In a thrilling last lap charge to the finish, American Emily Infeld, who trains with Jerry Schumacher’s Nike Bowerman Track Club in Portland, Ore., snuck past teammate and reigning national champion Molly Huddle on the inside lane to snag the bronze medal in the 10,000-meter run at the IAAF World Championships on Monday night in Beijing, China. It was only the third 10,000 of the 25-year-old Infeld’s career. She is the first U.S. medalist in the event since Kara Goucher took bronze in 2007 (n.b. Goucher is likely to be upgraded to silver following Elvan Abeylegesse’s recent positive doping test).
“I feel like I could medal, and I just ran through the line and I feel a little guilty because I feel like Molly let up a little,” Infeld told Race Results Weekly. “I don’t think she realized how close I was.”
Infield crossed the finish line in 31:43.49, just ahead of Huddle, who took fourth in 31:43.58. Infeld’s BTC teammate and American record holder Shalane Flanagan was sixth in 31:46.23. Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot (31:41.33) outkicked Gelete Burka of Ethiopia (31:41.77) to win gold. After a slow start at 5K (16:11), there were 10 women still in contention with a mile to go. At the bell, it was a free for all with 8 women in the hunt for one of the three medals.
Huddle thought she had the bronze wrapped up and threw her hands up in the air just before the finish line—and that’s when Infeld darted past her.
“That last half-step I just let up too much,” Huddle told Race Results Weekly afterward. “Emily was right there the whole time, with just more momentum and she got that bronze. This will take a long time to get over.”
In other Monday night action, Kenyan Ezekiel Kemboi continued his global dominance in the steeplechase, capturing gold in 8:11.28. It was the 33-year-old’s fourth straight world title in the event, in addition to Olympic golds in 2004 and 2012. His Kenyan teammates rounded out the medal stand, and took fourth place as well for good measure.
American Dan Huling passed his Nike Bowerman Track Club teammate and American record holder Evan Jager right before the finish, clocking 8:14.39 to take fifth. Jagger was sixth in 8:15.47.