Joe Gray wins first World Mountain Running title, earns USATF Athlete of the Week

Joe Gray wins first World Mountain Running title, earns USATF Athlete of the Week

Provided by USATF

INDIANAPOLIS -- Joe Gray (Lakewood, Washington) triumphed at the 32nd World Mountain Running Championships as part of the US Mountain Running Team to win gold in Sapareva Banya, Bulgaria.

In his ninth consecutive appearance with Team USA, Gray completed the 12.7-kilometer course in 1:02:12, nearly two minutes ahead of nearest competitor Israel Morales (1:03.51).

Gray’s performance included conquering 1,468 meters of climbing and 107 meters of descent to win his first World Mountain Running Champion title. Thanks in part to his win, Team USA men won gold overall. The women took home bronze.

“It was a dream that became a reality,” said Gray. “The icing on the cake was the team gold.”

Other notable performances last week:

Sandi Morris (Greenville, South Carolina) - Joined the 5-meter club in women's pole vault in Brussels, Belgium at IAAF Diamond League. Only two other women have jumped 5 meters, Yelena Isinbayeva and Jennifer Suhr.

Shannon Rowbury (San Francisco, California) - Made history in Brussels when she broke Molly Huddle’s American Record in the women’s 5000m with a time of 14:38.92.

Erik Kynard (Toledo, Ohio) - Won his first overall Diamond League title in the high jump with a final mark of 2.32m/7-07.25 at Brussels.

Cassandra Tate (Hammond, Louisiana) - Dominated the women’s 400m hurdles in a stunning performance at Brussels, running a season’s best 54.47 to win the Diamond League title.

Now in its 15th year, USATF’s Athlete of the Week program is designed to recognize outstanding performers at all levels of the sport. USATF names a new honoree each week and features the athlete on Selections are based on top performances and results from the previous week.

2016 Winners: Jan. 13, Garrett Heath; Jan. 20, Donavan Brazier; Jan. 27, Keni Harrison; Feb. 3, Jenn Suhr; Feb. 10, Vashti Cunningham; Feb. 17, Galen Rupp; Feb. 24, John Nunn; March 2, Curtis Beach; March 11, Bill Collins; March 16, Da’mira Allen; March 24, Michelle Carter; March 31, Janet Bawcom; April 8, Maria Michta-Coffey; April 14, Keni Harrison; April 22, LaShawn Merritt; April 28, Courtney Okolo; May 6, Ida Keeling; May 12, Willie Gault; May 18, Marquise Goodwin; June 2, Keni Harrison; June 9, Tia Brooks; June 16, Donavan Brazier; June 23, Sydney McLaughlin; June 30, Tia Jones; July 7, Allyson Felix; July 15, Bernard Lagat; July 22, Allen Woodard; July 29, Keni Harrison; August 5, Chantae McMillan; August 11, Myrle Mensey; August 20, Michelle Carter; August 26, Matt Centrowitz; September 1, Megan Roche; September 8, Christian Taylor; September 14, Joe Gray.

We welcome your nominations!

To nominate an athlete for USATF Athlete of the Week, please send a detailed email about his/her performance to [email protected]