2014 .US 12K Champs: Molly Huddle Dominates And Picks UP $45,000 as NAU Collegian Brian Shrader Wins Men’s Crown

By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2014 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

Editor’s note: The initial flash recap by LRC can be found here.

ALEXANDRIA, VA (16-Nov) — On a cold and cloudy morning here, Molly Huddle cemented her status as America’s top road runner, retaining her .US 12-K Championships title and winning the overall USA Road Circuit (USARC) crown with ease.  While her win was widely expected, the narrow victory by Brian Shrader of Northern Arizona University in a new American record time came as a total shock in the men’s race, out-sprinting defending champion Aaron Braun and Olympian Diego Estrada.  Huddle clocked 38:08 and Shrader 34:11.

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Molly Huddle leads Kim Conley (orange shorts), Sara Hall (black uniform) and Emily Sisson at the 2014 .US 12-K Championships (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)

Molly Huddle leads Kim Conley (orange shorts), Sara Hall (black uniform) and Emily Sisson at the 2014 .US 12-K Championships (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)

Although Huddle, 30, who lives and trains in Providence, R.I., ran slower than her world best time set here last year, she nonetheless set an honest pace right from the start at Oronoco Park next to the Potomac River.  She was the race leader at 5 km (15:58), but was followed closely by Sara Hall (15:59), Kim Conley and her Providence College training partner Emily Sisson (16:04).  Already, the race was going according to plan, she said.

“I wanted to take it out between five and 5:10 (per mile pace), and I felt OK hitting 5:10’s all the way through,” Huddle told Race Results Weekly.  “That was about as much as I could do alone.”

Unlike last year when Huddle was matching strides with marathon ace Shalane Flanagan, by 8 km (25:31) she was already alone, up by 13 seconds on Conley, Hall and Sisson who were running together.  But Huddle did not want to leave anything to chance, and continued to press: her victory meant an overall payday of $45,000 ($20,000 for the race win plus $25,000 for the overall USARC title).

“I knew Sara was in good shape, and Kim, and I knew Emily –I don’t know if anyone else knew that Emily was in that good a shape.  Ideally for me, going one-two was what we wanted to do.”

Sisson, who has NCAA eligibility left for both the 2015 indoor and outdoor seasons, began to ease away from Conley and Hall.  Huddle clipped through 10-K in 31:57, with Sisson 10 seconds back and Conley and Hall both at 32:23.  Huddle, whose long season began with an indoor 5000m back in early March, upped her tempo in the final two kilometers to win in 38:08.  Sisson came home second (38:21) followed by Conley (38:42) and Hall (38:48).

With today’s victory, Huddle became the first-ever American woman to claim four national road running titles in one year, part of a dream season where she also won the national 5000m title, broke her own American record at that distance (14:42.64), ran the world-leading time for 5000m indoors (15:13.86), set the American 10 km road running record for an all-women’s race (31:37), and ran the fastest half-marathon by an American woman this year (1:09:04).  For grins, she also ran the second-fastest mile in the world for 2014: 4:26.84.

“I’m very fortunate,” Huddle said of her best-ever season.  “I mean, even just a season where you don’t get hurt or sick or anything is a lucky season.  So, to tick off all the PR’s I was hoping to run, then a few big road wins I wasn’t expecting, was just really great.  I hope I can take this momentum into next year.”


 Brian Shrader winning his first USA road running title at the 2014 .US 12-K Championships in an American record 34:11  (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)

Brian Shrader winning his first USA road running title at the 2014 .US 12-K Championships in an American record 34:11 (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)

The men’s race had only one leader for 99% of the distance: defending champion Aaron Braun.  The 27 year-old from Alamosa, Colo., was the strongest athlete in the field, and everyone else was content to let him set the pace.

“The first few miles were a little slower than I wanted it to be,” Braun told Race Results Weekly.  “I wanted it to be, like, 4:35/4:40.  But, that’s where I felt most comfortable.”

Wearing a warm hat to fight off the cold, Braun towed a huge lead pack of 21 men through the 5 km mark in 14:37.  To Braun’s right, wearing a white “NAU” singlet, was Shrader, along with Mexican Olympian (now a USA citizen), Diego Estrada, and USARC points leader Christo Landry among others.  Off of a 4:45 first mile, which is uphill, Braun was slowly ramping up the pace to whittle down the lead pack.

“If someone had been kind of running with me, maybe I could have run a little faster,” Braun explained.  “But, I didn’t want to be too restless when I was the only one in front.”

Remarkably, 13 men were still in contention at 8 km, despite a very honest split of 23:11.  Braun wasn’t paying attention to any one in particular, but was watching the clock.  He needed to make the race faster and burn off as many people as possible before the final kilometer.

“The fourth mile was, like, 4:25, and after that I was like, hopefully that will do a little damage.  It didn’t seem to do as much as I thought it would,” Braun lamented.

Shrader had no particular plan. He was just trying to stay with the leaders on the long final straightaway on South Union Street before the finish.  All he knew was that he had the fitness to contend.

“I knew I was in good shape,” he told Race Results Weekly.  “I tried to stick my nose in it and I got it in the end.”

In the final 200 meters, Shrader pulled away easily from Braun and Estrada to win in a new USA record of 31:11 (34:10.1).  Estrada got the best of Braun to finish second (34:12), and Braun got third (34:14).

“I’m really speechless,” a stunned Shrader said right after his victory.

Because he has NCAA eligibility remaining, Shrader can’t accept the full $20,000 in prize money and still compete for Northern Arizona on the track in the spring.  Under present NCAA rules, he is only able to accept prize money up to the expenses he incurred to participate in the race (the same applies to Emily Sisson in the women’s race).

