It took 13 years, but the men of Team USA finally secured an International Pro Team Challenge victory at the 39th BolderBOULDER 10K. And apropos that it took place on Memorial Day.
The troika of Diego Estrada, Leonard Korir and Sam Chelanga all finished in the top nine on Monday in Boulder, Colo., to pace the USA Red squad to a 13-15 win over Ethiopia.
Gabriel Geay of Tanzania out-kicked Korir to claim the individual title by less than a second. Chelanga finished third.
Estrada needed to do some kicking of his own at the end to crack the top 10 for an eighth-place finish that ultimately propelled USA to the team win.
“I was digging pretty deep and I realized when I hit the stadium that I could get another guy or two and I knew that I would hate myself if we lost by a point, so I kicked it in,” Estrada told the Daily Camera.
Team USA’s other two squads—White and Blue—finished fifth and sixth, respectively.
Geay finished in 29:02.19 for a 4:41 mile pace. Korir was right behind at 29:02.81 after the two entered the University of Colorado’s Folsom Field neck-and-neck.
“I thought I had it … I saw (Geay) make a longer turn than me, so I thought I might have him,” Korir said. “He made a mistake. I thought I was going to take advantage of it, but today was not my day.”
On the women’s side, Ethiopia edged out USA 13-14. Natosha Rogers finished third, followed by Neely Spence Gracey in fifth and Lindsay Scherf in sixth. Ethiopia went 1-2-10 for the win.
The International Team Challenge followed the 10K, which saw more than 45,000 runners, walkers and joggers cross the finish line. Aaron Pike of Savoy, Ill., won the Men’s Elite Push Rim Race with a time of 23:45.20 and Cheri Madsen of Union, Nebraska won the Women’s race with a time of 29:16.20.
The annual Memorial Day event has grown into one of the largest and most respected 10Ks in the country. The BolderBOULDER is also one of the most challenging with its 5,391 feet of elevation.