Rowbury's performance landed her a fifth-place finish in the race, which was won by Olympic 10K champion and 10K world record-holder Almaz Ayana. Ayana closed for a winning time of 14:18.89 and Rowbury followed 20 seconds later for a 10-second improvement on her own personal best.
"I didn't run the 5K for two years, but ran very relaxed today," Rowbury said, according to Brussels Diamond League flash quotes. "I knew I was the fastest of my little group at the end. My training was way better than when I ran 14:48 so I knew I could beat the national record."
Initially, the race was meant to be paced for Ayana to break the world record of 14:11, but the pacers went out slower than the prescribed splits of 2:50 or 1K and 5:40 for 2K. While Ayana ran behind the pacers who fell off pace -- 5:49 through 2K and 8:45 through 3K -- Rowbury led the chase pack behind the leaders. As Ayana opened up a gap just after 3K, Rowbury moved up from seventh to fifth by the finish line.
The Nike Oregon Project standout received worthy consolation with her American record in Brussels after finishing a heartbreaking fourth in the 1500m final at the Olympic Games three weeks ago.
Rowbury also owns the 1500m American record after running 3:56.29 at last year's Monaco Diamond League meeting. She broke Mary Decker's American record which stood for 35 years.