COLUMBUS, Ohio – Christo Landry of Charlotte, N.C., and Tara Welling of Portland, Ore., will return to the OhioHealth Capital City Half Marathon on April 29 to defend their titles in the 2017 USATF Half Marathon Championships.
Landry is a six-time national champion who cruised to victory at the 2016 USATF Half Marathon Championships in 1:02:52 by pulling away from a crowded lead pack over the final 5K. Scott Fauble of Flagstaff, Ariz., who finished second in 2016, is also back.
Welling, who also won the USATF 15K Road Championships in 2016, is back to form after suffering a pelvis stress fracture late in 2016. She pulled away from U.S. Olympia Desi Linden over the final four miles in 2016 to win in 1:10:25.
Leonard Korir, a Kenya native who won the first two events on the 2017 USATF Running Circuit and who been on a tear since earning U.S. citizenship in 2016, is expected to challenge for the title. He won the half marathon at the Chevron Houston Marathon in 1:01:14 in January.
Who to watch at the 2017 USATF Half Marathon Championships on April 29 at the OhioHealth Capital City Half Marathon in Columbus, Ohio:
Age: 26. Resides: Flagstaff, Ariz.
Scott Fauble returns to the OhioHealth Capital City Half Marathon and USATF Half Marathon Championships looking to improve on a second-place showing in 2016 when he recorded a career-best 1:03:06. A member of HOKA NAZ Elite, Fauble finished third at the 2015 USATF Club XC Championships to earn a spot in the 2016 Great Edinburgh XC Challenge, where he finished third. Last year, Fauble posted a career-best 28:00:43 in the 10,000 meters at the Stanford Invitational before he finished second in Columbus. He followed that performance with a strong 4th place showing in the 10,000 meters at the 2016 Olympic Track and Field Trials. Fauble was a state cross-country champion in Colorado before starring at the University of Portland.
Age: 29. Resides: Flagstaff, Ariz.
Aaron Braun, a native of Fort Collins, Colo., was a nine-time Division II National Champion while starring at Adams State University in Colorado. Braun, who boasts a 27:41.54 10,000 meter personal best, won his only national championship when he bested Shadrack Biwot to win 2013 USATF 12K Road Championships. In 2014, Braun finished second to the great Meb Keflezighi at the USA Half Marathon Championships in Houston in a blistering 1:01:38. He returned to Houston in 2015 and was the top American in the marathon in 2:12:54. Injuries kept the versatile Braun out of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials, but he rebounded to win the Big Sur Half Marathon in 1:03:33 in November 2016 and then captured the SACTOWN 10 Miler in Sacramento, Calif., in 49:07 on April 2. The 10-miler win was Braun’s first since becoming an official member of HOKA NAZ Elite in March.
Age: 30. Resides: Colorado Springs, Colo.
Leonard Korir, a native Kenyan who is a member of the U.S. Army’s World Class Athlete Program, has been the most-accomplished U.S. long distance runner in the past six months. In January, Korir won the Great Edinburg Cross Country Championships 8K in 24:03 and the Chevron Houston Half Marathon in 1:01:14. In February, he won the USATF Cross Country Championships in Bend, Ore., by covering the 10K in 30:11:18, then a few weeks later won another national title by taking the USATF 15K Road Championships in Jacksonville, Fla., in 43:22. His 2017 unbeaten streak came to an end when he was the second American and 20th overall at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Uganda in March. Korir, a specialist in the U.S. Army, was a two-time NCAA All-American at Iona College. He earned his U.S. citizenship in 2016.
Age: 31. Resides: Charlotte, N.C.
Christo Landry, who will turn 31 years old on Race Day, is a six-time national champion on the USATF Running Circuit and the defending champion of the USATF Half Marathon Championships. Landry won in Columbus last year when he pulled away from a large pack at the 10-mile mark and won easily in 1:02:52. Two weeks later in Grand Rapids, Mich., Landry won the USATF 25K Road Championships with a clocking of 1:15:32. Landry won his first national championship in 2012 at the 15K Road Championships, then won three titles in 2014 – 10 Mile Road Championships, 25K Road Championships and the 10K Road Championships.
Age: 33. Resides: Flagstaff, Ariz.
Representing Oiselle and HOKA NAZ Elite, Stephanie Bruce kicked off the 2017 racing season in stellar fashion with a seventh place showing at the USATF Cross Country Championships in Bend, Ore., and a victory at the Gasparilla Distance Classic Half Marathon in Tampa in February. She also finished 22nd at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships and set a 10,000-meter PR of 31:59:88 at the Stanford Invitational. Bruce’s career-best at 13.1 miles came at the 2013 New York City Half Marathon, where she finished in 1:10:53 and was the first American finisher. Bruce finished runner-up at the 2010 USATF 20K Road Championships and 2013 USATF 10K Road Championships and was third at the 2013 USATF 15K Road Championships. Bruce took time off from competition to have two children before returning in 2016. Bruce is married to Ben Bruce, a national-level runner who gained fame in 2014 by winning five straight Rock ‘N Roll Marathons.
