INDIANAPOLIS -- Two-time Olympian Molly Huddle (Providence, Rhode Island) bettered three American track records (pending) to earn USATF Athlete of the Week, while Julie Brown was voted by fans as the winner of the 32nd USATF Throwback Athlete of the Week award for setting an American record in the women’s 5,000m on October 30, 1976. In the absence of regular competition during the Covid-19 pandemic, we are taking a weekly look back at some of the great efforts by American track and field athletes through the years.

Huddle, also a five-time World Championships team member who was fourth in the 10,000m at the 2015 Worlds and sixth at that distance at Rio in 2016, ignored the unfriendly conditions at Attleboro, Massachusetts, bettering three venerable American distance records Sunday at the New England Fall Track Series.

Attacking a trio of marks set by Nancy Conz in 1981, 2019 USATF Outdoors 10,000m champ Huddle first eclipsed the existing 15K record of 53:06, passing that point in 50:07.82, and then went through 10 miles in 53:49.9 to chop more than two minutes off the 55:58 run by Conz. The final mark fell when the clock stopped at one hour and Huddle had traversed 17,930 meters to add 657m to Conz’s AR.

An outstanding prep and collegiate runner, Brown excelled in college after a high school career that saw her set a national record in the 800 meters. She went on to earn the Broderick Award and was a double AIAW champion in 1975 for UCLA in the mile and two-mile. Brown, who also ran collegiately for Cal-Northridge and won the AIAW 1977 800m and 3,000m, clocked 16:14.0 for 5,000m to set an American record in 1976.

After taking the IAAF World Cross Country gold in 1975, the first American woman to win, Brown went on to win three silver medals at the 1979 Pan American Games in the 800m, 1,500m and 3,000m. From 1974-82 she won 10 U.S. titles in track, road racing and cross country. She set a world record in the 10,000m in 1975 and competed in the inaugural women’s marathon at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, placing 36th in 2:47:33.

Brown was inducted into the Road Runners Club of America Hall of Fame in 1994, and the Cal-Northridge HOF in 1981. She had a career as a lawyer in the state of California after retiring from the sport.

Other historical performances of note from the October 26-November 1 period in USATF history:

  • October 27 — Barbara Mueller American record in women’s pentathlon, 4154 at Pasadena, California in 1956
  • October 27 — Leamon King =World record in the men’s 100m, 10.1h at Santa Ana, California in 1956
  • October 28 — Edward Bloss American record in men’s triple jump, 13.70m/44-11.5 at Boston in 1890
  • October 29 — Matt McGrath American record in men’s hammer, 57.10m/187-4 at New York City in 1911
  • November 1 — Parry O’Brien World record in men’s shot put, 19.25m/63-2 at Los Angeles in 1956 (set two ARs that day)

Other notable performances from the past week included:

  • Keira D’Amato won the Michigan Pro Half Marathon women’s title in 68:57 and moved to No. 10 on the all-time U.S. performers list.
  • Galen Rupp won the Row River Half Marathon in 60:23 and eclipsed the existing men’s American record (pending) for 10 miles en route with a 45:54.
  • Morgan Pearson was the men’s winner at the Michigan Pro Half with a 62:15 clocking.

Now in its 19th year, USATF’s Athlete of the Week program is designed to recognize outstanding performers at all levels of the sport. USATF names a new honoree each week and features the athlete on USATF.org. Selections are based on top performances and results from the previous week.

2020 Winners: January 9, Miranda Melville; January 16, Paul Perry; January 23, Natosha Rogers; January 30, Tyler Day, February 6, Devin Dixon; February 13, Elle Purrier; February 20, Tori Franklin; February 27, Sandi Morris; March 4, Abdi Abdirahman; March 12 Marielle Hall; March 19, Tim Tollefson; April 2, Louise Ritter; April 9, Francie Larrieu Smith; April 16, Erin Gilreath; April 23, Suzy Powell; April 30, Joe Dial; May 7, Dawn Ellerbe; May 14, Ramona Pagel; May 21, Brian Oldfield; May 28, Jackie Joyner-Kersee; June 4, Jesse Owens; June 11, Mary Decker Slaney; June 18, Leroy Burrell; June 25, Sandra Farmer-Patrick; July 2, Jim Ryun; July 9, Evelyn Ashford; July 16, Wilma Rudolph & Shelby Houlihan; July 23, Pat Daniels & Ryan Crouser; July 30, Michael Norman & Mildred “Babe” Didriksen; August 6, Valarie Allman & Parry O’Brien; August 13, Sara Hall & Kevin Young; August 20, Justin Robinson & Jackie Joyner-Kersee; August 27, Donavan Brazier & Renaldo Nehemiah; September 3, Ryan Crouser & Mike Powell; September 10, Ryan Crouser & Wilma Rudolph; September 17, Rudy Winkler & Kate Schmidt; September 24, Ryan Crouser & Jay Silvester; October 1, Payton Chadwick & Carl Lewis; October 8, Sara Hall & Florence Griffith Joyner; October 15, Shadrack Kipchirchir & Johnny J. Kelley; October 22, Katie Thronson & Billy Mills; October 29, Jaci Smith & Joan Benoit Samuelson; November 5, Molly Huddle & Julie Brown.

We welcome your nominations!

To nominate an athlete for USATF Athlete of the Week, please send a detailed email about his/her performance to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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