Achieving the mark is a confidence boost as the two-time Olympian enters her Boston Marathon training.
Averaging 5:08 per mile to run to a seventh-place finish, she was 9 seconds faster than Deena Kastor, who held the previous record, was in 2006. On the way to that history-making mark, Huddle, 33, also set national road records for 10 miles (50:52) and 20K (1:03:48).
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>A sincere CONGRATULATIONS to <a href=”https://twitter.com/MollyHuddle?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@MollyHuddle</a> for breaking my American record in the half-marathon today in <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/HoustonHalfMarathon?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#HoustonHalfMarathon</a>. Held for 12 yrs and I couldn't dream of passing the torch to a more deserving athlete. 👊 <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/cleansport?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#cleansport</a></p>— Deena Kastor (@DeenaKastor) <a href=”https://twitter.com/DeenaKastor/status/952583976065142784?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>January 14, 2018</a></blockquote>
<script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
Jordan Hasay, 26, finished eighth in Houston in 1:08:38. The two will meet again in April at the Boston Marathon, where they will also face other U.S. distance standouts including Shalane Flanagan and Desiree Linden.
“It is a confidence booster,” Huddle said during a phone interview on Tuesday with Runner’s World. “I know when Deena ran her record, she won [the] London [Marathon] three weeks later. I have a longer time to go, but it’s good to go into my buildup feeling fit.”
And while Huddle has won the NYC Half three consecutive times, she’s never trained specifically for the distance until now, always using the half marathon races as tuneups for other goals. This time she targeted Houston specifically as a way to achieve the record and also build a foundation for her marathon-specific training.
Although her home base is Providence, Rhode Island, Huddle is spending most of her Boston training cycle in Arizona, splitting time between Phoenix and Flagstaff. She’ll go back east to run portions of the Boston course a couple of times between now and April, she said. And like many fans, she’s excited by the field she’ll face on Marathon Monday.
“We have four of the top American women right now and a great international field, too,” Huddle said. “But no one in there is impossible to beat. There’s hope for someone to do something big this year.”
Boston will be Huddle’s second attempt at the 26.2-mile distance. Her first was the 2016 New York City Marathon, where she placed third. She said her peak mileage will likely hover around 117 per week, but she hopes she doesn’t run into the same issues she did in the preparation for New York, when she lost two weeks of training to tendinitis in her right knee.
“We want it to go smoother,” Huddle said. “We were rushing back from the track and it was to the point where we weren’t sure if I could even run [New York], so I think we can do it better this time around.”
Huddle also owns the 10,000-meter national record of 30:13.17, which she set at the 2016 Rio Games. She has been a national champion 25 times across various distances on the roads and track.