Jason Balkman - 2003

> Kennedy Is Back! Takes USA Men's 10K Championship > By Hank Brown, Running USA wire > > MOBILE, Ala. - (November 8, 2003) - It's a rare occasion when Bob Kennedy > strays from the track onto the roads. On Saturday morning in Mobile, the > U.S. 3000 and 5000 meter record holder took his talents to a track-like road > course to win the USA Men's 10K title at the 16th Food World Senior Bowl > Charity Run. The Indianapolis resident broke away from a huge pack of elite > American men at about 4.5 miles and ran unchallenged to the tape in 28:35. > Teren Jameson of Salt Lake City won the frenetic kick for national runner-up > in 28:42 with Matt Gabrielson of St. Paul, Minn. two seconds back in third. > The finishing field was so fast and so deep that it took a 29:00 performance > to crack the top 10, and a sub 30:00 to slip into the top 30. > > But Kennedy, 33, was no doubt the fastest and the strongest. The Mobile > course is flatter than an airport runway, which suited Kennedy's track > heritage. > > "Yeah, it's a great course, very flat," the two-time Olympian said > afterwards. "But this (running on the roads) is different. Most track races > are at night. And us track guys like the constant feedback every 200-400 > meters. I just told myself to stay ready at all times. I liked it. I had a > good time." > > The starting line was packed with talent. Kennedy, Nick Rogers and Brad > Hauser have worn the red, white and blue in past Olympics. Ryan Kirkpatrick > 2002, Rogers 2001 (event record holder in 28:18) and Scott Strand 2000 were > on hand to defend their past national 10K titles. 2003 USA Running Circuit > champion and marathon and half-marathon U.S. champion Ryan Shay also was > hunting another U.S. title. > > This event oozes with southern charm as Azalea Trail Ladies dressed in long > flowing dresses welcomed runners to the starting line. Huge live oak trees > provided a majestic canopy for the runners as they gathered in the historic > Oakleigh District of old Mobile. Stately southern mansions, some over 300 > years old, provide the backdrop as thousands of runners swept past. > > The leaders took flight down the 2-mile opening straightaway. A fast first > mile of 4:31 did nothing to sort out or slim down the hefty pack of about 30 > runners. Mile 2 was more of the same, passed in 4:39, still about 25 > runners, still doing business at arms length. The next mile passed through a > residential area with a few traffic circles temporarily scattering the > runners, but they quickly reformed into a tight knit group once around the > circle. Mile 3 split was 4:40. > > Jameson pushed the turn onto Dauphin Street which served to thin the herd > slightly. Kennedy and Rogers quickly covered Jameson's move. Rogers was now > dictating the pace with Kennedy tucked neatly in the middle of the action. > Daniel Lincoln, Richie Brinker, Jason Balkman, Pat Gildea and Karl Savage > were all there as a twin pack of another 8-10 runners formed just a few > strides behind. The 4-mile split was 4:38, 18:30. Nothing had been settled > yet. > > It was shaping up to be a kicker's race, nothing unusual for Mobile. The > guys with "wheels" were getting in position for the fast and furious finish. > All bets were on Kennedy, Rogers, Lincoln or Savage. Even though Kennedy > looked relaxed the four-time U.S. 5000 meter champion admitted later he was > a little worried. > > "I really thought this would get down to a kick finish," said Kennedy. "I > had not been doing any speed work so I was a little concerned what might > happen if it got to that." > > No worries. Kennedy threw down a surge at about the 4.5 mile mark and only > Savage was brave enough to cover. Within about 50 meters, Savage thought > better of his heroics and abruptly dropped back to the chase pack. Kennedy > quickly built his lead to 5 seconds, 10 seconds, 12 seconds. Just like that, > the race was over. Everyone else was running for second. > > "I picked it up and nobody came," explained Kennedy who pocketed $7500 for > his first USA road title. "I thought I might as well go for home at that > point. I was just trying to relax. It worked out well." > > The women's race was not a USA Championship but featured a strong field > nonetheless. It was déjà vu again as Elva Dryer of Albuquerque took her 4th > win in succession, missing the Francie Larrieu Smith's 32:01 event record by > only two seconds. Team USA Minnesota's Katie McGregor finished second in > 32:35, while Carrie Tollefson was third in a PR 32:48. > > "I don't think I've ever run a race so many times," said Dryer, a Team USA > California athlete. "I really like this course. I guess I like flat because > I'm a rhythm runner. I went out a little too quick. It's hard not to get > caught up in the fast men's pace. But I just tried to stay relaxed. Gosh, if > I had known I was that close to the course record, maybe I could have given > it a shot at the end. Who knows? I was just happy to win." > > Kennedy also had good feelings about his performance. "I've been healthy for > awhile now and that makes a big difference for me. It's always a nice > feeling to win and especially great to win a national championship. This was > a great field. This gets me even more excited about next year." > > The Charity Run was also the ninth and final stop on the 2003 Men's USA > Running Circuit - a USA Track & Field road series featuring USA > Championships from 5K to the marathon and the final USARC Grand Prix > standings were determined after the race. Before the race, with 68 points, > Ryan Shay had already secured the overall USARC Grand Prix title worth > $6000, and after the race, Team USA California teammate Meb Keflezighi and > Phillimon Hanneck kept their #2 (45 points) and #3 (34 points) positions to > take home $4000 and $2500 respectively. Colleen De Reuck was the Women's > USARC GP Champion for the second straight year. > > Overall, the 2003 Men's USARC paid out over $200,000 in prize money and 54 > U.S men scored USARC points. > > 16th Food World Senior Bowl Charity Run 10K: USA Men's Championship > Mobile, AL, Saturday, November 8, 2003 > > MEN > 1. Bob Kennedy, IN 28:35 $7500 > 2. Teren Jameson, UT 28:42 $5000 > 3. Matt Gabrielson, MN 28:44 $3500 > 4. Jason Balkman, CA 28:47 $2500 > 5. Nick Rogers, OR 28:49 $1500 > 6. Richie Brinker, MI 28:53 $1000 > 7. Scott Strand, AL 28:55 $800 > 8. Jared Cordes, WI 28:56 $700 > 9. Luke Watson, CA 28:59 $600 > 10. Pat Gildea, TN 29:01 $500 > 11. Kevin Doyle, MI 29:03 $450 > 12. Dave Davis, OR 29:07 $350 > 13. Mark Menefee, MI 29:09 $300 > 14. Karl Savage, NC 29:11 $200 > 15. Clint Verran, MI 29:14 $100 > > WOMEN > 1. Elva Dryer, NM 32:03 $3500 > 2. Katie McGregor, MN 32:35 $2500 > 3. Carrie Tollefson, MN 32:48 $1500 > 4. Deeja Youngquist, NM 33:36 $1000 > 5. Kathy Newberry, VA 33:44 $750 > 6. Naoke Ishibe, MD 34:31 $500 > 7. Breeda Willis, IRL 34:40 $250 >