NEW YORK — Elle Purrier ran the second-fastest women’s indoor mile in history, breaking a 37-year-old American record with an eight-second personal best at the Millrose Games on Saturday.
Purrier came from third place going into the final lap to win in 4:16.85, taking seven tenths of a second off Mary Slaney‘s national record. Only Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba‘s world record was faster — 4:13.31 from 2016.
She had no idea of the history she made until her trackside TV interview with NBC Sports’ Lewis Johnson.
“I held on for dear life, kicked as hard as I could,” Purrier said after winning the Wanamaker Mile at the Armory in Manhattan’s Washington Heights. “I’m still trying to grasp it. I’m just so surprised.”
Purrier, 24, came into the meet expecting to lower her personal best of 4:24.88 from last year. The 2018 NCAA indoor mile champion for the University of New Hampshire made her first world championships team last year in the 5000m, finishing 11th in Doha.
“I don’t know if I’m a miler or 5000m runner,” she said before Millrose. “At heart I’m a miler but really enjoying the training for the 5k.”
Purrier, who grew up milking cows on her family’s century-old Vermont dairy farm, set one of three American records at Millrose. The others came in the 800m from world champion Donavan Brazier and world bronze medalist Ajee Wilson.
The indoor season wraps up with the USA Track and Field Indoor Championships in Albuquerque next weekend, airing on NBC Sports.
The world indoor championships, traditionally in early March, were postponed due to the coronavirus in host nation China.
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