Huddle shatters American record to finish sixth in Rio 10,000m

Elmira native and current USATF Niagara member Molly Huddle (Providence, R.I.) ran a courageous race in today’s Olympic 10,000m finals in Rio resulting in a new American record time of 30:13.17 and a sixth place finish in the fastest women’s 10,000m race of all-time.  
By the 1600m mark she was on the tail-end of an eight women group that broke free of the rest of the 37 woman field and set off on world record pace.  The group passed the 1600m mark in 4:46, 3000m in 8:52.  By the 4000m Huddle had fallen off the top seven by about 10m as the leaders continued on world record pace. Just before the half way point she moved into seventh passing the 5000m mark in 14:57; just 15 seconds off her 5,000m American record.
“I knew the race would be hard from the gun, running against 30:00 women, I knew I couldn’t just hope to hang with them, so I just had to hang as long as I could, and if it got to be too much i’d maintain my best pace, offered Huddle after the race.
Huddle continued to look strong over the second half of the race, lapping many of her competitors but staying focused on the task at hand. She was well under American record pace over the final laps, utilizing Kenya’s Betsy Saina as a pacemaker. Huddle crushed the previous American record of 30:22.22 set by Shalane Flanagan at the 2008 Beijing Olympics when she won the bronze medal.  Huddle’s previous career best was 30:47.59 from 2014.  Her time was faster than six of the seven previous Olympic champions in the event that was first contested in 1988.
“Setting the American record is amazing,” stated Huddle. “I feel really satisfied. Coming in, I said 30:20 is what you would need for a medal and it turns out you needed to be much faster.”
Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana shattered the world record by over 14 seconds running 29:17.45. Vivian Cheruiyot ran 29:32.53 ( #3 time ever) to finish second and defending champion Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia finished third running 29:42.56 (#4 time ever).  Kenya’s Alice Nawowuna and Besty Saina finished fourth and fifth, respectively running 29:53.51 (#5 time ever) and 30:07.78.  
Huddle is a 2002 graduate of Notre Dame High School in Elmira, where she won multiple state championships in cross country and track. She went on to earn all-America honors 10 times at the University of Notre Dame before starting her professional career in 2007.  She currently lives in Providence, Rhode Island where she is coached by Ray Tracey, a former Irish distance running star in the 70s and 80s.