2012 marks the 19th year that the Championships were hosted by the Fifth Third River Bank Run in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Overcast skies and cool temperatures provided the stage for the 35th annual event, as the Championships field once again faced a strong international contingent.
A 4:51 opening mile saw Chirlee, Brett Gotcher (Flagstaff, Ariz.), Ryan Bak (Bend, Ore.) and Christopher Landry (Ann Arbor, Mich.) leading a large pack that included Robert Letting of Kenya and Derege Tadesse of Ethiopia.
After a 5:00 second mile, the leaders increased the tempo to 4:40 pace to break up the pack. At five miles, Letting and Chirlee opened a small gap on Gotcher, Landry and Tadesse. By 10 miles, the pair held a lead of more than 30 seconds over the chase pack.
The remaining miles saw Letting and Chirlee running together but Letting made his move as they reached downtown, opening a lead that would take in to the finish line in 1:14:55, 16-seconds ahead of Chirlee, who still had plenty to celebrate with his first ever U.S. title. Landry ran 1:15:48 to finish third overall and as the runner-up in the championships.
The women’s race also saw a strong start with Cherobon-Bawcom and Lindsey Scherf (Fayetteville, N.C.) quickly establishing themselves as the main contenders for the women’s title. After passing the first mile in about 5:20, the pair dueled for much of the race with Scherf setting the pace.
Scherf tried several times to break away but Cherobon-Bawcom always maintained contact and like Letting, made her move in the final miles as she charged to the finish for her fifth USA title and first American record. Scherf finished a strong second in 1:25:13.
Video highlights of the USA 25 km Championships are available in cooperation with RunnerSpace.com at www.USARunningCircuit.com.
About the USARC
The USA 25 km Championships were the fourth stop on the 2012 USA Running Circuit (USARC) and featured over $30,000 in prize money with the Chirlee and Bawcom earning $7,000 each. The 2012 USARC is a USA Track & Field road series, featuring USA Championships from one mile to the marathon and attracts the best U.S. distance runners. The circuit features nine events for men and ten for women.
The 2012 USARC is a USA Track & Field road series, featuring USA long distance running championships and for the first time will include the USA Cross Country Championships. The USARC attracts the best U.S. distance runners and has ten events for men and nine for women.
The 2012 USARC will feature more than $909,150 in circuit prize money with U.S. athletes competing for the right to represent Team USA in various international competitions.
The first ten U.S. runners earn points at each USARC race (15 for first, 12 for second, 10 for third, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1), with a final $12,500 grand prix purse ($6,000, $4,000, and $2,500) for the top three men and women point scorers overall.
The mission of the USA Running Circuit is to showcase, support, and promote U.S. runners. Since its inception in 1995, the USARC and its races have provided over $6 million dollars to U.S. distance runners.
For more information on the 2012 USA 25 km Championships visit www.usatf.org.