’23 Champs Mantz and Durgin Lead Team USA Squads Against Ethiopia, Eritrea, Japan, Kenya, and Mexico

BOLDERBoulder today announced the rosters for the International Pro Team Challenge. Athletes from the United States and five other countries will toe the line on Monday, Memorial Day – May 27th, competing for over $100,000 in prize money and available bonuses. The individual men’s and women’s champion will win $10,000. BOLDERBoulder, named America’s All-Time Best 10K, created the International Pro Team Challenge in 1998, and each year has hosted some of the world’s fastest professional distance runners representing their countries in a team-scored event. Since 1986, BOLDERBoulder has awarded over $4.3 million in prize money.

Both the men’s and women’s individual champions from 2023 will be returning to defend their titles. Last year Conner Mantz won an epic battle that saw him rally from fourth place over the final 800m to claim victory in the men’s race. In contrast, Emily Durgin used a strong mid-race surge to claim victory by 24 seconds over Keyan Daisy Kimeli. Kimeli is also returning to Boulder this year.

Team USA will field two men’s and two women’s teams. In last year’s team competition, the Kenyan men defeated Team USA while in the women’s scoring the USA White defeated the USA Red squad.

“We are excited to have both Connor Mantz and Emily Durgin back this year to defend their titles and are excited to welcome teams from Africa, Asia, and North America to Boulder,” stated race director Cliff Bosley.


Leading the USA men’s red team will be training partners Conner Mantz (27), Clayton Young (30), and Jared Ward (35). All three are BYU graduates and currently train together in Provo. At the Olympic Marathon Trials in February, Mantz and Young ran together throughout the race finishing just one second a part, with Mantz winning, as they claimed the top two spots and qualified for this summer’s Paris Olympic Games. Ward, who finished sixth at the 2016 Olympic marathon, will be contesting his sixth BOLDERBoulder.

The USA white team will be Sam Chelanga (39), Reed Fisher (28), and Biya Simbassa (30). This will be Chelanga’s fourth time competing at the BOULDERBoulder while Fisher and Simbassa will be making their debuts in Boulder.

The two USA squads will face strong teams from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, and Mexico.

Team Ethiopia roster – Alene Belay (23),  Milkesa Mengesha (24), Gojjah Belyineh Ayaye (27)

Mengesha has has personal bests of 12:58.28 (5,000m), 27:00.24 (10,000m), and 2:05:29 (marathon) which lines him as a solid contender for the win on Monday.

Team Eritrea roster – Yemane Hailelsellassie (26), Tesfu Tewelde (26), Tsegay Tuemay (28)

Hailelsellassie finished fifth in the 3000m Steeplechase at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. All three athletes train with the McKirdy Trained club; living and training in Arizona as they seek political asylum.

Team Kenya roster – Raymond Magut (26), Rueben Mosin Mosip (21), Josphat Kitanuni Too (37

Magut recently finished 2nd at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in Washington, D.C.; running 45:55 and should challenge Mantz for the win on Monday. Earlier this month Mosip and Too finished fourth and ninth; respectively at the Lilac Bloomsday Run in Spokane, WA.

Team Mexico roster – Orlando Cuevas (27), Abraham Daniel Hernandez (28), Ayrton Ledesma (26)

Ledesma owns a half marathon personal best of 1:03:55 from this year’s Houston Marathon.

Additionally, the U.S. Marines will field a team that includes Luke Gilman (30), Kyle King (34), and Anthony Malatesta (30).


Like the men, the USA women will be represented by two teams facing strong challenges from four international squads – Ethiopia, Japan, Kenya, and Mexico.

The Team USA red team includes defending champion Emily Durgin (30), local Boulder favorite Nell Rojas (36), and American masters marathon record holder Sara Hall (41). During, who finished 9th at the Olympic Marathon Trials in February, used a strong mid-race surge at last year’s BOLDERBoulder to win by 24 seconds over Daisy Kimeli, who also returns to Boulder this year. Rojas, a 2006 Boulder High graduate, is coming off a personal best half marathon performance (1:08:52) from earlier this year in Houston. Her father, Ric, won the inaugural race in 1979. Hall, who in addition to setting the masters’ marathon record (2:27:56) and finishing ninth at the Olympic Trials in February, holds the fifth-best U.S. marathon all-time (2:20:32) run in 2020.

Team USA white will be an all-University of Colorado alum squad that includes Makena Morley (30), Sara Vaughn (38), and Carrie Verdon (30). All three ran track and cross country under Mark Wetmore at Colorado. Morley graduated in 2020, Vaughn in 2007, and Verdon in 2017.

Team Ethiopia roster – Asnakesh Awoke (28), Birhan Mulugojam (22), Siranesh Yirga (23).

Awoke has a half marathon best of 1:07:04 from 2020 and has not raced in two years but is an athlete to keep an eye on if she has returned to her prior fitness level. Yirga comes to Boulder with strong credentials having run 1:08:13 for the half marathon earlier this year and a marathon best of 2:21:08. Last month she finished 11th at the Boston Marathon running 2:26:31

Team Japan roster – Miku Hirashima (24). Momoka Kawaguchi (25), Yumi Yoshikawa (33)

Yoshikawa ran a personal best of 2:25:20 to finish fifth at the 2023 Osaka Marathon. On May 3 Kawaguchi ran a 10,000m personal best of 31:47.81 to finish seventh at the Japanese Track & Field Championships.

Team Kenya roster – Daisy Kimeli (29), Sarah Naibei (25), Grace Loibach Nawowuna (20)

Nawowuna comes to Boulder as the strongest threat to prevent Durgin from defending her title. In 2023, Nawowuna ran 29:47.42 for 10,000m on the track. The mark is #8 all-time (only 15 other women have ever broken the 30-minute barrier). Kimeli finished second here last year and owns a half-marathon personal best of 1:08:34.

Team Mexico roster – Anahi Alvarez (22), Margarita Hernández Flores (38), Isabel Oropeza Vazquez (33)

Hernández Flores set a marathon personal best of 2:25:54 in 2023 and has qualified for the Paris Olympic Games. Alvarez finished second at the 2022 BOLDERBoulder. Just three weeks ago Oropeza Vazquez ran a personal best 2:27:57 at the Zurich Marathon.

The full entry list with detailed athlete profiles can be found here.

The women’s race tentatively starts at 11:11 AM and the men’s race at 11:22 AM. After looping through the streets of Boulder they will finish in a full stadium at the University of Colorado’s Folsom Field scheduled ahead of the Memorial Day Tribute.