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By Rich Sands, @sands
(c) 2017 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved, used with permission
 
NEW YORK (04-Nov) -- The men's and women's USATF 5-K road championships could not have played out more differently here this morning in Central Park. While Shadrack Kipchirchir only snatched the men's win in the final strides, Molly Huddle took control early and had a solo run to her 25th national title, breaking her own course record. The race was held in conjunction with the Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5-K, which finishes over the same final stretch of roadway that will host the TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday.
 
The men's race set off first from the United Nations on a cool morning (49F/9C), with the entire field in a giant pack for most of the first three kilometers, through midtown and into the park. Virginia Tech grad Tommy Curtin moved to the front with less than a mile to go and started accelerating, with Hassan Mead and Ben True close behind. Olympic silver medalist Paul Chelimo began to sneak up on the inside as the road curved north towards the uphill finish, which triggered another surge from Curtin with 200 meters to go as the still sizable field ascended the final climb to the tape.
 
In a mad sprint to the line, Curtin and Kirubel Erassa nearly tangled while Kipchirchir timed his kick best, coming through to grab the win in 13:57. Curtin, Erassa and Chelimo were all one second behind and the first 11 finishers were separated by less than seven seconds. It was the second USATF title of the fall for the 28-year-old Oklahoma State grad, who took the 10-mile championship as part of the Medtronic TC event in Minneapolis on October 1.
Published in Roads
By ELLIOTT DENMAN
LONDON - Now, maybe more so than ever, there's a lot to be said for the USA's national collegiate system.
 
A huge heap of events here at the 16th IAAF World Championships of Track and Field have been impacted by the guys and gals who've competed for - or continue to compete for - NCAA schools (of whatever division) or their cohorts out of the NAIA ranks.
 
For perfect example: Omar McLeod of Jamaica, the Worlds (and Olympic) men's 110-meter high hurdles champion? He's a University of Arkansas man.
 
Bagrbara Spotakova, the World's women's javelin champion? She honed her craft at Minnesota. Ekaterina Stefanidi, the World's women's pole vault titlist? She's a Stanford woman.
 
Plus - of course, of course, of course - the long, long, long list of Americans who've come up through the ranks of their own nation's collegiate system.
 
Driving home the point all over again was the men's 5000-meter final, a big-big feature event on the penultimate night of these Worlds.
Published in Track & Field
By Dave Hunter (August 1s, 2017; London)
Even with the 66,000+ fans who packed London's Olympic Stadium setting new decibel records in exhorting on their beloved countryman, Muktar Edris was not to be denied as the Ethiopian did something no man has been able to do in 6 years: unleash a finishing kick strong enough to defeat the incomparable Mohammed Farah in a global championship track final. The capacity crowd - which came in droves to witness what Farah has repeatedly stated will be his final big track competition - roared during Farah's introduction and then settled back to watch what they hoped who be yet another global championship for the Brit they call Sir Mo.
 
Unlike the 10,000 meter championship race 8 days ago where the pace was spirited from the gun, the early tempo in the 5000 final was funereal. Farah and USA's Paul Chelimo - the gold and silver medalists from Rio - raced to the front at the opening gun. After a spritely circuit in 62 seconds, the Rio medalists dialed it way back with a second lap in 70, ultimately leading the bunched field of 14 through 1 kilometer in 2:48. With Edris, Kenya's Cyrus Rutto, and Great Britain's Andrew Butchart joining the leaders, the tempo actually slowed further. Continuing a dawdling pace that has historically favored Farah and his torrid finish, the entire field - packed more tightly than the Underground's Central Line at rush hour - trotted past 2 kilos in 5:48. Farah fans were not worried. They had seen this movie before.
 
Soon thereafter, Ethiopia's 17-year-old Selemon Barega moved past co-leaders Farah and Rutto to take the lead and up the pace. While the 3rd kilometer was faster - a 2:44 - it was punishing no one. Shortly after 3K, Australia's Patrick Tiernan spurted into the lead and quickly pushed out to a 7-8 meter advantage over the others. Hey, mind the gap! But they didn't. With the reigning NCAA cross country champion up front, the man who thwarted Edward Cheserek's bid for 4 consecutive XC titles still had a 10 meter lead when he split 4 kilos in 11:09.
 
With 2 laps remaining, surely the 3-time defending champion would soon impose his will upon the field. But it did not happen. Farah seemed content to let this championship race go right down to the very end. Approaching the bell, Yomif Kejelcha - yet another Ethiopian - nursed a slight lead as he was closely followed by Edris and then Farah. The medal contenders were in full flight on the backstretch. Coming around the final curve, Edris's top gear was too much for Kejelcha who started tying up as he drifted away from the curb. Farah seized the opportunity to pass Kejelcha on the inside with a move that seemed capable of lifting him to victory. But Edris was too far gone. Chelimo passed Kejelcha on the outside but couldn't catch the Brit. A jubilant Edris crossed first in 13:32.79 followed by Farah [13:33.22]. Chelimo [13:33.51] grabbed the bronze while the fading Kejelcha [13:33.51] finished out of the medals.
 
After the race, the Ethiopian victor displayed his pre-race confidence. "I was highly prepared for this race and I knew I was going to beat Mo Farah," said a resolute Edris. "After the 10,000 he was maybe tired so he did not have enough for the last kick. I was stronger," declared the new champion. "Mo has many victories but now I have one. I am the new champion for Ethiopia. That's why I did the Mobot," he said. "I have won the gold in front of his home crowd. I didn't have much support but we did it. I did the Mobot out of respect as well for him."
 
Paul Chelimo thought team tactics played a role. "I think the Ethiopians had a plan because I think Kejelcha was out there to push the pace early and try and dampen Mo Farah's kick. Edris was just waiting and waiting to see and sitting by in the last 200 meters," offered the American medalist. "In the last 50 meters I thought 'There is no way I'm coming out without a medal here.' I had to fight and dig deep to get the bronze. To go home with a medal is not bad. I'm happy with performance. It's my second championship and a medal. I'm taking over next year. 2019 - I am after that gold."
 
Following this his last championship track race, Mohammed Farah provided his account of the final. "Tactically, I was trying to cover every move. They had the game plan: one of them was going to sacrifice themselves. That's what they did tonight, and the better man won on the day. I gave it all, I didn't have a single bit left at the end," admitted one of the greatest championship racers of all time. Before departing, Farah offered some final thoughts on this the conclusion of his magnificent track career. "It's been amazing. It's been a long journey but it's been incredible. It doesn't quite sink in until you compete here and cross the line - I had a couple of minutes to myself - that this is it."
Published in Track & Field
By Jeff Benjamin on June 26, 2017
 
What was the meet's highlight?
Easy. Paul Chelimo.
TOTAL Dominance.
And NOBODY expected this.
Except Chelimo.
 
For the NBC Sports Crew of Lewis Johnson, Rick Allen, Ato Bolton, Sonya Richards-Ross & Craig Masback, expertise has always been their standard trademark. As the men's 5000 was ready to go, the duo of Allen and Masback, along with spectators both in the hot Sacramento stadium and watching in TV, definitely expected a slow tactical race. As Masback said, "It's not about time it's about being in the first 3" to qualify for the London World Championships.
Published in Track & Field