Meb Keflezighi and Molly Huddle won today's USA 7 mile road racing titles at the Quad City Times Bix 7 in Davenport, Ia. Both athletes picked up $10,000 each for their victories.
For Keflezighi, 34, of Mammoth Lakes, Calif., it was his third USA title of the year and his second national 7-mile title. Opening the race with a grinding 5:01 uphill mile on Brady Street, the former UCAL Bruin scorched the downhill second mile in 4:08, opening an insurmountable lead over his key rivals, Anthony Famiglietti of Knoxville, Tenn., and James Carney of Boulder, Colo. Keflezighi rolled to the finish line in 32:25, 31 seconds up on Famiglietti. Carney got third in 33:17.
Huddle, 24, of Providence, R.I., won a three-way battle against reigning national half-marathon champion, Magdalena Lewy Boulet of Oakland, Calif., and NYRR New York Mini 10-K runner-up Serena Burla of Ellisville, Mo. The trio were together through the first six miles, then Huddle made her bid for victory in the final uphill before the finish. Her move was strong enough to produce a five-second victory in 37:39 over Burla. Lewy Boulet finished third in 37:45.
For the soft-spoken Huddle it was her second career USA road racing title. She won the 10 km title last October in Boston.
The last time the a USA 7 mile national championship was held was in 2002 when Keflezighi won in 32:36 (he was 11 seconds faster today), and Colleen De Reuck won the women's race (37:44).
The USA 7 Mile Championships were the sixth stop for men, and the fifth for women, on the 2009 USA Running Circuit (USARC) and paid $45,000 in USA prize money. The 2009 USARC has ten events each for men and women. The next stop on the circuit is the women's 10 mile championship in Flint, Mich., on Aug. 22. The men's series resumes in New Haven, Conn., on Sept. 7, with the 20 km championship (also for women).