In A Battle of American Record Holders, Molly Huddle Sprints Away From Shalane Flanagan To Win US 10,000 Title; Emily Infeld Takes 3rd

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by LetsRun.com
June 25, 2015

EUGENE, Ore. — Running in the 10,000 for the first time at the U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships since 2009, American 5,000 record holder Molly Huddle captured her third career U.S. title tonight in 31:39.20, as she put the hammer down and sprinted away from American 10,000 record holder Salane Flanagan (2nd, 31:42.29) and Emily Infeld (3rd, 31:40.60) over the final two laps.

Even though the race began with the temperature of 91 degrees, the pace was equally hot early on as Flanagan led through nine laps. The leaders hit 1600 in 4:58 and 3200 in 10:03.70 before slowing (1st 5k in 15:55). By 6k, the race was a battle between Jerry Schumacher-coached runners (Flanagan and Infeld) and Ray Treacy-coached runners (Huddle, Amy Cragg (32:03.95, 4th) and Emily Sisson (32:28.73, 6th)). Sisson cracked first after staying with the leaders for 17 laps, followed by Cragg (cracked on 21st lap).

Late in the race, Huddle went to the lead just before 800 to go and had a slight 3-4 meter gap (she led by .47) on Flanagan and Infeld at the bell after a 72.58 penultimate lap. On the final lap, Huddle quickly opened a big lead on Flanagan and Infeld, but the intra-team battle for second was on down the backstretch as Infeld overtook Flanagan. Infeld briefly gained a step or two back on Huddle, but with 200 to go Huddle floored it and from there, it was a coronation for Huddle, who crushed Flanagan and Infeld with a 65.56-second final 400. With the team for Beijing settled, the only thing left to determine was the identity of the second-place finisher. The experienced Flanagan didn’t want to be second behind teammate Infeld, eight years her junior, and the two battled for the entire home stretch with Infeld in the lead, before Flanagan finally overtook her just before the finish line.

Results, quick thought and video interviews below.

Discuss the meet on our world famous messageboard: MB: Official Day 1 2015 USA Outdoor Live Discussion Thread.

Results *Lap by Lap splits here

Place Name Affiliation Time Heat (Pl)
1 Molly Huddle Saucony 31:39.20 1 (1)
2 Shalane Flanagan Nike / Bowerman 31:42.29 1 (2)
3 Emily Infeld Nike / Bowerman 31:42.60 1 (3)
4 Amy Hastings Brooks 32:03.95 1 (4)
5 Emily Sisson New Balance 32:28.73 1 (5)
6 Desiree Davila Hansons-Brooks 32:53.50 1 (6)
7 Liz Costello New Balance 33:06.66 1 (7)
8 Mattie Suver ASICS 33:11.43 1 (8)
9 Alexi Pappas Nike / Nike OTCE 33:14.24 1 (9)
10 Alia Gray Brooks 33:36.51 1 (10)
11 Emma Bates Boise St. 34:02.65 1 (11)
12 Sara Hall ASICS 34:03.25 1 (12)
13 Elaina Balouris Boston A A 34:03.72 1 (13)
14 Chelsea Blaase Tennessee 34:07.34 1 (14)
15 Serena Burla Mizuno / RIADHA 34:18.51 1 (15)
16 Meghan Peyton Saucony / TUSA M 34:21.44 1 (16)
17 Sarah Pagano Boston A A 34:30.72 1 (17)
18 Carrie Dimoff Bowerman T C 34:42.97 1 (18)
19 Kristin Swisher Unattached 35:11.32 1 (19)
Rachel Ward Ragged Mountain DNF 1,
Amy Van Alstine Hoka / NnAz El DNF 1,
Allison Grace Morgan Brooks DNF 1,
Katie Matthews Boston A A DNS 1,
Erin Finn Michigan DNS 1,
Molly Huddle pre-race

Molly Huddle pre-race

Quick Thought #1: The Tide Has Turned In The Huddle vs. Flanagan Rivalry

With the win tonight over Flanagan, the 30-year-old Huddle is now 3-19 lifetime against the 33-year-old Flanagan. A record like that is totally lopsided in Flanagan’s favor but the rivalry is now firmly lopsided in Huddle’s favor. How so? Well according to tilastapaja.org, Huddle lost to Flanagan the first 19 times they raced but has now won three straight.

