At this Sunday’s (November 17) U.S. National Road Racing Championships, the 10th and final event in this year’s USA Running Circuit schedule, an impressive group of men and women will take to the streets of Alexandria, VA, in hopes of capturing the overall titles for 2013.
Leading the way for the men will be Olympian Matt Tegenkamp, who’s sitting pretty with 60 points. He’s already won the USA 10K and 20K Championships—earlier events in the USARC calendar—and while he’s the favorite to end the year atop the standings, he’s a mere eight points ahead of Shadrack Biwott, who’ll also be on hand for the 12K race.
Biwott has been impressive all season, and in addition to finishing second at the USA 10K Championships, he took third in the USA Half-Marathon and Marathon championships.
Two points behind Biwott is Josphat Boit, and while he “hasn’t finished as strong in the shorter USARC races as Tegenkamp and Biwott,” according to a USATF preview, he took second in the USA 25K and Marathon championships, so he’s expected to make a strong push for the top five.
The winner of Sunday’s race will earn 45 points—triple the usual number. Subsequent finishers get 36, 30, 21, 18, 15, 12, 9, 6, and 3. The standings are bound to “look dramatically different,” as the USATF puts it, after the dust has settled and organizers get ready to divvy up the $100,000 prize money.
On the women’s side, Olympians Molly Huddle and Shalane Flanagan are among the ones to watch, according to the USATF preview, although they’re currently far from the series lead. Both will come into Alexandria with 15 points, but Huddle has momentum on her side, having won the USA 5K Championship in September and topped the field at the NYRR Dash to the Finish Line 5K in New York City earlier this month, defeating Flanagan in the process.
As with the men, point values are tripled in the final event, and that’s good news for everyone not named Mattie Suver. The Colorado Springs runner is currently perched atop the standings with 47 points, but as USATF points out, she excels at longer distances, as evidenced by her recent third-place finish among Americans at the 2013 ING New York City Marathon.
Of course, “there’s a tremendous amount on the line,” according to the USATF, so expect some extra zip when Suver takes to the streets of Alexandria.