2016 Twin Cities 10 Mile Recap
For the 9,201 runners who toed the line in the 2016 Twin Cities 10 Mile, the finish line held promises of personal successes, PRs and bucket list goals. But for 23 elite women and 43 elite men who started just ahead of the general field, this race had even more on the line: the title of 10 mile Champion for the 2016 USATF racing circuit and up to $22,000 in prize money.
The 2016 USATF Women’s 10 Mile Championship
Two days before competing in the 2016 USATF 10 Mile Championship, Aliphine Tuliamuk admitted to feeling a bit of pressure. Tuliamuk was one point out of first place in the USATF racing circuit, and a strong finish in Sunday’s 10 mile would secure her the crown.
Tuliamuk had already secured victories in the 2016 USATF Championships for the 25k, 20k and 5k already this year, making her a top contender for the 10 Mile title. Nevertheless, she was cautious.
“Not every day’s the same,” Tuliamuk stated. “It depends on how you feel that day.”
Tuliamuk wasn’t the only runner who the running community was watching ahead of the race. Minnesota hero Gwen Jorgensen, the 2016 Olympic gold medalist triathlete, marked her 10-mile debut this weekend, and in the process became the longest distance she’s raced.
Her debut was arranged as part of her training program for the NYC Marathon this November, and as a perk, this race would come with a “home street” advantage.
“It’s pretty awesome to be here, to be able to run, to be racing on the streets that I train on every day,” Jorgensen acknowledged at Friday’s press conference, adding that running is her favorite of the three triathlon disciplines.
On Sunday morning, Tuliamuk and Jorgensen joined with Jordan Hasay to provide lucky spectators with a fun and competitive race. Tuliamuk led the women’s field out quickly, and a pack of four runners formed early, with Hasay, Jorgensen and Natosha Rogers rounding out the lead pack at two miles.
The pack of four stayed, but Rogers dropped and was replaced by Sara Hall until just after the 6 mile mark, when Hall couldn’t keep the pace. At 8 miles, Tuliamuk and Hasay took off, and Hasay cruised to victory in 52:49 after a surge with a half mile to go.
Hasay secured the women the equalizer victory, tying the women and men at 2 titles each since the bonus’ inception in 2013. Tuliamuk crossed the line in 53:01, followed by a strong debut by Jorgensen in 53:13, who also claimed the spot as top Minnesotan in the field.
The 2016 USATF Men’s 10 Mile Championships
In last year’s 10 Mile Championship, Sam Chelanga edged out Tyler Pennel at the finish line in a thrilling victory with a time of 46:47, the 4th fastest time in Twin Cities 10 mile history.
“Last year I had too much fun,” Chelanga explained on Friday, “and that’s why I came back.”
He admitted the cooler temperatures of a Minnesota fall were a perk as well.
“I love the cold racing. I tend to run really well when it’s cold,” Chelanga said.
This year’s starting temperature of 37 degrees and calm winds were just what Chelanga needed. The men’s race started exactly 5 minutes and 43 seconds behind the women, the “equalizer” time difference adding another level to the competition, along with a $10,000 bonus.
Unlike the women’s race, the top men stayed in a pack of about 15 athletes until mile 6, when a lead pack of Sam Chelunga, Tim Ritchie and Noah Droddy separated themselves from the field.
After dropping Ritchie and battling Droddy in the last half mile, Chelunga successfully defended his 2015 title in a time of 47:25 with a three second cushion. Droddy and Ritchie claimed second and third.
Crossing the line in 13th overall, Team USA Minnesota member and 2016 Olympic Trials competitor Biya Simbassa finished in 48:33 as the top Minnesotan.
USATF 2016 Racing Circuit Wrap-up
Chelanga’s victory Sunday also secured him second place in the overall USATF 2016 circuit, which wrapped up on the men’s side with the completion of the race. The women’s circuit will be complete following Monday’s 10K championships. Tuliamuk, who will not be competing, leads in the standings with a comfortable margin after her performance on Sunday.
The Rest of Us
The TC 10 Mile was an exciting racing experience for the elites, but the 9,201 runners in the non-elite field provided just as much excitement. From the scenic beauty of the morning mist rising off the river, to the enthusiastic cowbell ringers and waving sign bearers along the course, to the incredibly helpful and hospitable volunteers who perfectly portrayed Minnesota Nice, the experience showcased once again why this racing weekend is such a popular draw.
If you ran the Twin Cities 10 mile, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below. What did you think of the route, the race and the overall experience? How was your race?