It was a stellar weekend for the Portland, Oregon-based Nike Bowerman Track Club, as it saw its female members break not one, but two American records. Shelby Houlihan clocked a stellar 14:34.45 for 5K in Heusden to follow teammate Courtney Frerichs’ steeplechase record on Friday.
Houlihan’s mark shaved four seconds off the prior U.S. record of 14:38.92, set two years ago by Shannon Rowbury of the Nike Oregon Project who recently gave birth to her first child.
Another Bowerman TC athlete, Shalane Flanagan—herself the 5K American record holder for three years—helped pace Houlihan to the mark, along with New Balance Boston’s Cory McGee. Houlihan reportedly split 8:49 through 3K and 60 seconds for her final 400m.
Her previous best time in the 5K was 15:00.37 from 2017, though the race in Heusden was her first non-tactical, non-championship competition in the distance.
The 25-year-old, who placed 11th in the Rio Olympic 5K final, could finish her season with two American records. She’s arguably the best 1500m runner in the world this year after capturing dominant wins in the event at the Prefontaine Classic and the Lausanne Diamond League meeting. Her 3:57.34 win in Switzerland is just one second off the American record, which is currently owned by Rowbury.
The Diamond League 1500m final in Brussels on August 31 will provide an enticing match-up, not only between Houlihan and the international field as she vies for her first final win in the elite track and field series, but also between Houlihan and fellow American 3:57 runner Jenny Simpson, who is one of the United States’ greatest tactical racers ever with four global medals to her name.
Simpson is 0-2 versus Houlihan this year, but she nearly made it three American records for the weekend with a 4:17.30 mile performance at the Muller Anniversary Games on Sunday in London. The run was a two-second personal best for the 31-year-old Simpson, and about half a second off Mary Slaney’s 33-year-old American record of 4:16.71.
The 5K race in Heusden saw Molly Huddle take second place in 15:01.44 and 22-year-old Karissa Schweizer place third with a 15-second personal best of 15:02.44. Schweizer, a six-time NCAA champion for the University of Missouri, announced at the meet that she has signed with Nike and the Bowerman Track Club.