GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – Less than one minute made all the difference in this year’s Fifth Third River Bank Run 25K.
Just 54 seconds was all it took for a woman to win the race within the race.
“This is my first year U.S. championship and I won it in Michigan,” Aliphine Tuliamuk-Bolton said with a cheer.
The 27-year-old from Santa Fe, New Mexico was the first runner to cross the finish line, with a final time of 1:25:24.
“The crowd was great, they were amazing. They brought me home,” Tuliamuk-Bolton said with a smile.
The top male runner, 30-year-old Christo Landry of Charlotte, North Carolina, finished at 1:15:32. While that time is about 10 minutes shorter than Tuliamuk-Bolton’s time, it was not enough to eclipse the 11 minute and 30 second head start the elite female athletes were given in the race within the race.
That’s the difference between the men and women 25K records. The men then have the next 15.5 miles to try to catch up and pass the women.
This was the second year for the race within the race. Last year, the change led to a dramatic finish, with Jared Ward catching up to Lindsey Scherf in the final 200 meters to win the race.
This year, Christo Landry kicked it into high gear around mile 13 to bridge the gap.
“Once you hit that really long straightaway, I didn’t want to be in a pack because it’s harder to break away right there. So I tried to make my hard move there and just break the race open,” he said.
While Landry took off and took the lead among the men, it wasn’t enough to catch up to Tuliamuk-Bolton. Still, he supports the race within the race.
“It’s actually great having those girls out there so that when I pulled away a bit I still had someone to run after, someone to chase and someone to work towards because when you’re out there by yourself, it’s much harder than when you have someone next to you,” said Landry.
This year’s payoff is even larger for Tuliamuk-Bolton; she gets a $2,500 bonus on top of the $7,000 she receives for winning the women’s race.
“She did a great job. Hat’s off to her,” said Landry.
There were a lot of firsts this year for the Fifth Third River Bank Run; it was also the first race for Grand Rapids’ newest mayor, Rosalynn Bliss.
***CORRECTION: In the original version of this story, 24 Hour News 8 referenced Tuliamuk-Bolton’s gun time, not her chip time, which is what the final results were based on. The error has since been fixed. ***