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In her third 10,000 meter race ever, Elise Cranny of Bowerman Track Club ran 30:14.66 to finish just over a second off the American record at Sound Running’s The TEN event in San Juan Capistrano, California on Sunday night. Molly Huddle’s record of 30:13.17, set at the 2016 Rio Olympics, still stands for now, but Cranny surpassed her mentor and coach Shalane Flanagan (30:22.22) for the number two spot on the U.S. all-time list.
“I came here wanting to finish on empty, give everything that I had,” she said after the race. “I did that and I came up short, so that makes it bittersweet, but I’m honored to even be that close to Molly Huddle’s time and what she’s been able to do in the sport. I’ve looked up to her for awhile, and Shalane has the no. 2 time, so to be in that sort of company is really awesome and [I’m hopeful] for some more fast 10K opportunities.”
The 25-year-old ran alone for much of the American record attempt, aided only by the Wavelight technology that lit up the inside rail after her final pacer, BTC teammate Lucia Stafford, stepped off the track at the 3,000 meter mark. Cranny locked in to 4:50 mile pace, passing through 5,000 meters in 15:04, but started losing steam with 1,600 meters to go.
At the bell lap, Cranny was behind the pace lights and needed a sub-66 second closer to make history. She miraculously tapped into another gear and closed in 67.61, outrunning the pace lights to the finish line but just missing the record. There was some confusion at the finish, but Bowerman coach Jerry Schumacher had actually requested that the pace lights be set to 30:16 pace instead of 30:13, with the idea that Cranny would close for the record.
“Shalane and a couple people thought I got it at first because the lights were confusing,” Cranny said. “I didn’t really know what the pace lights were gonna do the second half… I was ahead of the lights for awhile and it was that impending doom, though, when I saw them come up and I was like, ‘oh man, Elise, you gotta kick it into gear.’ I think at that point, I was so tired I wasn’t thinking about what it was set at, it was just, ‘chase the lights and get to the finish line.’”
The reigning U.S. champion for 5,000 meters, who set the American indoor record at 14:33.17 this year, led eight women under the World Championships standard of 31:25. Dominique Scott, who represents Adidas, finished second in 31:00.10—less than eight seconds off the South African national record—and Cranny’s BTC teammate Andrea Seccafien was third in 31:15.78, just off her own Canadian national record.
Natosha Rogers of Hansons-Brooks was fourth in 31:16.89, and Millie Paladino of New Balance Boston and Sarah Lancaster of Paras360 Track Club were fifth and sixth, respectively, in 31:19.92 and 31:21.75 for their debuts at the 10,000 meters. Paige Stoner of Reebok Boston Track Club (31:22.55), BTC’s steeplechase Olympic medalist Courtney Frerichs (31:23.13) and Emily Lipari of Adidas (31:24.82) also snuck under the world standard, while Ednah Kurgat of U.S. Army (31:32.25), Carrie Verdon of TEAM Boulder (31:37.26), and Stephanie Bruce of Hoka NAZ Elite (31:39.39) ran under 31:45 to qualify for the USATF Outdoor Championships.