This feature, from Race Results Weekly, is about the USATF 5k Champs, which is held on the Saturday prior to the NYC Marathon and is one of the highlights of the weekend.
KELATI, NUR WIN USATF 5-K TITLES WITH RECORD TIMES
By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2022 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved, used with permission.
NEW YORK (05-Nov) — On a warm and sunny morning Weini Kelati (Under Armour) and Abdihamid Nur (Nike) won today’s USATF 5-K titles at the tenth edition of the Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5-K here, both breaking course and championships records. Kelati, 25, broke away from the field early and sailed to victory in 15:16, breaking her own course and championships record set last year by two seconds. Nur, 24, won in a tough battle with steeplechaser Hillary Bor (Hoka One One) and, despite making a wrong turn just before the finish, broke both the course and championships records, clocking 13:24. Both athletes won $12,000 in prize money.
KELATI AGAINST THE CLOCK
In essentially a repeat of last year’s race, Kelati went to the front of the pack immediately, then began to create a gap over the 30-woman field within the first 500 meters. Only Emily Infeld and Natosha Rogers were brave enough to go with her, but both of her rivals had fallen back when Kelati ran through the first kilometer. Kelati had all of the massively-wide East 42nd Street to herself.
“I did not plan to get out early,” Kelati told Race Results Weekly. “But, based on all of my training, I can do it. I’m just going to stay confident, push it through.”
With each passing kilometer, Kelati’s lead expanded. She easily negotiated the hills of Central Park in the last two kilometers, including the final uphill charge to the TCS New York City Marathon finish line where today’s race also finished. Since no race clock was facing the runners, she wasn’t sure of her time.
“It’s funny, but I did not see the time,” Kelati said, looking puzzled. “They said that I broke it again (her course and championships record), which is amazing.” She continued: “I can’t believe it.”
Behind Kelati, Erika Kemp (Boston Athletic Association) ran a well-executed race to take second, just edging Infeld (Nike) in the final sprint to the line (Rogers would fade to 10th). Both women were given the same time (15:30), but the timer’s report showed that Kemp had seven-tenths of a second on Infeld at the line. Kemp’s B.A.A. teammate Annie Rodenfels got fourth, only one second behind Infeld.
Kemp, 27, was third at these championships last year, where she ran far slower (15:46). She incorporated today’s event into her build-up for the hilly B.A.A. Half-Marathon next Sunday in Boston.
“I’m super happy with it, especially since I’m doing a half next weekend,” Kemp told Race Results Weekly.
Running in her first USATF road running championships, 8-time Fifth Avenue Mile winner Jenny Simpson finished 17th in 16:07.
NUR AND BOR BREAK AWAY
The men’s race became a two-man contest very quickly. Bor, an 8:08.41 steeplechaser, set the early pace, followed by Andrew Colley (On Zap Endurance) and Nur. Turning right onto Avenue of the Americas in the second kilometer, Bor still had Colley and Nur close behind. Bor was worried about Nur.
“He has a lot of speed,” Bor told Race Results Weekly. “I was kind of trying to exhaust that speed before we get to the hills. I didn’t expect him to be that strong.”
Coming into Central Park and climbing the hill on the entry drive from Central Park South that local runners call “the service road,” Nur was already in front, and Bor was just trying to keep it close. Nur’s lead grew in the final kilometer and based on his pace, it looked good for him to not only break Paul Chelimo’s 2018 course record (13:45) but also Tim Broe’s 2004 championships record of 13:37. There was even a chance for him to threaten Ben True’s ratified USATF record of 13:20*.
But Nur nearly gave the race away when he mistakenly followed a lead car as it exited the course just 10 meters before the finish line. The car turned left to go through an opening in the barriers, and Nur followed as spectators shouted for him to get back on the course and run through the tape.
“I was confused,” the good-natured Nur said with a laugh. “I didn’t realize. I knew that the finish line was right there. They told me to follow the car, so I didn’t know that it wouldn’t go to the finish line.”
Nur lost perhaps two seconds, but he still had a comfortable gap on Bor, who finished second in 13:29. Third place went to Kirubel Erassa (unattached) in 13:37. Colley, who was near the lead early on, finished seventh in 13:41. Defending champion Drew Hunter (adidas/Tinman Elite) did not finish, dropping out in the third kilometer.
Nur, who ended his collegiate career at the University of Northern Arizona last spring, is coming off an excellent track season. He finished third at the NCAA Division I Championships in the 10,000m and also finished third at the USATF Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the 5000m. The latter performance qualified him for his first World Athletics Championships, where he finished 11th in the 5000m.
Although he could have run a few seconds faster, Nur was clearly pleased to have gotten both the win and his first USATF title.
“I wasn’t paying attention to the time,” he said. He added: “But I’m still happy with the win.”
Besides today’s professional races, nearly 11,000 other runners finished today’s Dash, the warm-up event for tomorrow’s TCS New York City Marathon. In an encouraging sign for the running industry, today’s official finisher total of 11,008 was well above the 2021 total of 6831 and the pre-pandemic total of 10,286 in 2019.
*The pending USATF 5-K record is 13:01 by Grant Fisher from the 2022 Wanda Diamond League final (True has the ratified mark). Fisher ran on an irregular track erected in the Zurich city center, so his mark was considered a road time, not a track time.