Pre-race favorite and hometown hero Huddle prevails in Providence.
Written by: Jim Estes
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — At the USA 5K Championships Sunday morning in Providence, R.I., U.S. 5,000m record holder Molly Huddle easily took the women’s crown and former University of Arizona star Robert Cheseret of Colorado Springs, Colo., surprised the men’s field to win his first U.S. road title. Huddle, 26, was timed in 15 minutes, 48 seconds, while Cheseret, 27, ran 14:00. This was the sixth year that the CVS Caremark Downtown 5K has hosted both the men’s and women’s national championship race.
At the 21st race edition, Huddle, the hometown favorite, took control from the gun but Sara Hall (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) and Renee Metivier Baillie (Boulder, Colo.) maintained close contact through the first mile. During the second mile, Metivier Baillie lost contact with Hall as Huddle lengthened her lead, cruising to a ten second win over Hall, the 2006 USA 5K champion. Metivier Baillie was third in 16:15. Meghan Armstrong (Minneapolis, Minn.) and Stephanie Pezzullo (Charlotte, N.C.) finished fourth and fifth in 16:25 and 16:29 respectively.
In the men’s race, a pack of six men passed two miles together in 9:01, with Aaron Braun (Flagstaff, Ariz.) and Ben Bruce (Eugene, Ore.) controlling the pace. Making the final turn off of Memorial Drive and running up the only significant hill on the course, Bruce had a slight edge over Cheseret, Braun and Andy Biladeau (Charlottesville, Va.). Cresting the hill just after the three-mile mark, Cheseret had one more gear, kicking by Bruce to win by two-tenths of a second–14:00.0 to 14:00.2. Braun took third in 14:05 followed by Biladeau (14:06). Kyle Alcorn (Mesa, Ariz.) rounded out the top five in 14:10.
Cheseret and Huddle took home $8,000 each as national and overall race champion ($5,000 and $3,000).
The USA 5K Championships video highlights are available in cooperation with RunnerSpace.com at: www.USARunningCircuit.com