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On Saturday, Emily Sisson walked away from a successful race day in Indianapolis with two stellar feathers in her cap: Winning the USATF Half Marathon Championships—her sixth national title—and setting a new American half marathon record.
“Third time is the charm,” wrote Sisson on Instagram. Sisson has attempted to set the record (Molly Huddle’s 1:07:25 at the time) two other times in 2019 and again in 2020. In her December 2020 attempt in Valencia, Spain, she missed the mark by only a second, running it in 1:07:26.
Setting the recently lowered record was Sisson’s goal for Saturday, even after getting COVID at the end of March which was a setback in her training. “It’s been a pretty rough past month of training, so I was really happy with it,” said Sisson in a post-race interview.
The weather also posed an issue on the course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with strong winds the entire time. Sisson said the speedway felt like a wind tunnel that she couldn’t wait to get out of. That of course didn’t stop her from attacking the record head on.
“When we chose this race, we said we don’t need perfect conditions. We just need decent conditions,” she said.
But despite her COVID setback and the challenging wind on the day, Sisson looked strong throughout the entire race, pulling away early on and maintaining her lead throughout. She ran the first 5K in 15:54, hitting the 10K mark in 31:57, 15K in 47:54, and 20K in 1:03:52. Her 20K split was actually right in line with Hall’s at the Houston Half Marathon. Sisson was able to gain some ground by sprinting all-out in the end to her final 1:07:11.
Andrea Pomaranski and Allie Kieffer came in behind Sisson to place second and third respectively in 1:13:12 and 1:13:16.
Sisson’s half marathon record is pending ratification by the USATF Records Committee.