Molly Huddle became the first American winner of the Oakley New York Mini 10k in Central Park in a decade on Saturday (14), winning the world’s oldest all women’s road-race in 31:37.
For good measure, Huddle’s winning time of 31:37 was also the fastest by an American in an all women’s 10km road-race, and will be ratified as a US record.
Huddle has been one of the in-form runners on the track and on the roads this year, and one of her best wins came over 5km in Boston in 15:12. The finishing order today was the same as it was in that race, as Huddle defeated the front-running reigning champion Mamitu Daska from Ethiopia with a strong showing in the last 800m.
"Ideally I was going to wait until 400, but when I felt her drift, it was the moment,” said Huddle, who made a 69:04 half-marathon debut in New York in March, on her race day tactics.
Daska, a perennial fixture on the podium on the US road-running circuit, did most of the hard running again, but the marathon specialist couldn’t match Huddle in the closing stages. She had to settle for the runner-up spot in 31:49 with Gemma Steel taking third for the second year in succession in 32:11.
Former world 10,000m champion Linet Masai from Kenya finished fourth in 32:16 with Boston Marathon runner-up Buzunesh Deba, who lives and trains in Bronx, fifth in 32:19.
Huddle, who earned a handsome sum of $15,000 for her victory, became the first American winner since Deena Kastor in 2004 and adds her name to a roll-of-honour which also includes Grete Waitz, Ingrid Kristiansen, Liz McColgan, Tegla Loroupe, Paula Radcliffe and Lornah Kiplagat.
More than 5000 women competed in the 43rd edition of this race.