Inaugural .US Road Race Promotes Running and the American TLD
Molly Huddle ran a world record setting 37:50 in the women’s 12k
“The tradition of USA Track & Field that represents not only national pride, but also athletic excellence and competitiveness, and is something we want to associate our brand with,” said Alex Berry, Neustar Senior Vice President.
The course, which wound through historic Old Town Alexandria, lent itself to blistering fast times, including a world best and an American record in the women’s 12k!
Olympians Molly Huddle and Shalane Flanagan made it a two-person race from the first mile. Flanagan tried her best to pull away from Huddle during the first 10k of the race, but Huddle, who previously won the USA 5 km Championships, kept stride. In the final kilometer, Huddle turned up the heat, passing Flanagan and ultimately crossing the finish line victoriously in a new world best and American record time of 37:50.
In the men’s race, Aaron Braun jumped off the line, grabbing an early lead, something he would keep for the entire race. Braun’s initial pace quickly thinned the field, and by the final 2k, his victory was all but assured. He finished in an impressive 34:28, only two seconds off the 34:26 American record set by Steve Spence in 1989.
However, as Deena Kastor, USATF Board member and Olympic Medalist noted, “Not only was this weekend about crowning the king and queen of the 2013 USARC, but it was about the entire running community. USA Track & Field and .US did such a fantastic job in uniting that community.”
Although the elite runners made history on the course, the hundreds of local runners who came out to participate also enjoyed themselves. Neustar’s Kimberly Miller shared in the .US National Road Racing Championships experience, breaking her own 5k record. Read on for her review of the race:
Fast and fabulous is what comes to mind when I think about my experience running in the 12k this past Sunday at the .US National Road Racing Championships. The race was well organized, the route was fast and fun and the post-race festivities were full of interesting happenings. It was also exciting to be sharing the course with Olympians like Shalane Flanagan and Molly Huddle.
It took just a few minutes to drive from Arlington to Old Town and we found parking on the street within just a couple of blocks from the starting line. The organizers had a convenient bag check area, but we didn’t need it — the weather was so nice, we left our jackets in the car. Oronoco Park, with its view of the Potomac River, was beautiful that time of the morning and everyone was in a friendly mood as we made our way to our choral. The race organizers must know what it is like to stand around waiting for a race to start because the pre-race remarks were brief and then the elite runners were off. Before I knew it, we were beginning our 12k race.
The first few miles went by in a flash. We ran along the Potomac at the beginning and there was a slight up hill in Mile 1. After that, the route was mostly flat and we passed a lot of unique shops and intriguing restaurants. Next, the route took us through a beautiful residential area where many of the residents were sitting out on their balconies or porches, drinking their morning coffee and cheering us on. Parents and children lined the course, cowbells in hand as they waved and cheered. It’s funny how someone calling out your race bib number can spur you on.
Mile 5 had a good size hill, but the downhill more than made up for it. In fact, I think I PR’ed my long distance split on that mile. By Mile 6 and 7, I was starting to feel the effort in my legs and looking forward to the finish line. I tapped my reserves and ran fast to the finish line (well, fast for me).
Later, I realized that I had run my fastest 5k ever and some of my fastest splits in a long distance race. I was ecstatic! Molly Huddle also set a new world’s record with her performance that day, so I guess I’m not the only one who was happy with the course.
After the race, some friends and colleagues took advantage of the beer garden while I cheered my children on in the kid’s half mile fun run. They got a huge kick out of running with the Presidents (the Washington Nationals’ mascots) and getting their pictures taken with them. I was happy to see that there weren’t long lines for any of the after-race festivities and there were plenty of freebies, including water, bananas, bagels, Gatorade drinks and chews and granola bars.
So in sum, I had my best race ever, my entire family had a good time and I plan to recommend this race to every runner I know.
Men’s 12k winner Aaron Braun receives his first place prize from Alex Berry, Neustar Senior Vice President.