2020 Millrose Games Wannamaker Mile: Four nations, four national records

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The 2020 Millrose Games proved once again to be one of the premier indoor track meets in the world.

Oh, those boards.

American Elle Purrier demonstrated a whole new level of fitness in the good old fashioned 1609-metre imperial mile by running an off-the-hook 4:16.85 to win the Wanamaker Mile. It is a national record and just happens to be the second-fastest indoor time, all-time.

Purrier did it by out-sprinting Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen, who is the 2019 Doha World Championships bronze medallist in the 5,000m event. Purrier’s superior kick also put her in front of Scot Jemma Reekie who ran a stunning new personal best of 1:57.91, 800m event the week prior in Glasgow. That performance is nearly four seconds faster than her outdoors time (2:01.45).

Purrier, known for her kick, slipped into second place during the final lap and caught up to Klosterhalfen, bringing Reekie along for the ride. Around the final bend she whipped past the Klosterhalfen for the win.

For the 24-year-old American, her best outdoors is a comparably pedestrian 2:03.55 – that will change this spring.

Canadian Gabriela DeBues-Stafford finished fourth.

Purrier, Klosterhalfen, Reekie and DeBues-Stafford all set new national records for their four respective countries.

They broke Mary Tabb’s 1982 record of 4:20.50.

Klosterhalfen ran 4:17.26. The former record was 4:19.98

Gabriela DeBues-Stafford has taken taken the Canadian record book and has simply shredded the pages over the past year.

She has broken national records at least 10 times since January 2019.

On January 4, 2020, she ran a new 5,000m indoor record of 14:57.45. She bookended (to date) the spree with two records during the Wannamaker Mile, she also took the metric mile (1500m) record on the way to the mile record with a 4:00.08 and a 4:19.73 performance, respectively.

During the world championships in Doha, she ran a 3:56.12 1500m in October. During the Diamond League, she took advantage of the fast fields for several more records including a mile time of 4:17.87 in Fontvieille, Monaco in July. In Brussels, Belgium, she ran a new national record in the 5,000m distance 14:44.12.

She had previously broken the indoor mile at the New Balance Grand Prix in Boston, achieving a time of 4:24.00. Debues-Stafford broke Lynn Kanuka’s 1500m record that was standing since 1988, by running 1/100th of a second faster at 4:00.26 in July.

In August, she became the first Canadian to break the four-minute barrier in the 1500m distance by running 3:59.59. The metric mile records happened during meets in London and Zurich.

Twice she bettered the outdoors 5,000m record with a 14:51.59, then that 14:44.12 performance in May and September, respectively. The first record took place in Stockholm, for a total of 10 records in six events over 13 months.

There are more records to come including possibly the 3,000m indoor and outdoor, 800m indoors and perhaps to challenge Melissa Bishop’s 800m outdoor time, which should be the most difficult to consider.

In the men’s Wannamaker Mile race, Brit Chris O’Hare won the Wanamaker Mile in the time of 3:55.61. He had a big lead in the final lap. Australia’s Olli Hoare was second with his 3:56.47.

O’Hare was getting over a cold the weeks leading up to the event.

American Donavan Brazier broke his own national 800m record winning in the time of 1:44.22, bettering his 1:44.41 performance from the 2019 edition.