Men’s and women’s champions of the 2014 CVS Health Downtown 5k return to defend titles
Woonsocket, R.I. (September 15, 2015) — Race officials of the 2015 CVS Health Downtown 5k have announced the lineup of elite runners signed on to participate in this year’s 5k race—scheduled for Sunday, September 20. The elite field includes Olympians, as well as a number of nationally ranked runners competing for USA championship honors. With so many established runners—including a few local favorites—the CVS Health Downtown 5k is expected to be an exciting race!
This is the 26th year of the annual racing event, which has been authorized by the USA Track & Field (USATF) organization since 2002 to host the USA Men’s 5k National Championship. In 2005, the USATF granted the CVS Health Downtown 5k the opportunity to also host the USA Women’s 5k National Championship. Elite athletes may compete for both individual and team champion honors.
Amateur runners – both competitive and recreational – participate in the CVS Health Downtown 5k as well. The race is also open to wheelchair athletes and walkers.
The upcoming race includes Olympic finalist, USA National 5k champion and USA National 5k record holder Molly Huddle – women’s defender of the 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2010 CVS Health Downtown 5k races and a resident of Providence. Diego Estrada, the men’s victor of the 2014 race, will return to defend his title for a second consecutive year. Estrada lives and trains in Flagstaff, Ariz.
“The CVS Health Downtown 5k is an important way we bring to life our purpose of helping people on their path to better health to our home state of Rhode Island,” said Eileen Howard Boone, senior vice president of corporate social responsibility and philanthropy for CVS Health. “There’s something very special about hosting an event that includes Olympians and professional athletes racing through the streets of Providence for a national championship while local athletes participate at their own level of competition – it’s a day of fun for all participants.”
Charlie Breagy, race director of the CVS Health Downtown 5k, said, “Once again we have succeeded in bringing some of the most notable runners from across the country to the streets of Providence. The women’s race provides a classic match-up between USA 5000 meters record holder Molly Huddle and USA 10,000 meters record holder Shalane Flanagan. Both are in great form and Molly is bidding for a record-breaking fifth victory in the race. They are joined by the USATF Champion Nicole Tully and NCAA Champion Emily Sisson.
Breagy added, “In the men’s race, we are proud to have two of the six elite U.S. runners who have run under 13 minutes for the national 5k: Chris Solinsky and Dathan Ritzenhein. They are joined by Sam Chelanga, who is in top shape, as well as defending champion Diego Estrada and the runner up of last year’s race German Fernandez. The overall talent secured for this year’s national 5k championship is some of the best we’ve ever had! A stellar job by Jim Harvey – elite athlete coordinator of the CVS Health Downtown 5k!”
Some of the elite men’s runners slated to run in the 2015 CVS Health Downtown 5k include:
Diego Estrada returns as the defending champion from last year’s CVS Health Downtown 5k. As a first-time runner in the race, Estrada finished in first place in 13:46.4. Estrada is a graduate of Northern Arizona University and lives and trains in Flagstaff, Ariz. He is a member of the Mammoth Track Club and is coached by Joe Vigil. He has personal records of 7:47.77 for 3000m and 1:00:51 for half marathon.
Dathan Ritzenhein is a three-time Olympian and three-time national cross-country champion. His marathon personal record of 2:07.47, set at the 2012 Chicago Marathon, makes him the third fastest American in history. Ritzenhein previously held the American record for the 5000m at 12:56.27. He is one of six U.S. athletes to have run a 5k in under 13 minutes and is a graduate of the University of Colorado.
Chris Solinsky had a record year in 2010. He became the first non-African to break 27 minutes in the 10k, running 26:59.60 at the Payton Jordan meet at Stanford University, breaking the American record by fourteen seconds. Later that summer, Solinsky went on to run the 5k at the GN Galan event in Stockholm, Sweden with a personal record of 12:55.53. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Solinsky was a five-time NCAA Champion. He followed his coach Jerry Schumacher to Portland, Ore., to pursue his professional career.
Sam Chelanga is a four-time NCAA champion and set the collegiate record in the 10,000m of 27:08.49. Chelanga moved to the United States from Kenya in September 2006 and recently became a U.S. citizen. A graduate of Liberty University, Chelanga lives and trains in Tuscan, Ariz., and is coached by James Li. This year will be his debut at the CVS Health Downtown 5k as a U.S. citizen. Chelanga was the runner-up at the 2011 CVS Health Downtown 5k while competing in the open race.
Dan Huling placed fifth in the 3000m Steeplechase of this year’s World Championship in Beijing. His specialty, Huling’s personal best in the 3000m is 8:13.29, set in 2010. A graduate of Miami of Ohio, Huling is sponsored by Nike and coached by Robert Gary. He formerly resided in North Kingstown, R.I., and ran on the North Kingstown High School team. He has personal records of 3:37.53 for 1500m and 3:58.20 for 1 mile.
David Torrence is a graduate of the University of California-Berkeley. In 2014, he broke the 1000m American record with a time of 2:16.76. Torrence gained national attention in 2009 when he became the first man to run under four minutes in a road mile in the state of Minnesota. He lives and trains in Malibu, CA., and runs for Hoka One One. Torrence holds a personal record of 13.17 in 5000m and 1.44 in 800m.
