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A strong women’s field lined up for the USA Track and Field (USATF) 20K Championships on Monday in New Haven, Connecticut.
Runners were treated to a hot and humid day, with real feel in the low 80s Fahrenheit and the humidity creeping toward 85%.
Missing from the start list was 2022 champion Keira D’Amato, but a smattering of other fierce competitors came ready to race: Emily Sisson, Des Linden, Molly Seidel, Aliphine Tuliamuk, Kellyn Taylor, Molly Grabill, and Dakotah Lindwurm, to name a few.
At the two-mile mark, a group had formed led by Emily Sisson and included Molly Seidel, Emily Durgin, Ednah Kurgat, Kellyn Taylor, Annie Frisbie and Aliphine Tuliamuk. Sisson, who finished second in the championships in 2022, looked controlled and confident as she propelled the pack through the halfway mark.
Sisson led the charge and gapped the other runners by the sixth mile mark, bringing two others with her – Ednah Kurgat and Emily Durgin. Sisson led the three through the eighth mile, when Durgin started to fade and eventually dropped back.
Sisson and Kurgat ran stride for stride at the start of the final 5K, with Kurgat even pushing the pace a few strides ahead of Sisson for a handful of moments. No other runners or packs were even close to catching the pair, but Durgin hung on about a minute behind the two leaders.
With a little over 4K to go, Sisson began an epic final kick to drop Kurgat for good. Sisson ran solo in the final kilometers to finish 30 seconds ahead of Kurgat and claim the 20K road title in 1:06:09.
Sisson said via social media, “[I’m] really happy to come away with the win amongst such a strong field of women. Thanks to everyone for the support out there today!”
Kurgat finished in second in 1:06:39 and Durgin claimed bronze in 1:06:59.
A second pack consisting of Tristin Van Ord, Annie Frisbie, and Dakotah Lindwurm finished in fourth through sixth in the 1:07 mark, seventh and eighth were taken by Kellyn Taylor and Desiree Linden at the 1:08 mark, and ninth and tenth belonged to Molly Seidel and Amanda Vestri at the 1:09 mark.
Fan favorite Linden shared, “[Today was a] fitness check [with] eighth at the New Haven Road Race. Not the quickest but feeling like I can hold the pace for a long, long time…”
Many of the women who lined up today have their eyes on making the Team USA marathon team for the 2024 Olympics. The Team USA marathon trials will be held on February 3, 2024 in Orlando, Florida.