Posted on February 11, 2019

USATF Men’s XC — Kipchirchir Spoils Korir’s Bid For 3-Peat

Mike Scott, Track and Field News, February 5, 2019

Leonard Korir won the ’17 USATF Cross Country Championships over a challenging, snow-covered course in Bend, Oregon, then beat Galen Rupp — making a rare cross country appearance — over the gently rolling hills of this same Tallahassee course last year to successfully defend his title.

So while Korir entered this year’s meet with the goal of winning his third consecutive title, his quest would not be easy: his own training partners in the American Distance Project (ADP)/US Army WCAP were among his biggest rivals. Shadrack Kipchirchir beat Korir in October at the USATF 10M championships in the Twin Cities, then backed it up with another victory at the USATF 5K a month later in New York City. And steeple specialist Hillary Bor took the win at January’s Great Stirling XC in Scotland with Korir 4th. Additionally, harrier standouts Garrett Heath & Ben True and marathoner Scott Fauble hoped to challenge for the win.

“Representing the U.S. at Worlds” (l to r): Leonard Korir, Shadrack Kipchirchir, Emmanuel Bor, and Stanley Kebenei

Korir, Kipchirchir, Bor, and their teammates started the race off fast from the gun, leading a large pack of 25 through the first 2M loop in 9:13. By the completion of the second loop (passed in 17:19 for 6K), only the ADP quintet of Bor, Kipchirchir, Korir, Stanley Kebenei and Hillary’s brother Emmanuel Bor were still in contention with only Heath even close — 2 seconds behind.


Emmanuel Bor (28:54) claimed runner-up honors, followed by Korir (28:56), Hillary Bor (28:57) and Stanley Kebenei (29:05). “We came here to make the team, to represent the United States at Worlds; we don’t want to let them down,” Kipchirchir said when asked whether he and his training partners would go to Worlds. {snip}