NEW YORK CITY, November 04 — Not many professional runners have their ideal sharpness in the middle of autumn, but track specialists Annie Rodenfels and Morgan Beadlescomb put on a display of strength — and even a little speed — to come away with USATF 5K titles in Central Park on a cool, sunny morning. The race started at the United Nations and wove through midtown Manhattan before finishing on the same challenging uphill slope as the next day’s NYC Marathon.
The men’s field went off first, but it was clear that nobody was interested in pushing the pace. “When we came through the mile I saw the time, I saw 4:41, I thought, there’s gonna be a 10K/marathon guy that moves to the front and takes this,” said Beadlescomb, who lowered his track 5000 PR to 13:08.82 last spring and finished 13th in the USATF Championships in July.
Right on cue, Zach Panning, a 2:09:28 marathoner, moved to the front and began to increase the pace. But by the 2-mile mark the race tightened up again. Within minutes, contenders began making moves, including Ahmed Muhumed and Dan Schaffer.
“We didn’t really start to push until the last K. It felt like everyone kinda had the same plan,” said Beadlescomb. The Michigan State grad, who has been rooming with Muhumed during fall training camp in Flagstaff, Arizona, battled up the final climb before finally breaking away with less than 200m to go, crossing the line in 13:44.0.
Muhumed (13:46.2) held off Tai Dinger (13:46.6) and Schaffer (13:46.9) for 2nd, followed by Brian Barraza (13:47.9) and reigning USA 10,000 champ Woody Kincaid (13:48.6).
“It’s a step in the right direction for the Olympic Trials, it’s a big confidence boost,” said Beadlescomb, 25, the runner-up in the NCAA indoor mile and outdoor 5000 in 2022. “Just coming out here and having kind of a lax energy about a national championship just because it’s not in the heart of track season, it’s a lot of fun.”
The women’s race, which started 5 minutes after the men, played out much differently. Weini Kelati, two-time defending champ in this event, shot to the front immediately, with Rodenfels and Keira D’Amato on her shoulders.
D’Amato, who set an AR in the half-marathon this summer and is in the midst of her build-up for…