Andrew Springer is the best high school middle distance runner in Rhode Island history. He holds every state high school record from the 1500m to the 5000m, including a 4:02.70 mile and a 9:02.92 two-mile. He graduated from Westerly High School and Georgetown University. Springer will return to the CVS Health Downtown 5k, which was his debut professional race last year. He runs for the New York/New Jersey Track Club.
Some of the elite women runners slated to run in the 2015 CVS Health Downtown 5k include:
Molly Huddle returns as a four-time defending champion of the CVS Health Downtown 5k for 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2010. If Huddle repeats her winning streak, she will set a new record of earning five crowns in the CVS Health Downtown 5k women’s category. Huddle lives and trains in Providence, R.I., and is in the best form of her career over a variety of distances on both road and track. She most recently won the national 20k title in New Haven with the 1:06.26 win. She broke her own American record last July for the 5000m with a time of 14:42.64 in the Monaco Diamond League. She holds the World Record for 12k at 37:50 in Alexandria, Va., and a personal best in the 10,000m of 30:47.49. Huddle was a finalist in the 2012 Olympic Games in London and narrowly missed a medal in the World Championship in Beijing, China a few weeks ago when placing fourth in the 10,000m.
Shalane Flanagan is an extremely versatile distance runner with multiple U.S. titles under her belt—and was the winner of the 2008 Downtown 5k. Just two weeks ago, Flanagan broke the U.S. 10k record in the Netherlands. She has run in three Olympics and is only the second American woman to ever win an Olympic medal at 10,000m— winning the bronze medal in the 2008 games. In 2012, she won the US Olympic Trials Marathon in Houston with an event-record time of 2:25:38. 2014 proved to be a phenomenal year for Flanagan—her 2:21:14 at the 2014 Berlin Marathon makes her the second fastest American woman in history at the distance. Her 2:22:02 at the 2014 Boston Marathon is the fastest time by an American woman in the race’s history. She is a two-time national champion in the women’s 5000 meters and holds American records at 3000 meters, indoor 3000 meters, indoor 5000 meters and 10,000 meters. Flanagan graduated from the University of North Carolina and lives and trains in Portland, Ore.
Nicole Tully is a graduate of Villanova University. She represented the United States at the Universiade in 2013 and was an NCAA All-American in 2011. She holds a personal record of 4:05.89 for the 1500m and 15:05.58 for the 5000m. Tully won the 2015 USATF 5000m Championship and competed for the U.S. in the World Championship in Beijing, China.
Kim Conley is a graduate of UC Davis. She made her big breakthrough when finishing in second place in the 2011 CVS Health Downtown 5k. She went on to finish third in the 2012 Olympic Trials and competed in the Olympic Games in London. She has a 5k personal record of 15.08.61 and won the U.S. 10,000m championship in 2014.
Emily Sisson is a graduate student at Providence College. This year she celebrated her final year of collegiate eligibility by winning the NCAA 5000m titles both indoors and out. In winning the Big East 5000m title, she set a new collegiate record of 15.12.22. She has a fine professional career ahead of her— which was highlighted by her 4th place finish in last year’s CVS Health Downtown 5k. An accomplished student, she was named the Scholar Female Athlete of the Year in Division I for the 2014-15 track and field season by the US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
Gabriele Grunewald gained wide attention in 2014 when she was initially disqualified as the 2014 USA Indoor Champion for the 3000m and reinstated two days after the race. She would go on to represent Team USA at the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships. Grunewald placed fourth at the 2012 Olympic Trials in the 1500m. She has personal bests of 8:42:64 for outdoor 3000m and 15:19:01 for the outdoor 5000m. Grunewald is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and resides in Minneapolis, Minn.
Additional information about the 2015 CVS Health Downtown 5k is as follows:
Overview of Races
The CVS Health Downtown 5k includes 21 different races for children, pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, including the CVS Health All Kids Can™ Inspirational event for children with physical and intellectual disabilities (youth races run from 8 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.); the Tufts Health Plan Inspirational 3k event for high school runners that incorporates a costume contest (3k begins at 12:15 p.m.); and the 5k event, which draws elite athletes, as well as amateur runners competing as individuals or on college, corporate and gym teams. Walkers and wheelchair athletes are also welcome to participate. The 5k event begins at 11:00 a.m.
Registration and Race Packet Pickup
Registration is available online through Thursday, September 17 at www.cvsdowntown5k.com.
Onsite registration and packet pickup will be available at Rhode Runner, 657 North Main Street, Providence, on Friday, September 18, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturday, September 19, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Registration and packet pickup will also be available on race morning (starting at 7:30 a.m.) at Station Park in Providence – located at the corner of Francis Street and Gaspee Street; adjacent to the Providence Place Mall and the Rhode Island State House.
For More Information
About the Downtown 5k
The Downtown 5k is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that promotes health and fitness through road racing. Proceeds from the annual race event are donated to local youth charities in Rhode Island and Southern New England.
About CVS Health
CVS/pharmacy, the retail division of CVS Health (NYSE: CVS), is America’s leading retail pharmacy with over 7,800 locations. It is the first national pharmacy to end the sale of tobacco and the first pharmacy in the nation to receive the Community Pharmacy accreditation from URAC, the leading health care accreditation organization that establishes quality standards for the health care industry. CVS/pharmacy is reinventing pharmacy to help people on their path to better health by providing the most accessible and personalized expertise, both in its stores and online at CVS.com. General information about CVS/pharmacy and CVS Health is available at www.cvshealth.com.