Iowa State’s Betsy Saina kept a steady pace during the women’s 10,000 meter run to claim her national championship after running a time of 33:08.85.
Saina remained at the front of the pack throughout most of the race under the blistering sun with the second place finisher, Wichita State’s Aliphine Tuliamuk-Bolton, right on her tail. When the runners reached the 5,000 meter mark, the two girls stepped up their pace battling back-and-forth for first place. Saina and Tuliamuk-Bolton stayed neck-and-neck until the final lap when Saina mustered her last bit of energy to make space between her and her opponents.
When Saina crossed the finish line and slowed down to catch her breath, she walked off of the track with a smile on her face.
Saina won the women’s 5,000 meter championship in the 2011-2012 season and competed in, but lost in the 10,000 meter championship when she placed third and in the 5,000 meter championship when she finished 13th during the 2010-2011 season, so she was determined to earn this win in her senior year.
“Today I was just like ‘I need my happiness back,’ I just needed to smile again,’” she said.
Saina will compete in the 5,000 meter run Friday at 8:10 p.m.
Tuliamuk-Bolton finished the 10,000 meter race with a time of 33:14.12.