A very quick early pace in the women’s Olympic 10,000m run on Friday morning in Rio de Janeiro had Molly Huddle tucked in at the back of an eight-woman lead pack through 2K, passing in just under 6:00. The rapid pace continued through 3K, with Huddle still in eighth as the leaders went past in 8:52.79. By the 4K mark Huddle had fallen off the top seven by about 10m as the leaders were on near-world record pace. Huddle made up ground through 5K, passing Ethiopia’s Gelete Burka and moving into seventh while pacing herself at nearly 15 seconds under American record pace for the 10,000m and just four seconds off her 5,000m American record.
Huddle, 31, a Saucony-sponsored athlete from Elmira, N.Y., 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 American record as she finished sixth in 30:13.17 in the greatest women’s 10K ever run.
Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana shattered the world record in 29:17.45, while the silver medalist Vivian Cheruiyot was nearly under the previous world record (29:31.78) as well with her runner-up finish in 29:32.53. Huddle’s mark broke the previous American record held by Shalane Flanagan, who ran 30:22.22 while earning the bronze medal in the 2008 Olympic in Beijing.
Running a lifetime best 31:26.94, 2015 IAAF World Championships bronze medalist Emily Infeld (University Heights, Ohio) came in 11th. Marielle Hall (Haddonfield, New Jersey) finished 32nd in 32:39.32.