NEW HAVEN - Bret Gotcher (Flagstaff, Ariz.), was top man in a three-way battle for the men's title Monday at the USA 20 km Championships in New Haven, Conn., as Colleen De Reuck (Boulder, Colo.), took control before halfway to win the women's crown. Gotcher was timed in 58:57, while De Reuck ran1:07:21. At 45, De Reuck is the oldest woman to win a major U.S. championship.
Defending champion James Carney (Boulder, Colo.) led the early stages of the race, taking a pack of 12 men through the first mile in 4:34. By three miles, the lead pack was reduced to four men with Carney still in control and Gotcher, Mohamed Trafeh (Flagstaff, Ariz.), and Jason Lehmkuhle (Minneapolis, Minn.) following closely.
At five miles, Carney was still in command of the pace with Gotcher falling off the pack. As the leaders approached six miles, Gotcher rejoined the group and at 10 km Trafeh made a move that would drop Carney from the lead pack, making it a three man race for the title.
From seven miles on, Gotcher, Trafeh and Lehmkuhle would each take turns at the lead with Trafeh surging to the front to open small gaps on occasion. Just past nine miles, the three remained within a stride of each other as Trafeh and Lehmkuhle seemed to be well within their comfort zone.
At 12 miles however, it was Gotcher who surged to the lead, dropping Lehmkuhle as Trafeh held on. Entering the final 100 meters, Gotcher had one more gear and pulled away for a four-second win.
Lehmkuhle held on for third in 59:04 as Andrew Carlson (Flagstaff, Ariz.) and Scott Bauhs (Danville, Calif.) rounded out the top-five in 59:26 and 59:46 respectively.
In the women's race, 2008 Olympic Marathoner Magdalena Lewy Boulet (Oakland, Calif.), took an early lead, passing the first mile four seconds ahead of the women's field in 5:18. By three miles she had a 12 second lead when Serena Burla (Baldwin, Mo.) began to press the pace of the chase pack, bringing De Reuck with her.
By five miles De Reuck had dropped Burla and overtook Boulet to cruise to a 17 second win, earning her second USA 20 km title. Burla was timed in 1:07:38 with Boulet taking third in 1:08:11. Rebecca Donaghue (State College, Pa.) and Amy Hastings (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) finished fourth and fifth in 1:08:39 and 1:08:58 respectively.
About the USARC
The USA 20 km Championships was hosted by the 31st Stratton Faxon New Haven Road Race and was the seventh stop on the 2009 USA Running Circuit (USARC) and will pay $40,000 in U.S. prize money with $8,000 going to the respective champions.
The 2009 USARC is a USA Track & Field road series featuring USA Championships from one mile to the marathon, which attracts the best U.S. distance runners. The 2009 USARC has ten events each for men and women. Boulet currently leads the women's standings with 59 points, while Anthony Famiglietti (Knoxville, Tenn.) leads the men with 39 points.
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 a final $12,500 grand prix purse ($6,000, $4,000, and $2,500) for the top three men and women point scorers overall. The USARC points at the USA Marathon Championships will be doubled.
The mission of the USA Running Circuit is to showcase, support, and promote U.S. runners. Since its inception in 1995, the USARC and its races have provided over $6 million dollars to U.S. distance runners.
For more information on the 2009 USA 20 km Championships visit USATF.org.
About USA Track & Field
USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the #1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States.
For more information on USATF, visit USATF.org.