Amanda Vestri and Ryan Ford took the short drive from winter training camp in Tallahassee to Gainesville for the Jimmy Carnes Indoor Track Invitational. Both athletes competed in the 3,000m as a way to get an under-distance tune-up effort in before next week’s US Cross Country Championships. Amanda came away with a dominating win, personal best, and ZAP record, running 9:03. Ryan finished a narrow 2nd (2/10 off the win) in a personal best of 7:53.
One year ago, Ryan ran a 3k a week before his strong 12th place showing at the US Cross Country Championships and he ran 8:05. This year he traded lead with an athlete from Florida State throughout and had the lead at the bell before being nipped at the tape, 7:53.54 to 7:53.77.
In the women’s race, Amanda took the lead from the gun and never looked back, winning the race by 30 seconds. She passed through the first 1k in 2:58 and hit 2k in 5:56. She slowed slightly over the final kilometer to run an unchallenged 9:03. You can find full results here, and with a Flotrack subscription you can watch the replay here.
Both athletes will be aiming for a spot on the World Cross Country team in Richmond, VA on the same course where teammate punched his Team USA ticket a year ago with is runner-up finish.
US Cross Country Preview
Amanda is coming off the heels of a red-hot start to her pro career that has seen her finish 4th at the US 10k Road Championships, 7th at the 5k Championships, and on top of the podium at the US Club Cross Country Championships. She has also run 2 personal bests and ZAP records in as many races, running 15:21 for 5k in December and 9:03 for 3k this past weekend. She will need a strong performance in Richmond to have a chance to earn her first senior World Championship team berth. The women’s 10k even begins at 2:00pm.
Amanda and Ryan will be competing at the US Cross Country Championships this coming Saturday, January 20th, in Richmond, VA. Amanda was a stand-out cross country runner at Syracuse and will be making her first US XC appearance. Ryan will be returning to the same course that saw him finish 12th a year ago as a first year pro. The top 6 finishers earn their spot to compete for the US at the World Championships at the end of March in Serbia.
The men’s race goes off after the women conclude at 2:50pm. Ryan will be looking to utilize his experience on the course from a year ago to make a run at the top 6. He is riding a strong fall of preparation where he paced the Chicago Marathon at 2:08:00 pace through 30k and won the Richmond Half Marathon in 1:03:17. He has honed his speed a bit more as he steps down to the 10k cross country distance, as evidenced by his 3k indoor track PR this weekend.