Sanford native Rachel Schneider has earned a spot at the 2019 IAAF World Championships in the women’s 5,000 meters.

Sanford native Rachel Schneider will compete at the world championships for the first time after making the U.S. team in the women’s 5,000 meters. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Schneider finished fourth Sunday in the 5,000 in the U.S. track and field championships in Des Moines, Iowa – with the top three runners earning a berth at the world championships.

But winner Shelby Houlihan will forgo running the 5,000 at Worlds to concentrate on the 1,500 meters, which she also won at the U.S. championships. The two races are held on the same day in the world championships, which makes it impossible for Houlihan to double up. That allows Schneider to be among the three women on the U.S. 5,000 meter team.

The world championships will be held from Sept. 28 to Oct. 6 in Doha, Qatar. Heats for the women’s 5,000 meters will be held on Oct. 2, with the finals scheduled for Oct. 5. It will be the first time Schneider has competed at Worlds.

Schneider announced Monday on Twitter that she was “feeling a dose of relief (along with a lot of excitement and gratitude)” for making the U.S. world team. She also noted that she had come down with a cold in the days before the U.S. championships and was “still fighting with a bit of it through the race.”

Schneider, 28, had the lead late in the 5,000 meters Sunday before being overtaken by Houlihan, Karissa Schweizer and Elinor Purrier. Schneider finished fourth in 15:17.91, just .45 seconds behind Purrier, who is a University of New Hampshire graduate.

Schneider, who was ranked fifth in the U.S. field, has run a variety distances this year, but focused on the 5,000 in Des Moines. “We’ve always been focused on the 5K for this year,” she said earlier this month. “This being a Worlds year, we’re putting all our eggs in one basket.”

Schneider competed in high school for St. Thomas Aquinas in Dover, New Hampshire, and was an eight-time All-American at Georgetown. She now lives in Flagstaff, Arizona.

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