Kurt Janssens of Davenport decorates a street sign with small flags along Kirkwood Boulevard before the start of Saturday's Bix 7.

Nothing felt like normality in the 44th edition of the Quad-City Times Bix 7.

An Ethiopian won it for the first time ever, an NCAA champion finished runner-up and only five Kenyans were a part of the men's elite field.

This was not a U.S.-only field. This brought in tons of international talent across the globe battling through the streets of Davenport on Saturday morning.

Yet the Red, White and Blue ran fast and garnered plenty of hardware.

Four Americans placed in the top 10 for the first time in a non-U.S. championship since 1991 led by three athletes from the Zap Fitness running team based out of Blowing Rock, North Carolina.

Andrew Colley placed fourth, Josh Izewski finished eighth, Ryan Mahalsky and Joe Stilin rounded out the top 10.

"I'm proud," Colley said. "It's great to race against them. I'm out to win so anything besides a win is going to be a little disappointing, but with this world class field, you can't help but love racing out here with the people of Davenport."

Both Colley and Izewski were nursing injuries prior to the race, but no one could tell they were hurt.

Colley, a former North Carolina State runner, dealt with an Achilles tendon injury and wasn't sure how it would hold up at the start, running up Brady Street.

It did.

"Luckily, it phased away," Colley said. "On that last part, I let gravity take me and I shut out the Achilles pain. I was worried. I thought 'this is a steep hill' and I got to it and shut my brain off."

Seeing Izewski, a Florida grad, jump out to the front of the pack didn't surprise him.

What did surprise him was how big of a gap there was between the top two and the rest of the field.

Colley figured he'd give it his best shot to track them down, but couldn't catch Leonard Korir and ended up with a fine first Bix 7 performance.

"I was really focused to get to that halfway point," Colley said. "I've not been the strongest downhill so I was excited I was able to finish well. It's just disappointing with where I finished."

Izewski felt his hamstring injury feel good throughout the hilly seven miles, despite it being only his second race back.

“It’s a great race. I hope I can come back and do it," he said. "I love having all those people cheering you on. I feel like I can run faster and just feed off their energy."

Colley is hoping an outing like this can bring more American runners to the forefront and challenge the international field.

"We had a great American contending up there, that was really cool to see," he said. "I think it's time, with the amount of resources us Americans have, to start running with some Kenyans and Ethiopians.

"To be honest, I enjoying running with those guys more."

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