The Susan B. Anthony 5K was held on Saturday, August 11 in Sacramento along the American River. When it began, it felt like any old summer Saturday 5K, that is, until, Jenny Hitchins broke a 21-year-old national record. And she broke it by a lot.
Hitchings broke the American 5K Women’s Age Group (55-59) by running the 3.1 miles in 18 minutes and 5 seconds. That smashed the record set by Shirley Matson in 1997 by 27 seconds.
The 55-year-old competitive runner had recently set a personal best 6-mile time of 35:24 in the Wharf To Wharf Race in Santa Cruz on July 22. In preparation for the Susan B. Anthony 5K, she reached out to race director Carol Parise to get it sanctioned by USA Track and Field. She wanted the record.
“I thought I’d just go for it even though 5K is not my race and I hate it because it’s hard and it hurts, but I’m just going to go for it and see what happens … and I did it, by a lot,” Hitchings told the Sacramento Bee.
Hitchings was a running enthusiast through much of her life, but didn’t begin her competitive streak until she moved to Sacramento and joined the Buffalo Chips Running Club. Now she’s a personal running coach and runs two marathons a year.
With her newfound grip on running records, Hitchings is now setting her eye on the 10-mile record. She hopes the Buffalo Stampede on Sept. 9 in Sacramento, a 10-mile race, can get sanctioned by USA Track and Field so she can attempt that record as well.