The men’s race

Two Kenyan-born Americans won the United States Track and Field (USATF) Cross Country Championships on Saturday in Pole Green Park near Richmond, Virginia.

The two United States Army athletes Emmanuel Bor and Ednah Kurgat won their first national titles by large margins. The top six finishers in each race earned a spot on the American team that will compete at the World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia on February 18.

Bor, at age 34 is enjoying his best season to date. And is coming off of a strong 2022. He took second at USA Indoor Championships in the 3000 metre event. Bor was fifth at the national outdoor championships in the 5000m distance event.

Once Bor crossed the finish line, he enjoyed the best spectator view as a harried battle for the remaining five spots on Team USA took place. Andrew Colley took second in the time of 28:48. And then five more finishers recorded the same 28L49 finish time.

Anthony Rotich, Leonard Korir, Sam Chelanga, and Dillon Maggard earned the final four spots with Reid Buchanan the unlucky seventh-place finisher — the odd man out and an alternate choice if a position comes up due to injury. Hillary Bor, who is Emmanuel’s younger brother, finished in eighth position, eight seconds back of the pack.

Emmanuel Bor owns a 10,000m best of 27:22.80 and an indoors 5000m best of 13:00.48 from Boston last year. It is the second fastest American time for the distance indoors. Originally from Eldoret, Kenya, Bor competed for the Alabama Crimson Tide. The Bors have a third brother who ran professionally and is now retired Julius Bor.

The women’s race

Ednah Kurgat won the women’s race with a big statement, clearing the field easily.

Midway into the race there was a lead pack of six including Kurgat, Weini Kelati, Emily Durgin, Makena Morley, Katie Izzo, Emily Lipari, and Makena Morley. They continued to work as a pack to create separation throughout. With one kilometre to go there was 20 second on the field. Except Kurgat who was at least another dozen second up on the pack — the race was for second to thorugh six and who would be on Team USA.

Kurgat clocked a 32:07 finish time, more importantly, was 17 seconds up on Morley for second — it was a demonstrative win. The remaining four Durgin, Lipari, Kelati, and Izzo rounded out who would be going to Bathurst in Feb.

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