Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sara Hall & Chris Thompson win NYRR Dash to the Finish to kick off marathon weekend...

NEW YORK--To kick off marathon weekend, the host New York Road Runners put on a 5k race for 5000 runners called the Dash to the Finish Line, which finished inside Central Park.

Stanford grad Sara Hall, fresh off the victory in the steeplechase at the Pan Am Games last week in Mexico, capped off her 2011 season with a winning time of 15:56, four seconds ahead of Julie Culley, and seven seconds over world championships 10000 bronze medalist Sally Kipyego, who trains part of the year in Eugene as part of the Oregon TC Elite.

In the men's race, Great Britain's Chris Thompson, yet another member of the Oregon TC Elite out of Eugene, took the victory in 13:53, nipping Aaron Braun of Arizona's McMillan Elite in the same time.

Dathan Ritzenhein (left/photo by Paul Merca), who trains in Beaverton with the Alberto Salazar Nike Oregon Project group, and has been injured for most of the 2011 season, finished third in 13:56.

Afterwards, Ritzenhein said that "symbolically, this was a pretty important race for me. It was awesome for me to be back competing, and so thankful to be back racing in New York. That is the fastest I've really gone in a while, so that was, for me, it was just awesome to be back out there. That feeling of competing again, I miss that so much. So to be able to come back here and do it again on this weekend, it was important for me, because I have a huge crush on this race."

Hall said that her win here, which was the fastest time ever run in New York City, was a great way to end the season, especially after beginning the season with a win at the Millrose Games.

"It feels great. I started my year with New York City, so it feels like a good completion, a good finish to finish with a win here. I love racing here. I've had a lot of good experiences. I've been here in the marathon the last six -- this is my sixth year here, and I've seen the finish every year and how exciting it is. So I couldn't wait to come to this finish line."

"I knew it probably wouldn't be quite as packed and loud as marathon day, so I'll save that full experience for one day in the future. But I got a little taste of it this morning which was really fun."

Results from the NYRR Dash to the Finish are available here.

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