Cragg and True Take USATF 15k Titles in Jacksonville, story by Carolyn Mather, photos by Steve Mather, for Running Journal

Amy Cragg with tears of happiness after her victory, photo by Steve Mather

Carolyn Mather (writer) with Amy Cragg (race winner), photo by Steve Mather

We asked Carolyn Mather to write up the GATE 15k River Run story as she had provided us with a Preview last month! Some fun pictures as well! 

Story Updated March 19, to update photo credits. 

  The 38th running of the Gate River Run dawned hot and humid. For the past few years it has been nearly ideal but this year the temperature was turned up. Elite coordinator Richard Fannin had put together a spectacular field of 65 men and 65 women and it was definitely a barn burner.

  This year's field had nearly 20,000 total participants in all of the events and the sizzler started at 8:24am with the women going off six minutes ahead of the men. The idea of the equalizer is to see if the top woman can hold off the top man.

Women's race is off! Photo by Steve Mather

  The women went out in a very large pack and hit the mile in 5:23. The large pack held together until the ladies came off the Main Street bridge about 1&1/2 miles.Amy Cragg, Kellyn Taylor, Mattie Suver,Jen Rhines,Laura Thweatt, Neely Spence Gracey, Juliet Bottorff and Alexi Pappas composed the pack as they hit 2 miles in 10:53. The eight pack held together with 16:18 at 3 and a 16:52 5k split. Between mile 3 and 4 Jen Rhines took a horrible fall. Her contenders looked back as they heard the fall. She hit the pavement quite hard but gamely got up and continued. She had been inducted into the Gate River Run Hall of Fame on the previous Tuesday evening and I thought she would be a very serious contender.

  Amy Cragg had planned to make a move at 5 miles but as she felt the tailwind at 4&1/2 she began to leave the pack. Cragg quickly put six seconds between herself and the chase pack of Bottorff, Gracey and Thweatt. By the time Cragg reached the 7 mile mark in 37:40, she had 20 seconds over the chasers. Coming onto the bridge Cragg led by 26 seconds. Cragg heard the vehicles coming as she began the descent from the bridge.

Amy Cragg wins Gate 15k! photo by Steve Mather

  The men's race had been pretty much as expected as the pack held together for about three miles (15:09 5K) then Don Cabral, Girma Mecheso, Christo Landry and two time champion Ben True left the rest of the men behind. By 10K (29:30) the pack was down to three as Mecheso, Landry and True jockeyed back and forth for the lead. and Cabral trailed by 14 seconds. With a mile to go Mecheso trailed by 9 seconds and it was a two man race. Landry had told me earlier in the week that he had been practicing his kick as he knew True could kick hard.

Men's race is off! photo by Steve Mather  

True began putting on the afterburners when he saw Cragg ahead and he passed her in a flash shortly after 9.1 miles. The $5000 bonus was his. When Christo came up to Cragg they began a race to the finish. True crossed the line in 44:03 besting Cragg by 15 seconds.Landry (44:14) got Cragg in the last straightaway and bested her by 4 seconds as she finished in 50:18 taking the title by 32 seconds.

Ben True makes it three wins at Gate 15k, photo by Steve Mather

  True notched his third win knowing his kick would take Landry out of the picture. Cragg admitted that she was very nervous for the first few miles and her legs did not feel good. They finally felt better until she hit the bridge. She stated that with the heat and the wind, her effort felt more like a half marathon. This was a great confidence builder for her upcoming Boston Marathon. She was thrilled by the win after her 19th place finish in 2014. True finally regained his form from last year after two disappointing races at USA Cross Country Championships and at the World's Best 10K. True has a three peat under his belt and I suspect he will be back for more titles. True took home $15,500 and Cragg received $11,000.

  The Adecco Downhill Mile was won by Cragg with a final 5:00 minute mile. True won the men's final mile in 4:13 but true to form he asked that his former teammate Lex Williams get half the $1000 bonus as he had the fastest mile in 4:08 but did not qualify as he ran over 49 minutes. The first 24 and under were taken by Gracey and Paul Chelimo.

  The heat adjusted Gate River Run 2015 was the deepest field in the race's history as 57 men broke 50 minutes and 62 men finished ahead of Cragg's winning time which was also the most ever. Jen Rhines held on for a sixth place finish and she took the masters title also. Rhines is one very tough lady!! You can watch the race at

  The following are the top ten men and women and their splits at 5K, 10K, 8.3 and the finish.

Open Men
    1     1    1  Benjamin True, 29, Hanover, NH     15:09       29:30       39:50       44:03        44:02
    5     2    2  Christo Landry, 28, Ann Arbor, MI                    29:31       39:51       44:14        44:14
   11    3    3  Girma Mecheso, 27, West Chester, PA 15:09  29:30       39:59       44:28       44:27
   23     4    4  Donn Cabral, 25, Annandale, NJ                   29:44       40:19       44:47        44:47
    7     5    5  Ryan Vail, 28, Portland, OR          15:11       29:49       40:19       44:54        44:53
    9     6    6  Sean Quigley, 30, Lafayette, CO   15:10       30:09       40:52       45:26        45:25
   15     7    7  Aron Rono, 32, Beaverton, OR     15:10       29:51       40:58       45:38        45:38
  105     8    8  Augustus Maiyo, 31, Colorado Springs, CO     15:10       30:16       40:58       45:39        45:38
   77     9    9  Eric Fernandez, 25, Flagstaff, AZ   15:12       30:23       41:04       45:44        45:44
   31    10   10  Paul Chelimo, 24, Beaverton, OR                15:09       30:06       41:10       45:49        45:48

Open Women
    4     1    1  Amy Hastings, 31, East Providence, RI    16:55   45:19       50:18        50:18
    2     2    2  Laura Thweatt, 26, Superior, CO                16:54  45:45       50:50        50:50
   10     3    3  Neely Spence Gracey, 24, Lake Orion, MI     16:55  45:46       50:50        50:50
   16     4    4  Juliet Bottorff, 24, Brighton, MA    16:55   45:58   51:11       51:11
   14     5    5  Alexi Pappas, 24, Eugene, OR                   16:55   46:17       51:19   51:19
   20     6    6  Jennifer Rhines, 40, Boston, MA  16:55                   46:16       51:36        51:36
   24     7    7  Mattie Suver, 27, Colorado Springs, CO 16:55       34:26       46:55       52:02        52:02
   40     8    8  Mia Behm, 25, Austin, TX    17:06       34:35       46:51       52:09        52:09
   28     9    9  Kara Foster, 24, Boalsburg, PA     17:06       34:38       47:06       52:17        52:17
    8    10   10  Kellyn Taylor, 28, Flagstaff, AZ    16:57       34:42       47:10       52:20        52:20

Leave a comment

Wake up to RunBlogRun's news in your inbox. Sign up for our newsletter and we'll keep you informed about the Sport you love.

Subscribe to RunBlogRun's Global News Feed

* indicates required