AARHUS, Denmark (UCFKnights.com) – While the UCF track and field team continues Florida Relays action in Gainesville, former UCF distance standout Anne-Marie Blaney lined up for a race of her own halfway around the world – the IAAF World Cross Country Championships.
Blaney, representing the United States in the 10K race in Denmark, finished 51st out of 115 competitors in the race that is considered the most important competition in international cross country running. She was the third American to cross the line, finishing one second behind teammate Sarah Pagano in 39:55.
Blaney and her five teammates helped the U.S. finish eighth as a team.
The course is a true European cross country course with 7 “features” including a water pit, a mud pit and a sand pit along with a 1,000-foot elevation gain and 10-percent grade hills. A section of the course even takes the competitor across the roof of a Danish museum.
Dubbed the Queen of UCF Distance, Blaney’s name dominates both the cross country and track and field record books. Over her five season-career, she set - and then broke - records from the fall to the spring.
Blaney arrived in Orlando for her freshman season in the fall of 2012. In her first cross country season, she collected a pair of individual titles and set both the freshman 5K and 6K records.
In the spring, she was a member of the indoor and outdoor Conference USA championship squads. Not a bad start to her college career. Blaney continued to get stronger as a sophomore, picking up four cross country individual titles - including the inaugural American Athletic Conference crown.
Over her five-year career, she racked up an astounding 18 weekly league honors. She became the first Knight to qualify for the NCAA Cross Country Championship, which she did in both 2014 and 2016.
The Ocala, Fla, native became UCF's first distance runner to reach All-America status, earning second team accolades in 2016 and first team laurels in 2017. A three-time indoor 5,000-meter and two-time outdoor 10,000-meter champion, she picked up the USTFCCCA National Athlete of the Week award in the fall of 2017.