Harding impresses at IAAF World Cross Country Championships

Photo by Paul Merca/USA TF

KAMPALA, Uganda — University of Michigan freshman Isaac Harding represented Team USA at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships Sunday morning (March 26) in the U-20 Junior race.

The Rockford (Michigan) High School graduate finished 61st overall of more than 100 of the best young runners in the world, covering the eight-kilometer course on the Kololo Independence Grounds in 26:37.

“I might have gone out just a tad too fast,” Harding told USATF after the race. “The whole time I was just trying to stay focused and strong. [I learned] to kind of stay relaxed on the first 2K. It just gives you perspective of the kind of competition out there.”

Harding was the No. 5 runner for Team USA on the day, just nine seconds and three places from earning one of the squad’s four scoring positions.

Team USA finished ninth in the team standings with 189 points.

Harding held a consistent position through the race, moving up as high as 55th following the second of four two-kilometer loops that made up the course. He came through the six-kilometer split at the end of the third lap in 61st, which was a position he more or less held for the duration of the race.

He covered the final two kilometers (mile and a quarter) of the race in 7:03, the fourth-fastest split of Team USA on that segment.

Ethiopia won the team title with 17 points, and Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda won the individual title.