MECHANICSVILLE, VIRGINIA, January 21 — So close to making U.S. teams twice within the last year and denied by different fates, Emmanuel Bor made persistence and fitness pay off with a breakaway win at the USATF XC Championships. The 34-year-old Army second lieutenant can now pack his bags for the second World XC Champs of his career (Bathurst, Australia, February 18).
Before the 3K mark on Pole Green Park’s 10K route, Bor essayed a surge off the front of a large pack that before his move had seen few gaps in the bunch. His 2:50.4 kilo split to reach the 3K post in 8:42.7 initially left steeplechaser brother Hillary next at 8:43.4 and 6 more runners less than a second back: early leader Reid Buchanan, All-Army team members Leonard Korir and Bernard Keter, On Zap Endurance’s Andrew Colley and Zach Panning of Hansons–Brooks.
Ten more followed within a second of Panning on the rolling, well-manicured course that covered a 2K loop 5 times.
Through halfway in 14:23.0, Bor maintained up front, leading Leonard Korir 2.7 seconds back and 11 others within 3 ticks of Korir. Bor used the 7th kilo to open his advantage to 11 seconds and ran to the zenith of his lead at 8K (23:03.4, 11.9 in front).
Now, though, Colley — a 31-year-old with PRs of 3:58.17 (mile before the super shoes era) and 2:12:15 (marathon) — along with Buchanan showed eagerness to close the gap.
Colley, with Buchanan, Hillary Bor and Army team member Anthony Rotich closest, shaved the margin to 8.5 seconds at 9K (25:58.9 for Bor).
With arms driving high and powerful, Bor checked his watch on the last uphill stretch around 27:15 in. He looked back frequently as the pack gained ground behind him but in the final stretch raised his arms to celebrate and crossed in 28:44.
Colley found turnover to kick a second clear of 5 followers in 28:48. Rotich, Korir, Sam Chelanga, Dillon Maggard and Buchanan all crossed timed in 28:49.
Buchanan, who had led at 1K, tasted the bitterness of missing the team (should all of the top 6 choose to travel to Australia) with the same official time as 5 who made it.
What made the victory doubly sweet for Emmanuel Bor — who has 13:00.48i/27:22.80 track bests — was the memory of his last two USATF Champs races. He placed 2nd in the USATF Indoor 3000 last winter yet was denied permission by the Army to travel to Serbia for “security reasons” perhaps related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
In the USATF 10,000 champs race last summer, Bor led at 8K and entering the final straight seemed to have a team berth still in hand when he tripped and dropped to 8th.
“Man, it’s an honor to me to represent the United States and this flag and to represent the Army is amazing. So it’s a dream that I’ve always dreamed about,” Bor told usatf.tv interviewer Keira D’Amato.
“I’ve been a runner-up [in ’19], and also last year at 10,000 I fell down close to making the team. But this is one of those moments that I look for and I cherish these moments.”
USATF MEN’S XC RESULTS
10K: 1. Emmanuel Bor (USAr) 28:44; 2. Andrew Colley (Zap) 28:48; 3. Anthony Rotich (Nike/USAr) 28:49; 4. Leonard Korir (AllArmy) 28:49; 5. Sam Chelanga (AllArmy) 28:49; 6. Dillon Maggard (unat) 28:49;
7. Reid Buchanan (unat) 28:49; 8. Hillary Bor (Hoka) 28:57; 9. Biya Simbassa (UA) 29:02; 10. Zachery Panning (Hans) 29:06; 11. Benjamin Eidenschink (unat) 29:08; 12. Ryan Ford (Zap) 29:11; 13. Joseph Berriatua (TinmanE) 29:15; 14. Jared Ward (Sauc) 29:26; 15. Aaron Templeton (unat) 29:28; 16. Eric Jenkins (Nik) 29:28; 17. Benard Keter (AllArmy) 29:29; 18. Jacob Klemz (Hans) 29:32; 19. Jordan Mann (OcStAC) 29:35; 20. Nick Randazzo (unat) 29:42; 21. Alex Monroe (unat) 29:48; 22. Jackson Mestler (OTC) 29:50; 23. Chase Weaverling (TBoulder) 29:52; 24. Isai Rodriguez (OkSt) 30:01; 25. Alec Sandusky (Hans) 30:09.
8K: 1. Leo Young (CaHS) 23:47; 2. Micah Wilson (Wi) 23:54; 3. Marco Langon (Vill) 23:54; 4. Evan Jenkins (Wa) 23:55; 5. Max Sannes (AF) 23:55; 6. Luke Venhuizen (Mi) 23:59;
7. Kole Mathison (InHS) 24:12; 8. Austin Henderson (Wi) 24:20; 9. Caleb Jarema (Mi) 24:22; 10. Shane Griepentrog (Mn) 24:23.