© Copyright – 2023 – Athletics Illustrated
Perhaps one day we will get to witness the talented Stafford siblings at a global championship competing in their respective events. Until then, Canadians have Lucia Stafford to cheer on at the 2023 Budapest World Athletics Championships. She appears to be in great form. The London, Ontario native ran her all-time best 1500m performance this spring. Now ranked 20th globally, she may position herself for another lifetime-best performance and perhaps has a shot at making the finals in Budapest. And who knows? Anything can and often does happen in a finals competition.
Currently, her sister Gabriela DeBues-Stafford, the 27-year-old holder of seven national records, is working her way back from a long-time injury.
Lucia Stafford holds one national record in the 1000m indoors at 2:33.75 from January this year. The 24-year-old ran two outdoor bests this season. She ran the 800m going 2:00.47 at the National Track and Field Championships at McLeod Stadium, just outside of Vancouver in Langley. In May, in Drake Stadium in Los Angeles, she clocked a new 1500m best of 4:02.03. Getting so close to sub-two and sub-four are benchmarks that can give the extra motivation for an athlete to go one better. With the Budapest World Athletics Championships happening this summer Lucia Stafford is positioned well to do so. If she did happen to get a sub-four performance in Budapest, she would be the second Canadian to do so behind sister Gabriela. She has run as fast as 3:56.12, which is the national record.
Their younger brother Nicholas, who is just 18 years old, is a runner too. It’s early days for him. Currently, he is considering where to run for university. There is the potential for him to run for the University of Victoria Vikes, where Gabriela lives and trains.
Budapest will feature one of the greatest 1500m fields ever. The race will be headlined by multiple world record holder Faith Kipyegon from Kenya. Kipyegon is having the season of her life. She set three world records in 2023 and holds two African records. She clocked a 3:49.11 during the Diamond League in Florence, Italy in June. She too is near a couple of benchmarks including the 14-minute barrier in the 5000m event. She currently holds the world record at 14:05.20 from the Paris Diamond League meet this summer. Although seven seconds is a ridiculous amount of time in the one-mile race (1609m), Kipyegon put a massive dent in the world record this summer clocking 4:07.64.
She is ranked first in the world in the 1500m. Although there is a large gap between 4:02.03 and 3:49.11, the heats and the final may be tactical. If so, the top three medal positions do not always end up being filled by pre-race favourites — showing up healthy is half the battle.
Gabriela DeBues-Stafford’s bests
800 metres – 1:58.70 (Portland 2021)
1500 metres – 3:56.12 (Doha 2019) NR
One mile – 4:17.87 (Monaco 2019) NR
3000 metres – 8:38.51 (Phoenix 2021)
5000 metres – 14:44.12 (Brussels 2019) NR
1000 metres – 2:42.47 (Ottawa 2016)
1500 metres – 4:00.80 (New York 2020) NR
One mile – 4:19.73 (Millrose Games 2020) NR
3000 metres – 8:33.92 (New York 2022) NR
5000 metres – 14:31.38 (Boston 2022) North, Central American and Caribbean record
Lucia Stafford’s bests
800 metres – 2:00.47 (Langley 2023)
1000 metres – 2:38.73
1500m – 4:02.03
800 metres – 2:11.28 (Toronto 2015)
800 metres – 2:03.69 (Geneva, OH 2018)
1000 metres – 2:33.75 (Boston Univ. 2023) AR NR
1500 metres – 4:04.29 (New York 2023)