Molly Huddle’s Win Streak Over Shalane Flanagan

Nov. 2, 2013 – NYRR Dash to the Finish Line 5-K – Huddle 1st in 15:27, Flanagan 3rd in 15:40
Nov. 11, 2013 – .US 12k – Huddle 1st in 37:50, Flanagan 2nd in 37:58
June 25, 2015 – USA 10,000 – Huddle 1st in 31:39.20, Flanagan 2nd in 31:42.29.

“That’s definitely a milestone for me,” Huddle said of beating Flanagan for the first time on the track. “She’s definitely a beast in the 10k. I knew she would make it competitive from the start so it was a good race.”

Quick Thought #2: This was a battle of attrition, pure and simple

No one fluked their way onto the team tonight. The three women who could hold on the longest in the hot weather all made the team. In the end, Huddle, Flanagan and Infeld were much better than the rest of the field, with Cragg over 20 seconds back of Infeld in fourth place.

The race played out in an exceedingly simple fashion: the leader (either Flanagan or Huddle) would grind out a lap of 77 or 78 seconds, and every few laps, the lead pack would shrink. What started as a 10-woman pack eventually shrank to eight, then six, then five and four. Finally, once Cragg dropped with just over a mile to go, the team for Beijing was all but settled and it became a more traditional championship race for the win.

Quick Thought #3: Molly Huddle is solely focused on 10k at Worlds; will likely scratch from 5k on Sunday

Huddle looked so relaxed during the race that she took splits several times near the finish line and explained after the race that she felt 31:30-32:00 pace was what it would take to narrow the field down to three or four people so those are the splits she tried to hit.

She said she was pretty confident in her kick but didn’t know if it would be as strong in the 10,000 because of the extra distance. For reference, Huddle’s final 400 in her 5,000 win last year was 62.42 (compared to 65.56 tonight) but Huddle was battling Shannon Rowbury all the way to the line in that one whereas she had no competition over the final 200 tonight.

Quick Thought #4: Emily Infeld was delighted to be going to Worlds after several trying years

Infeld’s interview was terrific and we definitely recommend you watch it if you have the time. Infeld initially joined Schumacher’s group in 2012 after finishing up her collegiate career at Georgetown where she was the 2012 NCAA indoor 3000 champ and her results in 2013 included an impressive 8:41 3,000 in Italy. But at the end of that year, she developed a sacral stress fracture and after missing most of 2014 recovering, she started training again in earnest in the fall of 2014.

It was then she learned a valuable lesson about coming back from injury and what it takes to succeed under Schumacher.

“I came back this fall and I just didn’t feel good,” Infeld said. “I didn’t feel like myself, I wasn’t running well, I didn’t know what was wrong. I really upped my mileage, was crushing training and I think I was probably overtraining a bit because I was so mad about missing so much time. And just crushing all my runs, I feel like I wasn’t easy running ever and that was a bad idea clearly because I got another sacral stress fracture in December.”

Schumacher is famous for his brutal workouts and Infeld now realizes that she needs to be careful on her easy days to be able to reap the benefits of his training. She also took her recovery from her most recent sacral stress fracture much easier and said that she didn’t even start running again until six weeks before Payton Jordan — where she ran 31:38 in her 10,000 debut. Infeld said she feels she’s only gotten stronger since then and that running 31:42 in the hot conditions tonight is a sign that she’s capable of running much faster right now.

Infeld also said she questioned whether her body was meant for running and considered giving up on the sport and perhaps going to business school. But Schumacher encouraged Infeld to stick with it by reminding her of that 8:41 3,000 — a 19-second PR at the time — and that it came after some time off following a stint at altitude that went poorly. Infeld said that Schumacher’s unwavering belief in her and the support of her teammates was what kept her going and that it “means the absolute world.”

Quick Thought #5: Emily Sisson “couldn’t ask for anything more out of this year”

Sisson said she didn’t feel great before the race and she’s “not quite there yet” in terms of hanging with the big dogs like Huddle and Flanagan. But Sisson was encouraged overall by her year and was grateful for her success, which included two NCAA titles at 5,000 meters (indoors and outdoors). She said it’s going to be a steep learning curve adjusting to a professional career but is going to try to learn as much as she can by racing in Europe this summer and hope that she’ll be in position to make the team in 2016.

 

Ray Treacy vs. Jerry Schumacher
Ray Treacy vs. Jerry Schumacher

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