Molly Huddle was the queen of running in 2014, and our pick for women’s runner of the year.
The American record holder in the 5,000m, Huddle showed that her range extends at least another 10 miles, evidenced by a third-place finish in her 13.1-mile debut at the NYC Half Marathon in March, where she crossed the finish line in 1:09:04.
A month later in Boston, Huddle came from behind and outkicked Ethiopia’s Mamitu Daska to break the tape a the B.A.A. 5K in 15:12, tying the event record. The Providence-based Olympian went on to set an impressive 10,000m personal best at the Payton Jordan Invitational in May, clocking 30:47.59, the second-fastest U.S. time at that distance behind Shalane Flanagan. In that race, Huddle placed second behind Kenyan Sally Kipyego, who also got the best of her at the NYC Half.
Huddle kept her hot streak going into summer, as the Notre Dame graduate ran away with a win at the Oakley New York Mini 10K on June 14, making her the first American to break the tape there since Deena Kastor in 2004. Her time (31:37) also broke the American 10K record for an all-women’s race.
Turning back to the track, Huddle secured a national title at 5,000 meters on June 27 in Sacramento, Calif., out-leaning rival Shannon Rowbury in the final strides to win by less than .20 seconds in 15:01.56. On July 11, she won the mile in a personal best of 4:26.8 at the Morton Games in Dublin. She followed that by lowering her own four-year old American 5000m record, finishing sixth at the Diamond League meet in Monaco, clocking a blazing 14:42.64. In October, Huddle took another stab at the half marathon, finishing third at the B.A.A. Half Marathon in 1:09:23.
Huddle’s tremendous year culminated with her second straight .US 12K road racing championship win in November, earning her the 2014 USA Racing Circuit crown by 14 points over Sara Hall (our runner of the year on the roads). Huddle also won national road titles at the 7-mile championships in July, 20K championships in August and the 5K championships in September.
The 30-year-old Huddle, who is coached by Ray Treacy and trains with Kim Smith and Amy Hastings, definitely has added some variety to her quiver of events, and she’s not done diversifying her resume. She says a marathon may be on the horizon following the 2015 World Championships in Beijing. “But most likely after 2016,” says Huddle, who is undecided between the 5,000m or 10,000m for the Rio Olympics.