ATLANTA, Georgia – U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon winners Galen Rupp and Aliphine Tuliamuk headline Sunday’s USATF 10 km Championships presented by Toyota, as both athletes eye winning another U.S. title, while tuning up for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, which get underway later this month.
The USATF 10 km Championships, hosted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race are the third stop on the 2021 USATF Running Circuit presented by Toyota.
Sunday’s contest in Atlanta offers Rupp, along with fellow Olympic qualifiers Jacob Riley and Abdi Abdirahman, a chance to test their fitness before departing for Tokyo. Rupp is coming off a strong sixth place finish at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track and Field in the 10,000m, where he contended for a top three finish for much of the race. Rupp is in fine form and comes to Atlanta as the pre-race favorite.
For Riley and Abdirahman, both of whom have had very quiet 2021 seasons, Sunday is even more important to get a quality racing effort before their marathon race in Tokyo on August 8. While both are strongest over the marathon distance, a top five finish for either athlete is not out of the question in Atlanta.
While Rupp enters as the pre-race favorite, Clayton Young is having a strong 2021 campaign. Young currently leads the USATF Running Circuit standings with 18 points, having won the USATF 15 km Championships, his first USATF title, back in March. Young followed up the winning effort with an eighth place showing at the USATF 1 Mile Road Championships in Des Moines.
Veterans Colin Bennie and Sam Chelanga are also top three contenders. Bennie, who placed sixth at the USATF 15 km Championships and ninth in Atlanta last year at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon, seems ready to challenge for his first USATF title, while Chelanga is in fine form coming off an eighth place showing in the 10,000m at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track and Field in Eugene.
Other notable entries include 2016 Olympian Jared Ward, 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Marathon fifth place finisher Augustus Maiyo, 2018 USATF 10 km Championship runner-up Haron Lagat, and veteran Elkanah Kibet.
On the women’s side, Tuliamuk is entered and ready to run her first race since she qualified for the Olympic Games in February 2020. Tuliamuk, who became a mother back in mid-January, is in fine form and ready to show she’s primed for Tokyo.
Tuliamuk’s top competition should come from Sara Hall. The ten-time USATF champion finished third at the USATF 10 km Championships in 2018. This year, she’s coming off a tremendous sixth place effort in Eugene at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track and Field. Hall is arguably the most versatile American distance runners, a title contender at almost any distance, and Sunday she should be at the front pushing the pace once again.
Stephanie Bruce, who won the 2018 USATF 10 km Championship title, looks to add another national title to her resume. The Flagstaff-based runner placed 13th in the 10,000m at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track and Field, while also having run 1:09:55 for a half marathon win back in late-April.
Not to be overlooked, Emily Durgin is having a tremendous season. Durgin placed third at the USATF 15 km Championships earlier this season and sits a mere five points behind USATF Running Circuit overall leaders Emily Sisson and Rachel Schneider. Durgin placed ninth in the 10,000m at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track and Field last month, in addition to a 1:09:47 third place effort in a half marathon in late-January.
Diane Nukuri is showing fine form this season, coming off a tenth place finish at the USATF 15 km Championships, while Allie Kieffer finished fourth at the 2018 USATF 10 km Championships and is a seasoned veteran capable of a top five finish. Add Maegan Krifchin, Joanna Thompson, Whitney Macon, and Bridget Lyons Belyeu to the mix and this race has both talent and depth, which should make for a thrilling morning of racing in Atlanta on Sunday.
On demand race videos, results, and post-race interviews will be available shortly after the race in cooperation with RunnerSpace.com. Join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #USARC.
The USATF Running Circuit is a USATF road series featuring USATF 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 $23,500 in prize money will be awarded at the USATF 10 km Championships.
The first ten U.S. runners earn points at each USATF Running Circuit race. For the USATF 10 km Championships, scoring is set as 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 USATF Running Circuit is to showcase, support and promote U.S. runners. Since its inception in 1995, the USATF Running Circuit and its races have provided over $7 million to U.S. distance runners.
Contributed by Scott Bush