Elites Descend on Columbus for 2016 USATF Half Marathon Championship

11203506_1587402638203085_2140938430_nNow that the Olympic Trials Marathon and Boston are over, it’s easy to think there isn’t much going on in the world of road racing until the Olympic marathon in Rio. Au contraire! On Saturday, April 30, some of the best runners in our sport, including Olympians and National Champions and our very own Spearmint, will gather in the heart of Columbus, Ohio to compete for the title of 2016 USATF Half Marathon Champion.

Every year the championships are held in conjunction with a different race around the country. The previous two years the Championship was run in Houston, hosted by the Chevron Houston Marathon. This year, the host race, the OhioHealth Capital City Half Marathon, is offering a record-breaking $90,000 of prize money to the top 20 men and women finishers, as well as to the top five masters men and women. A record $12,100 will be awarded to the winning man and woman at the race, a nice bonus in a sport that doesn’t typically offer multi-million dollar contracts.

Oh, and did we mention? We will be there, covering the race from the lead up to the big day to the finish line interviews! Picking the brains of some of the best in our sport, sharing the exciting stories sure to happen during the weekend, capturing moments to help you feel like you’re there too, all the while trying to contain our excitement and not fan-girl too hard. Are you ready to get pumped?! Just take a look at the top-ten seeds who will be toeing the line in Columbus this Saturday!

Race Details

JanetTurn1Janet Bawcom

Hometown: Kapsabet, Kenya
Current Home: Splits time between Flagstaff, AZ and Rome, GA
Age: 37
Sponsor: Nike
Half-Marathon PR: 1:09:55 (2012)
Coach: Jack Daniels
Sponsor: Nike
Cutest story ever: Before they met, Janet’s husband was volunteering in Kenya, where he happened to meet her mother. Her mom asked him to bring a care package back to the U.S. for her daughter. When he delivered the care package full of tea and spices from her mother, Janet and Jay fell in love and the rest is history.
Most badass fact she drops at parties: Placed 12th in the 10,000 meters at the 2012 London Olympics.


8D0A8724Brianne Nelson

Hometown: Suburban Chicago
Current Home: Golden, CO
Sponsor: Adidas, Skratch Labs, Elliptigo
Age: 35
Half-Marathon PR: 1:10:16 (2015)
Coach: Mike Aish
Highly relatable fact: Rose to the top of U.S. distance running, setting all her personal bests after becoming a mom of two.
Most badass fact she drops at parties: The reigning record-holder in the mile for her elementary school (6:19).


DesiFinishCheerDesi Linden

Hometown: Chula Vista, CA
Current Home: Rochester Hills, MI
Sponsors: Brooks, Timex, Powerbar, Oakley
Age: 32
Half-Marathon PR: 1:10:34 (2011)
Coach: Kevin Hanson
Drink of choice: Whiskey
How she feels about coming in second in so many big races recently: “Salty.”
Most badass fact she drops at parties: Two-time Olympic Marathoner.



65437033-DSC_2112Katie Matthews

Hometown: Rocky Hill, CT
Current Home: Boston, MA
Half-Marathon PR:
1:11:57 (2015)
Terrence Mahon
Most impressive non-running talent:
 Was a drummer in her high school marching band.
Secret Crush: Or not-so-secret, since she tweeted it: “The Property Brothers” on HGTV.



8D0A8741Lauren Jimison

Hometown: El Dorado Hills, CA
Current Home: El Dorado Hills, CA
Sponsors: Asics, Skratch Labs
Half-Marathon PR:
1:12:01 (2015)
Andrew Kastor
What drives her:
Her steadfast belief and faith in God; she majored in Christian Ministry in college.  
Most badass fact she drops at parties: She hit the “A” standard in her first marathon!


8D0A8613Lindsay Flanagan

Hometown: Roselle, IL
Current Home: Silver Springs, MD
Half-Marathon PR:
1:12:05 (2016)
Isaya Okwiya
Most impressive non-running talent: 
No, she is not related to Shalane. *mic drop.
Most badass fact she drops at parties: In 2015, became the first American woman to medal at the Pan American Games Marathon in 20 years.


8D0A7400Katie DiCamillo

Hometown: Hicksville, NY
Current Home: Providence, RI
New Balance
Half-Marathon PR:
1:12:59 (2015)
Ray Treacy
Most impressive non-running talent: 
Cooking. She’s a personal chef!
Most badass fact she drops at parties: Hurricane Sandy blew away her planned debut 26.2 at the 2012 NYC Marathon, so she ran Philly instead and came in third!


pasted_image_at_2016_04_26_12_27_pm_480Tara (Erdmann) Welling

Hometown: Tucson, AZ
Current Home: Portland, OR
Half-Marathon PR:
1:13:07 (2016)
Scott Guerrero and Jon Marcus
Big non-running dream:
Compete on the Amazing Race with her husband.
Most badass fact she drops at parties: Won the 2016 Gate River Run 15k by dropping a 4:58 last mile!


pasted_image_at_2016_04_25_08_50_pm_1024Allison Mendez

Hometown: Rockwall, TX
Current Home: Austin, TX
Half-Marathon PR:
1:13:20 (2016)
Steve Sisson
Most impressive non-running talent: 
Dancing. She started when she was three.
Most badass fact she drops at parties: She was a walk-on at the University of Texas her sophomore year in 2008, seven years later she toed the line at the Olympic Trials Marathon.


8D0A7406Esther (Erb) Atkins

Hometown: Richmond, Virginia
Current Home: Blowing Rock, NC
Half-Marathon PR:
1:13:46 (2016)
Terrence Shea (Who you might know as Poppy’s husband)
Most impressive non-running talent:
 She’s one hell of a singer!
Most badass fact she drops at parties: 2014 U.S.A. National Marathon Champ even with a mid-race bathroom break!

What a list! As we head off to Columbus, let us know if there are any burning questions you have for any of the amazing athletes racing on Saturday! 


*Photo of Katie Matthews by Scott Mason Photography. Photo of Tara Welling from the Gate River Run. The remainder of photos by Kyle Gorjanc/Salty Running.

Salty Running boss and mother of 3 little ones with PRs of 3:10:15 (26.2), 1:25:59 (13.1) and 18:15 (5k). I love to write about running culture, mental training, and fitting in a serious running habit with the rest of a busy life.

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