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January 15, 2018

Unpacking Molly Huddle’s American Record

Molly Huddle crossed the finish line in 67:25 at Sunday’s Houston Half Marathon and broke Deena Kastor’s American record, which stood since 2006.

Now, if you look at the fastest half marathons by an American woman of all-time, you’ll see a 66:57 by Kara Goucher as the top time. Goucher’s time does not count as the American record because it came on the BUPA Great North Run’s slightly-aided course in Newcastle, England. Just a little nugget to keep in mind, and maybe a loftier goal for Huddle to chase.

If you follow me on Twitter, then some of what follows may not be new since I tend to geek out and share a few stats on my timeline. I think the most impressive stat from Huddle’s performance is her continued dominance over her compatriots.

Coming into the race, we expected to get a showdown between Huddle and Jordan Hasay. The numbers coming into the race are a little one-sided since Huddle was 9-0 in race finals against Hasay coming into Houston. The case could be made that Hasay’s 2017 was more impressive than Huddle’s year back on the track. Hasay has found her groove on the roads and could be a threat to beat Huddle over the longer distances. That wasn’t the case on Sunday as Huddle handily beat Hasay by more than a minute, improving Huddle’s head-to-head record against Hasay to 10-0.

The ultimate test will come in less than 100 days. Huddle will be running the Boston Marathon for the first time, whereas Hasay is looking to improve upon her 2:23:00 third place showing from last year. Huddle has not been beaten by an American woman on the roads since March 2012, when Janet Bawcom pulled away for the win at the Gate River Run 15K in Jacksonville, Florida. Huddle is riding a 28-race winning streak against fellow Americans, but it may not be easy to uphold when she faces not only Hasay but also Shalane Flanagan and Desi Linden in Boston.

Some good news for Huddle? Just three weeks after Kastor ran her 67:34 in Berlin, she clocked her 2:19:36 American record to win the 2006 London Marathon. Huddle will have much more time in between races, but that is a pretty good sign when you couple it with the fact that she beat the second-fastest American marathoner on Sunday.

Other tidbits of information:

  • The IAAF’s Jon Mulkeen pointed out that this was the first half marathon in history in which seven women finished under 1:07:30.
  • Deena Kastor finished second in the race where she set her American record. Molly Huddle was seventh. Kastor went on to become the first American woman to win the London Marathon. Boston hasn’t had an American woman win since Lisa Rainsberger in 1985. Maybe Huddle can rebound with a drought-ending performance?
  • Huddle’s new record still sits just outside of the top 100-fastest performances of all-time and all-conditions over 13.1 miles. Goucher’s time is within the top 100. If I’m looking at the list correctly, I think 66 of the top 100 performances before Sunday were run by Kenyan women. That’s just incredible depth by that country.

Have any thought on Huddle or her performance? I like to hear from you. Email me: [email protected]

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