March 23, 2013
- UC Davis alumna and volunteer coach Kim Conley
, whose participation in the last summer's Olympic Games in London provided a highlight moment for the campus, will race on Sunday in the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Poland.
Conley, who graduated in 2009 and has served as a coach with the Aggie cross country and track and field teams since, is one of six members of the United States team. She finished runner-up at the national championships in February, earning a spot on the prestigious Team USA.
The world stage will once again welcome Conley whose rise to elite status among the country's runners has sent her to Poland for another challenging championship.
Races on Sunday at Myslecinek Park in Bydgoszcz will be contested in temperatures in the high 20's to low 30's. The two-kilometer course will be a tough one, featuring several sharp turns and jumps while a recently added steep hill will further challenges runners.
Conley will represent the U.S. in the senior women's 8K race which will be run at 5:15 a.m. (Pacific). Nearly 100 runners from 29 countries are entered in the championship. The top four finishers for each country will comprise the team score with the first-place runners earning one point, second place picking up two, etc. The country with the lowest score will capture the championship.
The race has been dominated in recent years by Ethiopia and Kenya which have won all but one championship since 1991. Except for a runner-up finish by the United States in 2002, Ethiopia and Kenya have owned the top two spots each of the past 17 years. The Americans have been third each of the last two championships, including 2010 when it was held at the site of this year's event.
Kenya has won the past three titles.
Conley catapulted onto the world running stage last summer when she staged a stirring stretch run to finish third in the 5,000-meter run at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore. Her memorable finish qualified her for the London Games while photographs of her reaction following the race provided iconic images.
She earned her spot on the U.S. cross country team by finishing second at the USA Cross Country Championships in St. Louis in early February. She was timed in 26 minutes, 6 seconds, trailing on Shalane Flanagan who won in 25:49.
Conley will be joined by teammate Delilah Di Crescenzo, Emily Infield, Deena Kastor, Neely Spence and Mattie Suver. Conley is coached by Drew Wartenburg
, UC Davis track and field and cross country head coach.