The last time he came to the Quad-City Times Bix 7, Christo Landry seemed to be in perfect position.
He and Sean Quigley were in close proximity to one another coming into the final quarter mile. Unfortunately, it was Quigley who pulled away down the stretch to win by five seconds in that 2014 race.
Landry is hoping to rectify that situation on July 29.
The former William & Mary runner is among the headliners in the men’s elite field for the 43rd annual Bix 7, which will serve as the U.S. championship race for seven miles for the fifth time.
Landry, 31, also is the only runner in the men’s elite field who has ever run the Bix 7. He finished 10th in 2011 in a strong international field and second in an all-American race in 2014.
The women’s elite field includes three Bix 7 veterans — Lindsay Scherf, who was fifth in 2014; Sarah Pease, who was 15th in 2014; and Aliphine Tuliamuk, who was fifth in 2015.
Landry, who now lives and trains in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has emerged as one of the top road racers in the U.S. the past few years and is having another good year. He won the Gasparilla Classic in Tampa, Florida, in early March and took second in the U.S. 25k championships and was third in the half-marathon championships.
Over the past three years, he has won U.S. championships at 25k (twice), 10 miles, 10k and the half-marathon.
He currently ranks fourth in the point standings on the U.S.A. Track and Field running circuit. The final points leader receives a $20,000 bonus.
His chief competition should come from Emmanuel Bor and Sam Chelanga, a pair of Kenya natives who ran collegiately in this country, have become American citizens and now run out of Colorado Springs, Colorado; Jonathan Grey of Louisville, Colorado; Luke Puskreda of Eugene, Oregon; and Biya Simbassa, an Ethiopia native who lives in Minneapolis.
Chelanga finished third earlier this week in the prestigious Peachtree Classic 10k in Atlanta and is second in the USATF standings, two spots ahead of Landry.
Puskedra, who just missed making the U.S. Olympic team in the marathon last year, was ninth in the Boston Marathon last spring.
Tuliamuk, another Kenya native who has gained American citizenship, should be one of the women’s favorites after winning the U.S. cross country and 10k championships this year and finishing second in the U.S. half-marathon championships and the Freihofer’s Run for Women 5k. She was the U.S. champion at 5k and 20k last year and is No. 1 in the USATF women's point standings.
Her stiffest competition may come from Marielle Hall of Mount Laurel, N.J., and a pair of Oregon runners, Jordan Hasay and Tara Welling.
Hall is the only Olympian among the elite athletes. She ran the 10,000 meters at the Rio games last year, finishing 33rd.
Hasay is the reigning U.S. champion in the 15k and also was the champion at 10 miles last year. Welling won the U.S. 15k title and the Los Angeles Rock N Roll Half-marathon in 2016. Hasay ranks third in the current USATF standings, Welling sixth.
This will mark the fifth time that the Bix 7 has been limited to U.S. runners. It also served as the American championship race in 2002 and 2009, when it was won by Olympic silver medalist Meb Keflezighi, and again in 2010 and 2014.
Keflezighi, now 42 and essentially retired from highly competitive running, had been expected to run in the Bix 7 for the 10th time. However, he has family obligations that will keep him out of the country for much of the summer and has told Bix 7 officials he will not be able to run what has become one of his favorite races.