Age: 34. Resides: Redding, Calif.
Sara Hall, the wife of the USATF Half Marathon record holder Ryan Hall, is one of the top long-distance runners in the United States. Hall won gold in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico and was fourth at the 2015 USATF Half Marathon Championships in Houston. Hall finished fifth at the 2015 USATF Cross Country Championships and was 20th at the 2015 IAAF World Cross Country Championships. Hall made her marathon debut at the 2015 Los Angeles Marathon. Her career best at 26.2 miles came at the 2017 Tokyo Martahon, where she finished sixth in 2:28:28. Hall was a seven-time All-American at Stanford. She finished third overall and help Stanford win the team title at the 2003 NCAA Women’s Cross Country Championships.
Age: 28. Resides: Santa Fe, N.M.
A native of Kenya, Tuliamuk has been on fire since becoming a U.S. citizen in April 2017 and thus eligible for USATF national championship events. Tuliamuk has won four national crowns in less than a year. In May 2016 she won the 25K Road Championships in Grand Rapids, Mich., in 1:25:24. In September, she won both the 20K Road Championships (1:05:47) and the 5K Road Championships (15:22). In February, she opened the 2017 season with a win at the USTAF Cross Country Championships in Bend, Ore. by covering the 10K course in 34:25.
Age: 27. Resides: Portland, Ore.
Tara Welling earned the biggest victory of her professional career when she outlasted U.S. Olympian Desi Linden to win the 2016 USATF Half Marathon Championships at the 2016 Capital City Half Marathon. The win was Welling’s second national title of the 2016 season as she also took home the gold at the 15K Road Championships in March in 50:34 in her debut at the 9.3-mile distance. After taking a break from training, Welling suffered a pelvis stress fracture at the end of the 2016 season and missed about eight weeks. She showed no signs of rust, though, as she opened the 2017 season with a win in the Shamrock Run 8K in Portland in 27:43 and was the first American finisher and seventh overall (55:43) in the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler on April 2.
Welling, 27, did not know much about Columbus before competing in the 2016 USATF Half Marathon Championships.
“The Cap City Half definitely went above and beyond as a host venue. All the staff and volunteers were helpful and accommodating. To be honest, I knew nothing about Columbus had no clue what the city was like,” she said. “It definitely exceeded my expectations! The course was amazing and it was fun running through the city and seeing Ohio State and Downtown.”
The event made an equally strong impression on the other elite athletes in the field, said Josh Cox, a four-time U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier who new represents many of the nation’s best long-distant runners.
“The Cap City Half exceeded every expectation. The athletes absolutely loved the race and the atmosphere,” Cox said. “After experiencing their hospitality first hand, I would put David Babner and his staff up with the very best globally. The 2016 edition was fantastic and I expect even bigger things in 2017.”
The men’s and women’s winners of the USATF Half Marathon Championships will receive $12,100 each, a National Championship Ring courtesy of the Diamond Cellar and a TAG Heuer Winners Watch, also courtesy of the Diamond Cellar. The men’s and women’s rings are each valued at more than $6,000 and the watches are valued at approximately $1,500 each.
“The National Championship Rings and TAG Heuer Winners Watches were tremendously popular with the national champions in 2016 and I can’t wait to present the rings and watches again in 2017,” Babner said. “Nobody has ever done this in road racing in the United States and we have now set the gold standard.
Total prize and incentive money for the 2017 USATF Half Marathon Championships is more than $125,000.
OhioHealth Capital City Half Marathon sponsors include OhioHealth, Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, Chandon Sparkling, Columbus Blue Jackets, Coors Light, Diamond Cellar, LIFEWTR, Papa John’s, Marathon Petroleum, Byers Airport Subaru, Tequila Patrón, Giant Eagle, WBNS 10TV, Gatorade Endurance, 614 Magazine, TAG Heuer, Boom! Nutrition and the Columbus Blue Jackets.
For more information on the OhioHealth Capital City Half Marathon and to register, visit capitalcityhalfmarathon.com
About the OhioHealth Capital City Half Marathon
The OhioHealth Capital City Half Marathon was founded in 2004 and is produced by M3S Sports, a sports marketing firm based in Columbus dedicated to celebrating a healthy active lifestyle. DailyBurn named The OhioHealth Capital City Half Marathon the “Best Half Marathon In Ohio” in January 2014. M3S Sports also produces the OhioHealth Emerald City Half and Quarter Marathon, the Ohio State Four Miler, the 5th Line 5K in partnership with the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Memorial Tournament FORE! Miler and a variety of other running and walking events in Central Ohio. The Capital City Half Marathon will host the USA Half Marathon Championships in 2016 & 2017. For more information, visit www.capitalcityhalfmarathon.com and www.m3ssports.com.