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Shelby Houlihan at the 2014 Harry Jerome Track Classic. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall/Athletics Illustrated
Mo Ahmed at 2012 Canadian Cross Country Championships. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall/Athletics Illustrated







The Athletics Illustrated Person of the Week honours for the week of July 13, 2020, is awarded to two distance runners: Canadian Mo Ahmed and American Shelby Houlihan. The two athletes smashed their respective national 5,000m records during virtual races last week.


Ahmed running for the Nike-sponsored Bowerman Track Club in Portland took down his own Canadian record of 12:58.16 with a stunning 12:47.20 Friday night. In 2019, he told Athletics Illustrated, “I just wanted to get into the 12s as all of my competitors had run under the 13-benchmark.”

Friday, he ran the fastest time in North American history and the 15th fastest time ever.

Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele currently owns the world record at 12:37.35.

Bekele, Haile Gebrselassie, Daniel Komen, Selemon Barega, Hagos Gebrhiwet, Eliud Kipchoge, Yomif Kejelcha, Dejen Gebremeskel and Sileshi Sihine all from Kenya or Ethiopia are the only athletes to have run faster than Ahmed, which makes his the 10th fastest man, all-time.


The Women’s Race

Houlihan and Karissa Schweizer smashed Houlihan’s American record of 14:34.45, while three Bowerman Track Club athletes Courtney Frerichs, Colleen Quigley, and Elise Cranny were also in the race. Houlihan led the way with her 14:23.92. Schweizer finished second in the time of 14:26.34. For Schweizer, it was a considerable improvement on her own previous best which was 14:45.18.

About Person of the Week

The Athletics Illustrated Person of the Week recognition is an endeavour that aims to recognise noteworthy or newsworthy achievements, actions, or events in the sport of athletics by individuals who are involved or have affected the sport in some way.

The weekly decision will be the discretion of Athletics Illustrated, however, input from readers is welcome.

At the end of each year, the Person of the Week honours will be reviewed and featured along with a Person of the Year recognition taken from the list of weekly honours.

If you feel someone should be recognised, please register, login, and provide the person’s name and reason.