DES MOINES, Iowa — In workouts, Dalilah Muhammad has often been on world-record pace.

On a drizzly Sunday night, she put everything together. Muhammad broke a 16-year-old world record in the 400-meter hurdles by finishing in 52.20 seconds at the U.S. track and field championships.

“I’m just shocked,” Muhammad said. “I broke the world record.”

With puddles on the track, the reigning Olympic champion sloshed her way to eclipse the mark of 52.34 set by Yuliya Pechonkina of Russia on Aug. 8, 2003.

It was a day of near-misses for Maine natives hoping to qualify for the world championships this fall in Doha, Qatar.

Rachel Schneider, a Sanford native, placed fourth in the women’s 5,000, missing a qualifying position by .45 seconds. Schneider (15:17.91) moved into the lead late in the race but was overtaken on the final lap by Shelby Houlihan (15:15.50), Karissa Schweizer (15:17.03) and University of New Hampshire graduate Elinor Purrier (15:17.46).

Lewiston’s Isaiah Harris, bidding for his second straight trip to the world championships, finished fourth in the men’s 800 behind Donovan Brazier (1:45.62), Clayton Murphy (1:46.01) and Bryce Hoppel (1:46.31), though Harris’ time of 1:46.45 also fell short of the qualifying standard for worlds.

Riley Masters of Bangor (13:31.39) and North Yarmouth native Ben True (13:33.13) were sixth and seventh in the men’s 5,000, and Steven Smith of South Portland (47:11.86) placed fifth in the 10K racewalk.

Muhammad didn’t let the rain drops deter her in the hurdles. She looked at her time and was almost taken aback.

No way that can be real, right?

It was.

Muhammad smiled, briefly put her hands on her hips and then slumped down when her time flashed on the screen at Drake Stadium. Third-place finisher Ashley Spencer bounded over to congratulate her, as well as teenager Sydney McLaughlin, who hugged Muhammad after finishing second.

Muhammad believes the record won’t last long. It may even fall again at the world championships. Defending world champion Kori Carter didn’t even compete Sunday because she has an automatic bye into worlds.

“That 52 is going to get broke,” Muhammad said. “If not by me, by the other women.”

McLaughlin finished in 52.88.

“It was a really fast race and I could feel the pace being pushed,” McLaughlin said. “I’m happy to be a part of a world-record race. It’s awesome.”

Muhammad’s performance stole the show.

Later in the night, Dezerea Bryant won the women’s 200 in 22.47 seconds.

Noah Lyles closed out the competition in style by doing a nifty little dance after taking the men’s 200 in 19.78, holding off 100-meter winner Christian Coleman.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.