Aliphine Tuliamuk ran her own race Saturday at the Quad-City Times Bix 7 and there wasn’t a thing the rest of the women’s field could do to stop her.
Tuliamuk continued her recent domination on the roads, winning her seventh national championship race since becoming a United States citizen nearly 15 months ago by winning the national 7-mile championship at the Bix 7.
The 28-year old from Santa Fe, New Mexico, completed the seven-mile course through the streets of Davenport in 36 minutes, 30 seconds to finish 1:04 in front of runner-up Marielle Hall of Mount Laurel, New Jersey.
“It was a great day to run. I felt ready. I felt prepared. I was able to run under 37 which is a personal record for me at seven miles. I couldn’t be happier,’’ said Tuliamuk, whose effort followed her winning work in the 10k national final at the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta on July 4.
Tuliamuk earned $12,500 for winning the Bix 7, part of a $50,000 purse distributed equally to top-10 finishers in the men’s and women’s divisions.
On Saturday she claimed the top prize with a solid start and an even more dominating finish as she improved on her fifth-place finish in her Bix 7 debut in 2015.
“About halfway through the race near the turnaround I looked up and it seemed like she was gone,’’ Hall said. “I ran in a field she was in a few weeks ago and she just destroyed me so the plan was to hang as close to her as I could here and look for a chance at the end. She didn’t give me that chance.’’
Sara Hall of Redding, California, knows the feeling, edging Becky Wade of Louisville, Colorado and Chelsea Blaase of St. Joseph, Illinois by 26 seconds to finish third Saturday in 37:53.
Mostly, she appreciates the pace that Tuliamuk is setting for elite women’s runners in the United States.
“Aliphine is raising the bar for all of us,’’ Sara Hall said. “She has had a great year and she ran another great race today. The hills, they don’t bother her at all. If anything, they only helped her in this race.’’
Running her first Bix 7 since 2014, Sara Hall found the hills in the second half of the race to be a challenge.
“It creates a tough course, which is part of the challenge we all welcome,’’ she said. “It separated us today, but the competition is good for all of us.’’
Marielle Hall found that to be the case, too.
“These are the races that will make us better,’’ she said. “I’m excited about that. To be out there on the course, getting the support we did from the crowd, it keeps you motivated and moving forward.’’
Tuliamuk believes her previous Bix 7 experience played a role in the success she enjoyed Saturday.
“I felt comfortable on the course. I felt like I knew it and was prepared for it,’’ she said. “The last time, I pushed myself hard down the hill (at around the six-mile mark) and when I made the turn (onto 3rd Street), I didn’t realize the finish line was still a distance away. I had nothing left.’’
Tuliamuk continued to push as she ran down the Brady Street hill, unaware of how big a lead she had against the rest of the women’s field, but saved plenty of energy for the final blocks of the race.
“Running this before made a difference,’’ Tuliamuk said. “It is a tough, challenging course and I think they may have grown a couple more hills since I was here the last time. It seemed like that anyway.’’
Tuliamuk found motivation in adding to her collection of American championships.
“I am so grateful for the opportunity to compete,’’ she said. “I work to be as good as I can be and I was blessed to run another good race and win a seventh national championship at the Bix 7. It worked out the way I hoped it would.’’