TOWNSHIP, Ohio – Arkansas alumnus Taylor Werner won the USATF Women’s 6K Championship on Saturday morning, posting a time of 18 minutes and 21 seconds to win the race by six seconds in downtown Canton .
“Being able to come here and have the confidence and know that I can run with these women was an amazing experience,” said Werner. “I look forward to continuing to build on this. I came here to enjoy it, and it was awesome.
In winning her first USATF title as a professional racer, Werner edged out Emily Durgin after the two separated from the lead pack with half a mile remaining in the race, after posting a split of 14:48. three miles away.
Durgin launched another push, but Werner was able to cover. Then Werner took control of the race as she passed Durgin in her race to the finish line. In the final quarter mile of the race, Werner’s closing speed left a gap for Durgin, who was second in 18:27.
“I didn’t watch a lot of road races so I really wanted to focus on myself,” Werner noted. “When we reached the hill, I saw that we were still a group and I could feel the people getting a little impatient. I was like, come on, I’m gonna be patient.
“Once I saw Emily take the step, I knew it was time to take a step. I felt really good and love the hills. I stayed with her and when we were on the descent I felt really good and went.
Elly Henes was third in 18:35 while Werner’s training partner Fiona O’Keeffe was fourth in 18:41. Another Razorback alumna, Therese Haiss, finished 15e at 7:32 p.m.
Durgin’s second place added 12 points to his lead in the USATF running circuit standings, which now totals 34 points. Werner’s victory in her first professional road race earned her 15 points and she is currently tied for second in the standings with Emily Sisson, Sara Hall, Rachel Schneider and Anna Frisbie.
Over the past two weeks, Werner has recently switched from track training to trails and bike lanes in preparation for the road race.
“I love the terrain, I love the hills and the change of pace,” said Werner. “I just enjoyed it and didn’t struggle with it at all today.”
Upcoming races for Werner include the 7-mile Bix race in downtown Davenport, Iowa on Saturday, July 24, and possibly the Falmouth Road Race in August.
“I’m increasing my distance a bit, but it will be fun to test my strength,” Werner noted.