Athletics News

Houston Half — American Record For Emily Sisson

Houston Half — American Record For Emily Sisson

Sisson’s 66:52 eclipsed both her official AR and Kara Goucher’s downhill time. (KEVIN MORRIS)

HOUSTON, TEXAS, January 15 — Emily Sisson pared 19 seconds off her American Record in finishing 2nd in the Aramco Half-Marathon. After adding a 2:18:29 marathon AR to her robust portfolio last October in Chicago, the 31-year old Providence grad returned to competition in fine form, saying, “I came here to make another good run and I am really excited about breaking the American Record.”

Sisson’s new standard of 66:52 behind Ethiopian Hiwot Gebrekidan’s 66:28 came on a flat and fast loop course. The route features prominently on the American half-marathon recordboard as the site for Ryan Hall’s longstanding 59:43 men’s standard, and Molly Huddle’s 67:25 AR from ’18 that was trimmed to 67:15 by Sara Hall last January.

After missing the then-AR by 5 seconds with a 67:30 effort in Houston in ’19, and a mere single second the following year in running 67:26 in Valencia, Sisson set her AR last May running 67:11 to win the USATF Championship in Indianapolis.

This race got off to a fast start with Gebrekidan blasting away from the field at the gun, blitzing the opening 5K in 15:14. Sisson was committed to a fast start but was almost 100m back at 15:31, and was left to fend for herself on what was a rather solo run, sans pacers.

After her very-paced record run in Chicago, Sisson chose to go it alone here, explaining, “I didn’t have a personal pacer; I thought that would be good to try to get into that racing mindset trying to race the people around me.”

“I talked to my coach Ray Treacy a couple of days ago and he told me that I’d be better off running 5:03 pace with the men rather than running 5:06 or 7 solo. I found a group and they were definitely going faster than that and I tried to hang on to that instead of running 13M solo.”

This strategy kept her on a brisk pace as she cruised through the second 5K segment in 15:48, crossing the 10K mat in 31:19. The hot tempo plus a little heat and humidity had her admitting, “I think that I misjudged the pace a bit to open it and really slowed down.”

She was able to steady herself, settling into a 3:12 kilometer pace covering the 10–15K segment in 16:01, and 15-20K in 16:06, before closing the final 1098m in 3:26 to push under 67:00 and well under her own standard. She also bettered Kara Goucher’s downhill course 66:57 from ’07 as the fastest all-conditions U.S. race…

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