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Gabriela DeBues-Stafford’s 1:58.70 800m personal best from the Portland Track Festival on the weekend qualifies her for Canada’s Olympic team. The Bowerman Track Club athlete is expected to compete in the 1500m distance in Tokyo.

Finishing second was Sabrina Southerland who represents Oregon Track Club Elite. She finished in the time of 1:58.82. Kate Grace clocked a 1:59.04 for third. Six women ran under two minutes. The Olympic standard is 1:59.50. A total of five got under the standard, the other two are Chanelle Price and Corey McGee. DeBues-Stafford, Southerland, and Grace are all Nike-sponsored athletes.

DeBues-Stafford, patiently ran through the 400m split in the time o 58.55 in fourth position. Grace led at the bell but didn’t quite have the kick in the end.

It was a new personal best for the 25-year-old Southerland and it was her first time under two minutes for the New York native who ran for the University of Oregon. She is the 2018 NCAA indoor champion at the distance. Grace, in 2016, set her personal best at 1:58.28 at the Zurich Diamond League.

For DeBues-Stafford it was just another strong performance following two years of her record-breaking rampage. She currently owns six national records and has set at least one multiple times. She is the first Canadian to run under four minutes and two minutes in the 1500m and 800m distances.


1500m – 3:56.12 NR
Mile – 4:17.87 NR
5000m – 14:44.12 NR


1500m – 4:00.80 NR
Mile – 4:19.73 NR
5000m – 14:57.45 NR

She is the first Canadian to drop below the four-minute barrier in the 1500m. She took Lynn Kanuka’s long-standing record 4:00.27 from 1985. The 25-year-old is the fifth Canadian to run under the two-minute benchmark in the 800m after Charmaine Crooks, Diane Cummins, Melissa Bishop-Nriagu, and Fiona Benson.

The Toronto native joined the Bowerman Track Club in Oregon in 2020 after a stint in Glasgow, Scotland.

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