Taylor Werner wins USATF 6km Championship

Pig Trail Nation

Former Razorback Taylor Werner (right) won the USATF 6km Championship on Saturday in Canton, Ohio. (photo courtesy of University of Arkansas)

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September 20 2021 05:00 am

CANTON, Ohio — Arkansas alum Taylor Werner claimed the USATF Women’s 6km Championship on Saturday morning, posting a time of 18 minutes, 21 seconds to win the race by six seconds in downtown Canton.

“To be able to come out here, have confidence, and know that I can run with these women it was an incredible experience,” said Werner. “I can’t wait to keep building on this. I came out here to enjoy it, and it was awesome.”

In winning her first USATF title as a professional runner, Werner outkicked Emily Durgin after both broke away from the lead pack with half a mile remaining in the race, after posting a split of 14:48 at three miles.

Durgin put in another surge, but Werner was able to cover. Then Werner took control of the race as she pushed past Durgin in her drive to the finish line. Over the final quarter mile of the race Werner’s closing speed put a gap on Durgin, who placed second in 18:27.

“I haven’t watched many road races, so I really wanted to focus on myself,” noted Werner. “When we hit the hill, I saw there was still a pack of us, and I could feel people getting a bit impatient. I was like, you go ahead, I’m going to be patient.

“Once I saw Emily make the move, though, I knew this was the time to make a move. I felt really good, and I love hills. I stuck with her and when we were on the downhill, I felt really good and went for it.”

Elly Henes finished third in 18:35 while Werner’s training partner, Fiona O’Keeffe, placed fourth in 18:41. Another Razorback alum, Therese Haiss, finished 15th in 19:32.

Durgin’s runner-up finish added 12 points to her USATF Running Circuit standings lead, which now totals 34 points. Werner’s victory in her first pro road race supplied her with 15 points and she is currently tied for second in the standings with Emily Sisson, Sara Hall, Rachel Schneider, and Anna Frisbie.

Of the past couple of weeks Werner recently transitioned from training on the track to trails and bike paths in preparation for the road race.  

“I love terrain, I love hills and the switch of pace,” said Werner. “I just enjoyed it and didn’t struggle with it at all today.”

Upcoming races for Werner include the Bix 7-mile race in downtown Davenport, Iowa, next Saturday, July 24, and possibly the Falmouth Road Race in August.

“I’m upping my distance a bit, but it will be fun to test my strength,” noted Werner.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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