Sgt. Emmanuel Bor led the Army men’s team to gold in the Armed Forces Cross Country Championship Feb. 2 and said he was motivated by running with his younger brother and Olympian, Staff Sgt. Hillary Bor, who finished third.
“He was pushing most of the time,” Emmanuel said of his brother. “We help each other out a lot.”
Air Force 1st Lt. Hannah Everson took first place for military women, despite Army winning the women's team competition for the fifth consecutive year, and the men’s team championship for the seventh straight year.
The armed forces championship was run concurrently with the 2019 USA Track and Field Cross Country Championships at Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee and the top five times of the day were placed by Soldiers or Army veterans, despite many professional runners competing.
Men’s National Championship
Former Army Spc. Shadrack Kipchircher edged past Emmanuel Bor in the final stretch of the men’s 10K race to win the national title with a time of 28:53. Bor, who had been jostling back and forth for the lead, finished just one second behind with a personal best of 28:54.
“Shadrack was sitting behind me most of the time,” Bor said, "and when he made that last move, I followed him… he just had a slight edge at the finish line.”
Army teammate Sgt. Leonard Korir, who had won the cross country championship last year, came in third this year with a time of 28:56. Hillary Bor finished fourth overall at 28:57. Former Army Reserve Soldier Stanley Kobenei finished fifth with a time of 29:05.
Korir and the Bor brothers are members of the Army World Class Athlete Program at Fort Carson, Colorado, and they still train together often with former teammates Kipchirchir and Kobenei. The five ran the entire race together Saturday and by the 8th kilometer, they had pulled away from the rest of the competition.
Army coach Col. Liam Collins said the race was relatively determined by the 8K marker, and the winner was just a matter of who among the leading five would have the strongest kick at the end.
The Bor brothers said they have learned a lot from outgoing coach Collins, a Special Forces officer who now serves as director of the Modern Warfare Institute at West Point, New York. Collins plans to retire from the Army this summer.
“He inspires me a lot … He has done a lot for me,” Emmanuel said about Collins.
Emmanuel said he and Hillary grew up in Kenya running several miles to school and back barefoot.
Hillary said while he enjoys running with Emmanuel and his other WCAP brother Sgt. Julius Bor, cross country is actually not his best sport. Steeplechase is his specialty and at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, he finished 7th in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. He said he hopes to compete in steeplechase at the World Military Games this October in China and the Olympics next year in Japan.
Emmanuel said he hopes to compete in the 1,500-meter and 5,000-meter races in both China and Japan.
Korir’s best 10K time was 27:20.18 on Aug. 4, 2017 in London when he took 12th in the IATF 10,000-meter race. He finished 14th in the 10K at the 2016 Olympics in Rio with a time of 27:35.
Everson from the U.S. Air Force Academy was the first military woman across the finish line with a time of 34:20. She finished 15th overall in the women’s USATF Cross Country Championship.
The next military finisher was two-time Army Ten-Miler champion Spc. Susan Tanui from Fort Carson with a time of 36:01.
Third for the armed forces was Army 1st Lt. Jennifer Hannigan from Fort Lee, Va., with a time of 38:05.
Marine Corps 1st Lt. Lindsay Carrick from Quantico, Virginia, took fourth place with a time of 38:19. The top Navy finisher was Lt. Katherin Irgens from the University of Washington’s Navy ROTC program in Seattle. She finished in fifth place with a time of 38:50.
The team standings are determined by the placement of the first four women runners from each of the services. Army Maj. Kelly Calway from Fort Myer, Virginia, finished sixth with a time of 39:01 and Army Sgt. Ester Spradling from Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, finished seventh with a time of 39:30, and it helped put Army in first place with 18 points.
The Navy and Air Force both ended up with 44 points, and competition rules call for a tie to be broken by the fifth runners from each service. The Coast Guard's Stephanie Irizary on the Navy Team beat out Air Force's Capt. Megan Binkley to give the Navy second place.
The Marines came in fourth with 51 points.
The men's team standings were determined by the top five finishers from each service. The Army men's team finished first with 15 points, followed by the Navy in second place with 73 points.
The Air Force team came in third place with a score of 75 and the Marine Corps finished fourth with a score of 77.