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Trafeh, Cherobon-Bawcom win 10 Mile Titles

Janet Cherobon-Bawcom wins 10 mile title

Janet Cherobon-Bawcom wins 10 mile title

MINNEAPOLIS – (October 2, 2011) – A pair of naturalized U.S. citizens earned national titles at the USA 10 Mile Championship held in conjunction with the 13th Medtronic TC 10 Mile on Sunday morning.

Mo Trafeh, 26, a Moroccan who immigrated to the United States in 1999 and became a citizen in 2008, ran away from a large pack of contenders on the final mile of the challenging point-to-point run between downtown Minneapolis and the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul, winning his first USA 10 Mile title in 46 minutes, 46 seconds and leading five runners under 47 minutes and the more than 7,500 race finishers.

Janet Cherobon-Bawcom, a Kenyan who earned her U.S. citizenship last November, clocked 54:15 to power away from a women’s lead pack that included the defending USA 10 Mile champ Katie McGregor and 2008 Olympian Blake Russell, a former Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon winner.

Trafeh, the 2011 USA Half Marathon and 15K champion, and Cherobon-Bawcom, who won the USA 20K title last month, each earned $12,000 for their victories. Trafeh will also cash a check for an additional $10,000 as the winner of the event’s “Equalizer Bonus”, for finishing ahead of women’s champ Cherobon-Bawcom, who, with the rest of the women’s field, received a seven-minute head-start over the men.

Trafeh’s first appearance at the front of the men’s pack – when he surged to a 4:30 fourth mile after the pack passed the three-mile flag in 14:15 – came with the “Equalizer” in mind.

“To be honest,” the Duarte, Calif. resident said, “I saw, after three miles, that the pace was a little bit slow. So I tried to help the guys – to help the guys and myself – catch the first girl, because, if we kept going at that pace we would not have caught the girl.”

If Trafeh was thinking about the women in the early-going, he couldn’t help but focus on the men as the race wore on. His efforts to break Abdi Abdirahman, who won USA titles on the course in 2007 and 2009, shook off neither the three-time Olympian nor the large pack of contenders that lurked within 10-meters.

“When I was leading [later in the race], I though, man, Abdi broke away,” Trafeh said. “But, I looked back later on and I could see six or eight guys right there only ten meters behind. I was, like, no way!”

The pack, which included eventual runner-up Ben True, the 2011 USA 5K champ, and third-placer Brett Gotcher, the USA 25K runner-up in 2010, reorganized around Trafeh and Abdirahman in the eighth mile. As the men stated working their way through the fastest of the women’s racers, James Strang took over as pace-maker before giving way to a long pull at the front by 2011 USA 10K champion Ed Moran.

It was Trafeh’s move in the final mile that proved decisive, however. He finally turned the pack into a string of chasers that laced its way through the top women. At nine and a half miles, Trafeh caught the lead woman, Cherobon-Bawcom, and dashed for home.

True ran 46:48 for second; Gotcher followed next in 46:51.

Cherobon-Bawcom admitted she and the rest of the women may have kept the men in the Equalizer race with their conservative early pace.

“I thought it might be a really long day just running by myself,” the Rome. Ga. resident said. “Nobody really wanted to push the pace, so I guess I just waited.”

When the lead women’s pack of five runners passed the half-way point in 27:26, however, they’d already given up more than four minutes of their head-start to the men. After the seven mile mark, Cherobon-Bawcom broke away from runner-up Julie Culley, who clocked 54:28, and Russell, putting the women’s title in her hands, if not the Equalizer.

Defending champ and local favorite McGregor was fourth in 55:00.

“I thought the men might even catch me at nine miles, because we went out way too slow,” Cherobon-Bawcom admitted. “Probably, we had to run 5:20s to beat them.”

The 33-year-olds’ math is pretty good – it would have taken a women running slightly under 5:23 per mile to maintain their margin.

Like many in the event, both Trafeh and Cherobon-Bawcom are pointing to the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials for their next major race.

The USA 10 Mile Championships were also the final stop for the men on the 2011 USA Running Circuit with True taking the grand prix title with 60 points, worth $6000. Aaron Braun (Flagstaff, Ariz.) finished second in the standings with 50 points ($4000) and Trafeh took third with 45 points ($2500).

With one race (USA Women’s 10K) remaining on the women’s USARC, Cherobon-Bawcom is tied for first in the women’s standings with Jen Rhines (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) with 30 points each.

13th Medtronic TC 10 Mile: USA Men & Women’s Championships
Minneapolis, MN, October 2, 2011

1) Mo Trafeh (CA), 46:46, $22,000*
2) Ben True (NH), 46:48, $7500
3) Brett Gotcher (AZ), 46:51, $5000
4) Ed Moran (VA), 46:51, $2000
5) James Strang (CO), 46:54, $1500
6) Abdi Abdirahman (AZ), 47:00, $750
7) Chris Barnicle (MA), 47:06, $500
8) Aaron Braun (AZ), 47:10, $275
9) Scott Smith (AZ), 47:12, $250
10) Ryan Vail (CO), 47:13, $225

*includes $10,000 Equalizer Bonus as first runner across the finish line

1) Janet Cherobon-Bawcom (GA), 54:15, $12,000
2) Julie Culley (NJ), 54:28, $7500
3) Blake Russell (CA), 54:44, $5000
4) Katie McGregor (MN), 55:00, $2000
5) Sarah Porter (NC), 55:01, $1500
6) Meghan Armstrong Peyton (MN), 55:09, $750
7) Molly Pritz (MI), 55:12, $500
8) Serena Burla (MO), 55:18, $275
9) Dot McMahan (MI), 55:39, $250
10) Kristen Fryburg-Zaitz (CO), 55:39, $225