Previewing the USATF Half Marathon National Championships

Pittsburgh will host the USATF Half Marathon Championships on Sunday — following the city’s 2019 DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon and UPMC Health Plan Pittsburgh Half Marathon on Saturday. This is the second straight year for the event to be held in the City of Bridges, with the top 15 finishers in the male and female open divisions earning guaranteed prize money. The male and female national champions will take home $15,000 each, plus additional prize money for time and record bonuses. Full prize money info is here.

So who is vying for that cool $15K?

Sara Hall leads the way — her 1:09:37 PR is more than a minute faster than anyone else in the field and she finished second here last year. But, can she bounce back from a 2:35:34 for 15th at Boston three weeks ago? (Also, congrats to her daughter Hana on second place in the state 1600 championships on Thursday!)

Steph Bruce will certainly be in the mix and it will be interesting to see how a spring of shorter races — indoor 5000, outdoor 10k, IAAF World Cross champs, 10 mile road — plays out for her at the half marathon distance. She’s the 2018 USATF Marathon Championship runner-up, when she ran 2:29:20 for a new PR just a month after finishing 11th at NYC.

Emma Bates is on fire this year with new personal bests in both the half marathon (1:11:13) and the 10 Mile (52:18). She won the 2018 USATF Marathon Championships last year ahead of Steph.

Bethany Sachtleben has the fourth-fastest PR in the field with a 1:12:24 set last year at the Duluth Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon. She was sixth at the marathon championships in December with a 2:31:20, also a PR. In March she was second at the national 15k championships in Jacksonville, and tenth at Cherry Blossom 10 miler in April. And, a top-seven finish would move her up to the top of the USATF Running Circuit standings.

Rounding out the top five fastest PRs is Andie Cozzarelli, 1:12:51, but she’s had a rough couple of years racing in 2017 and 2018. This year she’s stepping away from the marathon and mixing things up.

Katy Jermann (1:12:58), Taylor Ward (1:13:27) and Meghan Peyton (1:13:43) round out the fastest PRs in the field.

Click here for a full list of registrants (as of April 24). In typical USATF fashion, I can’t for anything figure out if you can watch this live online anywhere. RunnerSpace says they’ll have video up after on their “plus” channel. USATF has a “live updates and results” page that has no info on it. Even only seems to have the press release up.

Anybody racing in Pittsburgh this weekend? Who do you think will win Sunday’s national championship?

Started running in my early 20s and ended up running my first marathon 15 months later. Managed to break 3 hours in my 12th marathon. Pilates instructor passionate about the importance of your powerhouse in running and the mind/body connection. One husband, zero kids, mama to one Australian Shepherd.

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