Emma Bates ran away from her competition early Sunday morning in Sacramento, while Brogan Austin surprised the field with a furious finish, as the duo won the women’s and men’s title at the USATF Marathon Championships.
Courtesy USATF, for the full article and results, click here! Feature photo:Brogan Austin-Boone-Drake ©Doug Wells
The 2018 USATF Marathon Championships, hosted by the California International Marathon, are the tenth and final stop of the USATF Running Circuit season.
From the early miles Sunday, Bates set her pace and every other runner in the field decided to let the former NCAA champion go ahead.
Through the first 10 km, Bates established a 20 second lead, well ahead of the pack, while Bruce, Crouch, Krifchin and Lauren Masterson all ran together, 30 seconds up on the second chase pack.
With her victory, Bates passed Sara Hall for the lead of the USATF Running Circuit overall standings. Adding a whopping 37.5 points to her point total, Bates easily claimed the overall circuit title with 96.5 points, while Bruce’s effort added another 30 points to her total, giving her 60 points, moving her into third place overall.
Similar to Bates, Matt Llano would push the pace early on the men’s side, building a tremendous lead that looked at one point to be insurmountable. In the first 20 km, Llano built up a nearly one minute lead over the field, while looking strong and in control. Veteran Sergio Reyes and Wilkerson Given would give chase, putting themselves up 30 seconds on the large chase pack, which consisted of 20 men.
Over the next 5 km, Llano’s lead would continue to grow. Given and Reyes maintained their 2-3 positions, while the chase pack started to shake out a bit but still held more than 10 men in the pack.
By 35 km, Llano had a minute lead over Reyes, who dropped Given and the chase pack of ten men followed a minute behind him. With such little real estate left in the race, it seemed as though Llano was going to run away to a big win with a great time.
But then things started to shift. Llano started to slow and the large chase pack started to drive to the finish. Austin shot to the front of the group and hammered his way up to Reyes. Once he caught Reyes, his sight was set on Llano, a surprise to those watching along the streets of Sacramento and at home on USATF.TV.
With only a half mile to go, Austin continued to charge. Stride by stride Llano would lose his lead and Brogan could sense time was running out, one last push had to be made.
Shifting into one final gear, Austin passed Llano, and frantically ran through the line, crossing the finish victoriously in one of the finest finishes of the year for an American distance runner. The former Drake University runner finished in 2:12:38, while Llano had to settle for second in 2:12:59, having made the race and taken a calculated risk early that nearly paid off.
The chase pack continued to roll behind Austin and Llano, as a large group of runners worked together much of the way. ZAP Fitness Reebok teammates Josh Izewski and Joseph Stilin placed third and fourth in fantastic times of 2:13:14 and 2:13:19, putting a gap on fifth place Brendan Gregg of the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project over the final mile. Gregg would finish fifth in 2:13:26.
Brian Shrader took home sixth in 2:13:38, while 2017 fourth place finisher Anthony Costales earned another top ten performance in seventh with a mark of 2:13:28. Mick Iacofano finished eighth in 2:13:46, while Martin Hehir and Jarrett LeBlanc placed ninth and tenth, each crossing the finish in 2:13:49.