Three-time Olympian beats back challenge by Josh Moen for fourth USA 10 mile title
By Charlie Mahler, Running USA wire
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - (October 4, 2009) - In a pulsating battle for the 2009 USA 10 Mile Championship hosted by the Medtronic TC 10 on Sunday morning, defending 2007 champion Abdi Abdirahman of Tucson, Ariz. finally vanquished gutsy Minnesotan Josh Moen to win his fourth USA title at the distance.
Abdirahman, 32, bettered his own event record of 47:34 with a 46:35 clocking on the challenging Minneapolis to St. Paul course. Moen, a former NCAA Division III star, led the three-time Olympian in the race's final mile, but finished three seconds adrift at 46:38.
Moen's Team USA Minnesota teammates Patrick Smyth and Jason Lehmkuhle finished third and fourth, respectively in 47:09 and 47:16. Pre-race co-favorite Anthony Famiglietti finished seventh in 48:09 and was never a factor in the contest.
The race, which opens with steeply downhill opening miles, followed by a fierce climb to the three-mile mark, was on pace for a sub-46-minute finish through five miles thanks to Abdirahman's aggressive early pacesetting and Moen's combativeness.
Each of the races first five miles were run in under 4:40. Conditions for the contest were ideal: overcast skies and temperatures in the mid-40s.
Starting on the climb in the third mile, whenever Abdirahman pressed the pace, Moen would respond with his own surge once the pace slackened.
"You respond, you stare right back at him," Moen explained. "You don't give and inch at all and sometimes you surge right back on him."
The duel Moen and Abdirahman waged dropped Smyth and Lehmkuhle, the last of the contenders, shortly after the 4 mile mark. In the middle miles, Abdirahman, now an eight-time USA road titlist with 27:16 10,000 meter bona fides, seemed on the cusp of breaking the 27-year-old Iowa native, but Moen refused to succumb.
At seven miles, unfathomably, Moen opened a 10-meter gap on Abdirahman. But Abdirahman, himself, refused to be broken, taking back the lead in the eighth mile. Moen made a last bid for victory in the final mile, but the Somali-born University of Arizona grad fought back, opened a slim lead heading into the long, downhill Twin Cities finish, and defended his hard-earned margin to the finish line.
Despite the obvious effort, Abdirahman claimed he knew the race was his to win throughout.
"I was just running my own race, trying to stay comfortable," said the four-time USA 10,000 meter champion who earned $10,000. "That was the race plan for me - not to run too hard. It just turned out Josh ran a great race today."
Abdirahman, Moen, and Lehmkuhle will meet again in four weeks at the USA Men's Marathon Championships at the ING New York City Marathon.
11th Medtronic TC 10 Mile: USA Men's Championship
Minneapolis, MN, Sunday, October 4, 2009
1) Abdi Abdirahman (AZ), 46:35, $10,000
2) Joshua Moen (MN), 46:38, $6000
3) Patrick Smyth (MN), 47:09, $4000
4) Jason Lehmkuhle (MN), 47:16, $2000
5) Ian Burrell (AZ), 47:41, $1000
6) Max King (OR), 47:58, $750
7) Anthony Famiglietti (TN), 48:09, $500
8) Mike Spence (UT), 48:13, $275
9) Craig Curley (AZ), 48:15, $250
10) Joshua Eberly (CO), 48:26, $225
1) Rachel Booth (CA), 57:33
2) Claudia Becque (IL), 58:08
3) Jenna Boren (MN), 58:21
Full race results at: www.mtcmarathon.org.