USATF 5K Champs — Tracksters Take Both Titles

“Having kind of a lax energy about a national championship just because it’s not in the heart of track season, it’s a lot of fun,” said men’s winner Morgan Beadlescomb. (VICTOR SAILER/PHOTO RUN)

NEW YORK CITY, November 04 — Not many professional runners have their ideal sharpness in the middle of autumn, but track specialists Annie Rodenfels and Morgan Beadlescomb put on a display of strength — and even a little speed — to come away with USATF 5K titles in Central Park on a cool, sunny morning. The race started at the United Nations and wove through midtown Manhattan before finishing on the same challenging uphill slope as the next day’s NYC Marathon.

The men’s field went off first, but it was clear that nobody was interested in pushing the pace. “When we came through the mile I saw the time, I saw 4:41, I thought, there’s gonna be a 10K/marathon guy that moves to the front and takes this,” said Beadlescomb, who lowered his track 5000 PR to 13:08.82 last spring and finished 13th in the USATF Championships in July.

Right on cue, Zach Panning, a 2:09:28 marathoner, moved to the front and began to increase the pace. But by the 2-mile mark the race tightened up again. Within minutes, contenders began making moves, including Ahmed Muhumed and Dan Schaffer.

“We didn’t really start to push until the last K. It felt like everyone kinda had the same plan,” said Beadlescomb. The Michigan State grad, who has been rooming with Muhumed during fall training camp in Flagstaff, Arizona, battled up the final climb before finally breaking away with less than 200m to go, crossing the line in 13:44.0.

Muhumed (13:46.2) held off Tai Dinger (13:46.6) and Schaffer (13:46.9) for 2nd, followed by Brian Barraza (13:47.9) and reigning USA 10,000 champ Woody Kincaid (13:48.6).

“It’s a step in the right direction for the Olympic Trials, it’s a big confidence boost,” said Beadlescomb, 25, the runner-up in the NCAA indoor mile and outdoor 5000 in 2022. “Just coming out here and having kind of a lax energy about a national championship just because it’s not in the heart of track season, it’s a lot of fun.”

The women’s race, which started 5 minutes after the men, played out much differently. Weini Kelati, two-time defending champ in this event, shot to the front immediately, with Rodenfels and Keira D’Amato on her shoulders.

D’Amato, who set an AR in the half-marathon this summer and is in the midst of her build-up for February’s Olympic Trials marathon, decided not to take any chances and moved to the front.

“I was gonna try to hammer it from a mile to go,” she said of her pre-race plan. “But I could feel the pace picking up at the mile and I heard a lot of heavy breathing. And I’m looking around at all these track and 5K girls and I thought, ‘Who am I kidding? I’m not going to be able to outkick anyone. This is my chance to really bring it.’”

At the 2-mile mark, her lead over Kelati and Rodenfels was gradually decreasing. Moments later, Rodenfels bolted ahead, running wide on the course and establishing a lead she would not surrender. She crossed the line in 15:21.7.

“This is usually a bit of a slower course because of the hills. I just wanted to be strong and my coach [the BAA High Performance team’s Mark Carroll] said, ‘If you’re in it at 2 miles, you’ll win it,’” said the 27-year-old Rodenfels, who won three NCAA Division III titles while at Centre College in Kentucky. “And so I just tried to believe that.”

Behind her, Kelati and D’Amato were fading. Rachel Smith, an Olympian in the 5000 in Tokyo, came on strong to pass them both and finish 2nd in 15:25.5. Bethany Hasz (15:26.5) also closed well, taking 3rd, followed by D’Amato (15:27.8) and Kelati (15:29.7).

Though Rodenfels has primarily focused on the track — she finished 6th in the USATF championships steeplechase in ’21 and 12th in the 5000 this year — she’s establishing herself on the roads, having won the Boston 10K for Women last month. “I’m gritty and I’ve got the strength and maybe I’ve got a little bit more of a natural kick than a lot of the people who stick to the roads,” she says of her success on the pavement. “I feel like I can do both.”

Beadlescomb and Rodenfels pocketed $12,000 each for their wins.



1. Morgan Beadlescomb (adi) 13:44 ($12,000); 2. Ahmed Muhumed (HokaNnAz) 13:47; 3. Tai Dinger (unat) 13:47; 4. Daniel Schaffer (ZapE) 13:47; 5. Brian Barraza (RootsR) 13:48; 6. Woody Kincaid (Nik) 13:49; 7. Anthony Camerieri (unat) 13:52; 8. Zach Panning (HansB) 13:54; 9. Willy Fink (UArmMRB) 13:54; 10. Noah Carey (unat)13:54.


1. Annie Rodenfels (BAA) 15:22 ($12,000); 2. Rachel Smith (Hoka) 15:26; 3. Bethany Hasz (BAA) 15:27; 4. Keira D’Amato (Nik) 15:28; 5. Weini Kelati (UArmDS) 15:30; 6. Katie Camarena (unat) 15:37; 7. Amanda Vestri (ZapE) 15:38; 8. Sammy McClintock (McKirdy) 15:41; 9. Emma Grace Hurley (AtlTC) 15:46; 10. Danielle Polerecky (McKirdy) 15:52.