Emily Sisson Comes Up 1 Second Short of American Half Marathon Record in Valencia

By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2020 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

(06-Dec) — While Kenyan Kibiwott Kandie‘s pending world half-marathon record of 57:32 at today’s Valencia Half-Marathon deserves the headlines, America’s Emily Sisson nearly set a record of her own.  The 29-year-old Team New Balance star who ran for Providence College had targeted Molly Huddle’s absolute American record of 1:07:25, but fell achingly short by just one second.

“Definitely bittersweet,” Sisson told Race Results Weekly via text message just after exiting drug testing in Valencia this morning.  “Was disappointed to fall short of my goal but trying to keep things in perspective.”

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Sisson went out at slightly over American record pace, splitting 10-kilometers in 32:02 (1:07:35 pace).  Maintaining that tempo, she ran 16:02 for the next 5-K, but picked it up in the final quarter of the race.  With the wind at her back, from 15-K to 20-K, she ran a 15:58, putting her on 67:33 pace at 20k, then did everything she could to shave seconds in the final 1097 meters.  Sprinting down the light blue carpet on the finish straight in the Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, she stopped the clock at 1:07:26.

“Being able to race again was incredible and the Valencia did a wonderful job putting on this event,” she said.

This is the second time that Sisson has come close to Huddle’s record.  In Houston in January, 2019, she clocked 1:07:30 at the Aramco Houston Half-Marathon.  She is now the only American woman to have run 1:07:30 or better twice during a career.

Sisson has every reason to be optimistic about next year.  She already has her Tokyo Olympic 10,000m qualifying mark of 30:49.57 set at Stanford University in 2019, and finished second, fourth, and third, respectively, in the last three USATF 10,000m Championship races.  She had dropped out of the Olympic Trials Marathon last February after running with the leaders through the first half of the race.

“I’m glad I could end 2020 with a solid performance,” Sisson concluded.  “Looking forward to building off this heading into the new Olympic year.”

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