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As the third of four children, Molly Huddle grew up in Elmira, NY watching her father run. Huddle didn’t start running herself until she was 12 years old and didn’t begin taking it seriously until the end of high school. As a junior, Huddle lettered in soccer, basketball, and outdoor track. “My junior year, I improved a lot because I started to run over the summer instead of just during the season,” says Huddle. Her senior year, Huddle decided to run cross country. Even though she was the only member of her high school’s cross country team, that didn’t stop Huddle from winning multiple state championships in the sport. As a one-runner team, her father coached her and she was undefeated her senior year.
BORN: August 31, 1984
HOMETOWN: Elmira, NY
HEIGHT: 5 ft 5 in
COLLEGE: University of Notre Dame
OLYMPIC MEDALS: None to date
OTHER TITLES/NOTABLE WINS: Three-time USATF Outdoor 5,000m champion – 2011 (15:10.01); 2014 (15:01.56); 2015 (31:39.20), Three-time USA Outdoor runner-up – 2013 (15:35.45); 2012 (15:14.40); 2010 (15:30.89), Two-time USA XC runner-up – 2011 (26:31); 2010 (26:01) 2004, USA Junior 3,000m champion (15:57.22), Seven-time USA Road Champion (5 km, 10 km, 10 mile and 7 mile distances)
After high school, she ran for Notre Dame and got a degree in biological sciences. At Notre Dame, she became the most decorated athlete in school history as a 10-time All-American. After college, Huddle had intended to go to medical school but she was doing so well as a runner that she continued focusing on her athletic talent. Her choice to move to Rhode Island allowed her to train under Ray Treacy and learn from a group of world-class female athletes.
This training paid off when she made the 2012 USA Olympic Team. Although Huddle placed 11th in the 5,000 meter, she was determined to improve and in 2014, she set the American Record for the 5,000 meter. At the 2016 Olympic Trials, Huddle became the first woman in history to win both the 5,000 meter and the 10,000 meter and qualified again for Team USA. “In the professional running world, becoming an Olympian is the pinnacle achievement. It’s what we train for. Our lives are in four-year cycles because of planning for the Olympics,” says Huddle.
At the 2016 Olympic Games, Huddle had her fastest championship performance of her career. Although she placed sixth overall, she broke the 10,000 meter American record. With the 2016 Olympics behind her, Huddle is now transitioning to marathon racing and plans to see where long-distance running takes her.