Molly Huddle broke the 10K American record this morning by running 30:13.17 for sixth place at the Olympic Games. The prior record was 30:22.22, set by Shalane Flanagan and earned her a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympic Games. Read more about Huddle's record here, and the world record by gold medalist Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia here.
Pending ratification, Huddle is now the American record holder in two events: the 10K and the 5K. She ran 14:42.64 to set the latter record in 2014.
But how did she get there?
Huddle was a multi-sport athlete in high school and lettered in soccer, basketball and outdoor track as a junior. Even with limited training, she ran undefeated and swept the 1500m (4:23.21) and 3K (9:43.40) at the New York State Championships in 2001. She then traveled to adidas Outdoor Nationals, where she placed third in both the mile (4:50.98) and two mile (10:25.30).
Her school, Elmira Notre Dame, did not have a cross country team but the administration allowed her to compete as a team of one for her senior year.
Huddle won every cross country race she entered and set 12 course records, including a 17:04.4 at McQuad. She won the New York State Championship Class D title and the New York Federation title.
Her eye was then on post-season competition. At Foot Locker Northeast, she placed runner-up to Natasha Roetter of Mass., 17:59.3 to 17:48.4.
In San Diego for Foot Locker Nationals, Amber Trotter of Calif. dominated the field to win by 40 seconds in 16:24.07. That performance is considered to be one of the most impressive runs ever for a high school girl.
Erika Odlaug of Illinois placed second in 17:04.3 and the Northeast rivals, Roetter and Huddle, placed third and fourth, respectively, in 17:05.14 and 17:19.59.
Not bad for her first cross country season!
Watch the video of the 2001 Foot Locker Nationals below:
On the track, Huddle would go on to set New York state records (since broken) in the 1500m at 4:22.1 and the 3K at 9:21.37. She defended both titles at the New York State Championship.
When Huddle returned to adidas Outdoor Nationals, she was a different athlete with her first full year of training under her belt.
In the two mile, she not only won but demolished the field in 10:01.08, a new national high school record. Runner-up Kara Scanlin of Florida was a full 26 seconds behind in 10:27.25. Huddle returned to the track to take second place in the mile with a new PB of 4:47.24 behind Megan Kaltenbach of Colo., who ran 4:43.54 for the win.
The rest... is history!