Heusden-Zolder, Belgium maybe an unlikely place to break the American 5K record, but that is exactly what happened last Saturday for Shelby Houlihan as she continues her dominating success in this 2018 outdoor season.
It was a beautiful Belgian night to try and take down the American 5k record of 14:38.92 set by Shannon Rowbury in 2016. The race unfolded predictably, as Houlihan accompanied by pace setters, Katrina Coogan and Bowerman teammate, Shalane Flanagan.
Houlihan and the pace group broke from the field within 200 meters. Coogan finished her evening, taking the lead group through the first 1400 meters and Flanagan took over from there. After helping set the pace through 3000 meters, Flanagan stepped off and Houlihan was left alone to chase the American record. With one lap to go Houlihan displayed the ferocious kick she is becoming famous for, eclipsing the old mark by more than four seconds in 14:34.45.
Houlihan said after “I have started realizing I can trust my kick whether it’s a long race, shorter race, fast or slow.”
Watching the race from the stands was The Bowerman Track Club Coach, Jerry Schumacher, who had plenty to be excited about this night. Coach Schumacher was all smiles, because not only did one of his athletes break an American Record, but he was able to watch the latest member of his Bowerman team, Karissa Schweizer, multi NCAA National Champion from Mizzou. Schweizer, had her own record breaking night, finishing third behind Molly Huddle in 15:02.44 setting another personal best in the 5K and breaking yet another Missouri school record.
Wrapping up her season, Schweizer is excited and relieved to be joining Houlihan and Flanagan in the Bowerman stables. After her race, wearing a new uniform Schweizer added, “Excited to finally announce that I have signed with Nike and the Bowerman Track Club! Can’t wait to see what the future holds.”
As for Houlihan, she described what is left for her in 2018, “I’m heading back to Portland for a week and then back up to altitude until the 1500m Diamond league final in Brussels. After that, my hope is to compete in the 1500 at the Continental cup and then shut my season down after that. I still have my sights set on that 1500 AR so I’m hoping one of those races will be fast enough to take a crack at that one.”
No doubt Shelby Houlihan will be writing her name in plenty of record books.