Two of top three from 2022 Freihofer’s Run for Women 5k back for Saturday’s Albany race

Allie Kieffer crosses the finish line in second place at the 2022 Freihofer’s Run for Women 5k in Albany. (Gazette file photo)

Allie Kieffer crosses the finish line in second place at the 2022 Freihofer’s Run for Women 5k in Albany. (Gazette file photo)

ALBANY — The defending champ won’t be back, but the next two finishers from the 2022 Freihofer’s Run for Women 5k are returning.

By default, that makes 35-year-old Allie Kieffer of Austin, Texas, the favorite on paper for Saturday’s Freihofer’s Run, which will begin at 9 a.m.

Kieffer was second behind Allie Ostrander last year, posting a 16:15 that was just seven seconds faster than Cleo Boyd, who is also signed up for Saturday’s race.

A 2:28 marathoner, Kieffer ran 15:52 to win the PUL5k (Podium Under Lights) in London last year and also was third in the USATF Half Marathon Championships in 2022.

She is among the elite field for Freihofer’s with strong marathon background.

That group includes 28-year-old Tristin Van Ord of Bowling Rock, North Carolina, who was the top American while finishing fourth overall at the Houston Marathon in January with a time of 2:27:07.

She ran a 15:42.24 for 5k at a USATF invitational last year.

Also among the marathoners, 29-year-old Anne-Marie Blaney of Rochester, Michigan, ran a 2:31:32 at Boston in April, and 29-year-old Olivia Pratt of Auburn Hills, Michigan, ran a 2:34:22 at Chicago last fall to qualify for the 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials.

Blaney and Pratt are both members of the Hansons-Brooks Original Distance Project, the Michigan-based program designed to help post-collegiate runners sustain an elite running career.

Maegan Krifchin is another Freihofer’s runner with strong marathon credentials, including a 2:29:21 at the California International Marathon last year and a 2:30 and 2:32 this year at Houston and Boston, respectively.

The Freihofer’s field includes a wide range of runners with sub-16:00 5k personal records, including Marielle Hall (15:20), who competed for the U.S. in the 10k at the 2016 Summer Olympics, Jessie Cardin (15:55) and Boyd (15:56).

Some of the top runners with Capital Region tied include Karen-Bertasso-Hughes, a Scotia-Glenville High School and Union College graduate who was 12th last year in 17:50; Elizabeth Debole (nee Maloy) of Albany, who starred at Holy Names and Georgetown and ran a 17:55 at Freihofer’s last year; and Diane Ryan of Malta, who was the top masters finisher last year with a time of 18:38.

Cara Udvadia (nee Sherman), who starred at Mohonasen and UAlbany, comes into Freihofer’s with a 16:35 5k PR, and the field also includes Amanda Chambers (Colonie), a graduate student at UAlbany who has been running PRs for the Great Danes, and Olivia Lomascolo (Shenendehowa), a recent Siena grad who is a five-time MAAC champion and holds school records in six track and cross country distances.

Online registration for Freihofer’s is closed, but runners can sign up in person at the Health and Fitness Expo at Russell Sage College from noon to 7 p.m. on Friday.

Contact Mike MacAdam at [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @Mike_MacAdam.

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