished seventh and eighth respectively.

Landry’s victory earns him another 15 points in the USARC standings, giving him 52 total points on the season and nearly doubling up Chris Derrick’s 27 points, who currently resides in second. Biwott moves up one spot to third with 26 points, while Luke Puskedra maintains his 17 points in fourth.

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 $100,00 in prize money was awarded at the USA 10 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

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