March 23, 2004
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Former Yale track and cross country stars Kate and Laura O'Neill were members of Team USA at the 2004 IAAF World Cross Country Championships on Mar. 20. Kate was Team USA's top finisher in the senior women's long course race. She placed 15th overall with a time 28:37. Laura was 38th overall with a time of 29:27.
The races at Ossegem Park in Laken Brussels were held under cloudy skies with temperatures in the low 50s. Competitors also had to deal with breezy conditions and a steady drizzle, along with an occasional downpour. The moisture caused the course to become wet and slippery with numerous patches of mud.
"It was sort of crazy with the crowd and the mud," Kate said. "I couldn't get a sense of pace, so I tried to make it hurt the whole way, and put as much effort into it as I could in the places you could, because it was muddy in some spots, and you had to anticipate those spots and go fast when the footing was good. Luckily, things worked out pretty well. I thought it paid off to swing out and run on firmer ground."
Team USA placed fifth overall in senior women's long course race.
Said Laura, "I knew it was going to be really crowded in the beginning and pretty muddy. It was fun running with the mud splashing, and I am pretty happy with my performance. It was really neat hearing people cheer in different languages. It's the most challenging course I've ever been on."