Shelby Houlihan, Shadrack Kipchirchir Win USATF Cross Country Titles

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A field that included the 10,000-meter American record-holder, marathon distance standouts, and world championship medalists was still no match for the closing speed of Shelby Houlihan.

In the first 10K of her career, Houlihan demolished the competition to win the 2019 USATF Cross Country Championships on Saturday in Tallahassee, Florida. The Bowerman Track Club standout unleashed a crushing surge in the final 600 meters to cross the finish line in 32:46, eight and a half seconds ahead of runner-up Molly Huddle.

Houlihan led five Bowerman athletes through the top seven across the finish line. Marielle Hall, a 2016 Olympian, finished third, Amy Cragg, who won bronze in the marathon world championships, finished fifth, followed by steeplechase silver medalist Courtney Frerichs in sixth, and five-time NCAA champion Karissa Schweizer in the seventh spot.

The championship at Apalachee Regional Park determined which top six athletes would represent Team USA at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus, Denmark. However, after the victory, Houlihan informed viewers on the USATF.TV broadcast that she wasn’t sure if she would compete at the world championship. That decision would be made by her coach Jerry Schumacher, the “mastermind.”

While Huddle and fourth-place finisher Aliphine Tuliamuk are both planning on declining their spots at the championship because the meet doesn’t align with their training goals, the remaining Team USA positions could include a strong Bowerman contingent. With Tuliamuk out, eighth-place finisher Stephanie Bruce would also earn a place on Team USA.

Watch: Shelby Houlihan was Runner’s World‘s top performer of 2018.


Houlihan’s cross-country victory came with patience as Huddle, the American record-holder over the 10K and half marathon distance, assumed the lead early on. Huddle continued to lead the top group through 5K in 16:30. A few minutes later, Huddle, Cragg, Houlihan, Tuliamuk, Hall, and Schweizer started to pull ahead. Just after 23 minutes into the race, Tuliamuk started to push the pace, while Houlihan, Huddle, and Hall followed. By the 8K split, the top four competitors had emerged with Tuliamuk in front.

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With just over 600 meters remaining in the race, Houlihan made a move that no one was ready for. In just a few quick steps, Houlihan left her competitors in her wake, and flew into the finish line to win her eighth national title.

Houlihan’s performance was her first race of 2019, and followed a breakthrough 2018 season, which included an American record in the 5,000 meters (14:34.45) and a personal best of 3:57.34 in the 1500 meters.

[Smash your goals with a Runner’s World Training Plan, designed for any speed and any distance.]

image
Shadrack Kipchirchir breaks the tape in Tallahassee.

USATF

The men’s race featured a thrilling finish as Shadrack Kipchirchir outlasted Emmanuel Bor to claim the national title in 28:52.5, less than a second ahead of Bor. The Olympic finalist led a dominating top-five sweep by the American Distance Project (Kipchirchir, who trains with the American Distance Project, is also sponsored by Nike).

Behind Kipchirchir and Bor, Leonard Korir placed third, Hillary Bor fourth, and Stanley Kebenei fifth. And because sixth-place finisher Scott Fauble is planning on declining his spot at the world championship, the next runner, Mason Ferlic will represent Team USA.

From the gun, the American Distance Project teammates established their presence up front. For the entire 10K race, Korir, Kebenei, Kipchirchir, and Bor shared pacing duties as a team until the final 1K, when Kipchirchir broke away in the last stretch towards the finish to win the second national title of his career.

Kipchirchir also represented Team USA at the 2017 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Kampala, Uganda, where he finished 21st. In the same championship, Korir finished 20th, and Kebenei placed 26th.

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“Those Army guys are the strongest guys you’ve ever met,” Kipchirchir told David Monti after the race on Saturday.



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  1. Congratulations to all the winners and athletes out there. It is hard to join a competition and Im sure their training is pretty intense so I salute all athletes who represent their countries for a greater cause.

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Shelby Houlihan, Shadrack Kipchirchir Win USATF Cross Country Titles

Spread the love


A field that included the 10,000-meter American record-holder, marathon distance standouts, and world championship medalists was still no match for the closing speed of Shelby Houlihan.

In the first 10K of her career, Houlihan demolished the competition to win the 2019 USATF Cross Country Championships on Saturday in Tallahassee, Florida. The Bowerman Track Club standout unleashed a crushing surge in the final 600 meters to cross the finish line in 32:46, eight and a half seconds ahead of runner-up Molly Huddle.

Houlihan led five Bowerman athletes through the top seven across the finish line. Marielle Hall, a 2016 Olympian, finished third, Amy Cragg, who won bronze in the marathon world championships, finished fifth, followed by steeplechase silver medalist Courtney Frerichs in sixth, and five-time NCAA champion Karissa Schweizer in the seventh spot.

The championship at Apalachee Regional Park determined which top six athletes would represent Team USA at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus, Denmark. However, after the victory, Houlihan informed viewers on the USATF.TV broadcast that she wasn’t sure if she would compete at the world championship. That decision would be made by her coach Jerry Schumacher, the “mastermind.”

While Huddle and fourth-place finisher Aliphine Tuliamuk are both planning on declining their spots at the championship because the meet doesn’t align with their training goals, the remaining Team USA positions could include a strong Bowerman contingent. With Tuliamuk out, eighth-place finisher Stephanie Bruce would also earn a place on Team USA.

Watch: Shelby Houlihan was Runner’s World‘s top performer of 2018.


Houlihan’s cross-country victory came with patience as Huddle, the American record-holder over the 10K and half marathon distance, assumed the lead early on. Huddle continued to lead the top group through 5K in 16:30. A few minutes later, Huddle, Cragg, Houlihan, Tuliamuk, Hall, and Schweizer started to pull ahead. Just after 23 minutes into the race, Tuliamuk started to push the pace, while Houlihan, Huddle, and Hall followed. By the 8K split, the top four competitors had emerged with Tuliamuk in front.

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With just over 600 meters remaining in the race, Houlihan made a move that no one was ready for. In just a few quick steps, Houlihan left her competitors in her wake, and flew into the finish line to win her eighth national title.

Houlihan’s performance was her first race of 2019, and followed a breakthrough 2018 season, which included an American record in the 5,000 meters (14:34.45) and a personal best of 3:57.34 in the 1500 meters.

[Smash your goals with a Runner’s World Training Plan, designed for any speed and any distance.]

image
Shadrack Kipchirchir breaks the tape in Tallahassee.

USATF

The men’s race featured a thrilling finish as Shadrack Kipchirchir outlasted Emmanuel Bor to claim the national title in 28:52.5, less than a second ahead of Bor. The Olympic finalist led a dominating top-five sweep by the American Distance Project (Kipchirchir, who trains with the American Distance Project, is also sponsored by Nike).

Behind Kipchirchir and Bor, Leonard Korir placed third, Hillary Bor fourth, and Stanley Kebenei fifth. And because sixth-place finisher Scott Fauble is planning on declining his spot at the world championship, the next runner, Mason Ferlic will represent Team USA.

From the gun, the American Distance Project teammates established their presence up front. For the entire 10K race, Korir, Kebenei, Kipchirchir, and Bor shared pacing duties as a team until the final 1K, when Kipchirchir broke away in the last stretch towards the finish to win the second national title of his career.

Kipchirchir also represented Team USA at the 2017 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Kampala, Uganda, where he finished 21st. In the same championship, Korir finished 20th, and Kebenei placed 26th.

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“Those Army guys are the strongest guys you’ve ever met,” Kipchirchir told David Monti after the race on Saturday.



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