Finishing back in 8th place was Christo Landry who won the overall USARC points title (he had an insurmountable lead prior to the start).  Looking slightly deflated, he was nonetheless happy to take the overall crown and the $25,000 season-ending bonus.

“I’m happy with it,” he told Race Results Weekly.  “I ran the same time as last year and I’m four places back!  It’s nice to meet one of your goals going into the season.  I’m very happy with this year.”

LRC addition:

The USATF press release also had a quote from Shrader where he said, “I’m pretty speechless. I just tried to stay in contention with guys like Diego and Aaron. I think I just got lucky at the end. I have indoor eligibility left (at Northern Arizona), so that’s what is next for me. I’ve never even made NCAA Outdoors before, so I’m still kind of in shock about today. I haven’t won a race in a while. Never run a 10K or a 12K before.”

Women’s Elite Results:

Div Rank
1 Molly Huddle 18 00:38:07 05:07 Providence, RI 30 F Female 1
2 Emily Sisson 43 00:38:20 05:09 Providence, RI 23 F Female 2
3 Kim Conley 9 00:38:41 05:12 West Sacramento, CA 28 F Female 3
4 Sara Hall 17 00:38:47 05:13 Flagstaff, AZ 31 F Female 4
5 Elaina Balouris 1 00:39:02 05:14 Brighton, MA 22 F Female 5
6 Emily Infeld 19 00:39:12 05:16 Concord, MA 24 F Female 6
7 Juliet Bottorff 5 00:39:28 05:18 Brighton, MA 23 F Female 7
8 Alexi Pappas 34 00:39:49 05:21 Eugene, OR 24 F Female 8
9 Brianne Nelson 32 00:39:50 05:21 Golden, CO 34 F Female 9
10 Kellyn Johnson 20 00:39:53 05:21 Flagstaff, AZ 28 F Female 10
11 Alisha Williams 53 00:39:59 05:22 Colorado Springs, CO 32 F Female 11
12 Rachel Ward 52 00:40:03 05:23 Charlottesville, VA 25 F Female 12
13 Laura Batterink 2 00:40:18 05:25 Evanston, IL 30 F Female 13
14 Jen Rhines 38 00:40:30 05:26 Boston, MA 40 F Female 14
15 Frances Koons 22 00:40:36 05:27 Laurel, MD 28 F Female 15
16 Janet Bawcom 4 00:40:39 05:28 Flagstaff, AZ 36 F Female 16
17 Katie Matthews 25 00:40:41 05:28 Brighton, MA 23 F Female 17
18 Sarah Pagano 33 00:40:47 05:29 Brighton, MA 23 F Female 18
19 Megan Goethals 15 00:41:10 05:32 Rochester, MI 22 F Female 19
20 Olivia Mickle 29 00:41:24 05:34 Lake Oswego, OR 23 F Female 20
21 Kristin Swisher 48 00:41:39 05:36 McKinney/Mckinney, TX 31 F Female 21
22 Alexa Rogers 40 00:42:11 05:40 Boulder, CO 25 F Female 22
23 Katie Kellner 21 00:43:42 05:52 Rochester Hills, MI 23 F Female 23

Men’s Elite Results:

Div Rank
1 Brian Shrader 42 00:34:10 04:35 Flagstaff, AZ 23 M Male 1
2 Diego Estrada 13 00:34:11 04:35 Flagstaff, AZ 24 M Male 2
3 Aaron Braun 6 00:34:13 04:36 Alamosa, CO 27 M Male 3
4 Jared Ward 51 00:34:15 04:36 Provo, UT 26 M Male 4
5 Girma Mecheso 27 00:34:16 04:36 West Chester, PA 26 M Male 5
6 Parker Stinson 46 00:34:18 04:36 Eugene, OR 22 M Male 6
7 Andrew Colley 8 00:34:24 04:37 Blowing Rock, NC 23 M Male 7
8 Christo Landry 23 00:34:41 04:40 Concord, NH 28 M Male 8
9 Jim Spisak 45 00:34:44 04:40 Pittsburgh, PA 23 M Male 9
10 Scott Bauhs 3 00:34:52 04:41 San Luis Obispo, CA 28 M Male 10
11 Trevor Dunbar 12 00:34:54 04:41 Eugene, OR 23 M Male 11
12 Jonathan Peterson 36 00:34:55 04:41 Minneapolis, MN 25 M Male 12
13 Mark Parrish 35 00:35:03 04:42 Tampa, FL 22 M Male 13
14 Brett Gotcher 16 00:35:04 04:43 Aptos, CA 30 M Male 14
15 Joseph Moore 31 00:35:15 04:44 Manhattan, KS 30 M Male 15
16 Donnie Cowart 10 00:35:18 04:45 Winston Salem, NC 29 M Male 16
17 Sean Quigley 37 00:35:26 04:46 Lafayette, CO 29 M Male 17
18 Scott Smith 44 00:35:34 04:47 Oklahoma City, OK 28 M Male 18
19 Devin Monson 30 00:35:45 04:48 Austin, TX 24 M Male 19
20 Zach Ripley 39 00:35:48 04:48 Grand Rapids, MI 26 M Male 20
21 Ahmed Osman 1032 00:35:58 04:50 Flagstaff, AZ 26 M Male 21
22 Tyler McCandless 26 00:35:59 04:50 Boulder, CO 28 M Male 22
23 Julian Saad 41 00:36:02 04:50 Providence, RI 23 M Male 23
24 Lucas Meyer 28 00:36:35 04:55 Washington, DC 31 M Male 24