World 5000m finalist Elle Purrier provided the unexpected highlight of the Millrose Games in New York on Saturday (8), winning the women’s Wanamaker Mile in a North American indoor record of 4:16.85, the second-fastest indoor performance in history.
In what proved to be the greatest depth women’s indoor mile ever, the two women who followed Purrier across the finish line – Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen and Britain’s Jemma Reekie – also moved into the top five on the world indoor all-time list, clocking national indoor records of 4:17.26 and 4:17.88 respectively.
In fourth, Gabriela DeBues-Stafford set a Canadian indoor record of 4:19.73, also inside the previous North American indoor record of 4:20.5 that had stood to Mary Tabb since 1982.
Purrier and Reekie took turns at the front over the first few laps before Klosterhalfen assumed the lead for most of the rest of the race, passing 800m in 2:08.19 and 1000m in 2:40.43. The world 5000m bronze medallist still led as they approached the final lap with DeBues-Stafford sitting in second place about four metres adrift, just ahead of Purrier and Reekie.
Purrier, known for her strong finish, moved into second place on the back straight and continued to make up ground on Klosterhalfen, dragging Reekie with her. She moved up a gear as she came off the final bend and strode past the German, crossing the line in 4:16.85.
“This is only my second race of the year so far, so I wasn’t really sure of my fitness,” said Purrier, who won over two miles at the World Athletics Indoor Tour meeting in Boston two weeks ago. “On the second-to-last lap I started feeling a bit more confident and tried to make a move. I wasn’t looking at the splits and was just focused on competing. I just competed, it was a huge shock. I ran a pretty similar time on the roads (4:17), but doing it on the track is totally different. I hadn’t thought of the American record at all.”
The first four finishers also set 1500m PBs en route. Klosterhalfen set a German indoor 1500m record of 3:59.87, Purrier clocked 4:00.20, just 0.22 shy of the North American indoor record, Reekie broke training partner Laura Muir's British indoor record with 4:00.52 and DeBues-Stafford ran a Canadian indoor best of 4:00.80.
Brazier and Wilson improve own continental records
Donavan Brazier and Ajee Wilson both shaved a bit of time off their own North American indoor records for 800m.
Brazier, the world 800m champion, hit the front with 200 metres to go and covered the final circuit in 24.89 seconds to win in 1:44.22, taking 0.19 off the North American indoor record he set when finishing second at last year’s Millrose Games. He ran significant negative splits too, covering the first half in 53.04 and the second in 51.18.
Bryce Hoppel, winner of the 1000m in Boston two weeks ago, finished second in 1:45.70.
Wilson was similarly dominant in the women’s event. After the field was paced through 400m in 56.22, Jamaica’s Natoya Goule led at 600m, reached in 1:28.16 with Wilson close behind in second. The world bronze medallist then eased into the lead and kicked on to win in 1:58.29, moving from 19th to 13th on the world indoor all-time list. Goule finished second in 1:59.35.
World leads for Crouser and Morris
Olympic shot put champion Ryan Crouser got his 2020 campaign off to a strong start, throwing within 14 centimetres of the meeting record he set last year.
He led from the outset, opening with 21.24m – a mark that was equalled by world champion Joe Kovacs – before improving to 21.59m in round three. Kovacs went out to 21.34m, his best of the night, but Crouser improved to 21.69m and then a world-leading 22.19m in round five.
The 27-year-old now owns three of the 10 best indoor marks in history.
World indoor champion Sandi Morris entered the pole vault at 4.50m, a height which no other competitor managed to clear. She then sailed over 4.65m on her second attempt, 4.75m on her first and then 4.81m on her second before nailing 4.91m on her first try.
The world silver medallist ended her series by attempting a would-be world record height of 5.04m but, unlike Armand Duplantis in Torun a few hours earlier, was ultimately unsuccessful.
World indoor champion Kendra Harrison won the 60m hurdles in 7.90, 0.06 ahead of world champion Nia Ali.
World indoor bronze medallist Ronnie Baker made a welcome return to indoor action, clocking 6.54 to win the men’s 60m from Boston winner Demek Kemp (6.56). Javiane Oliver won the women’s event in 7.13.
Elsewhere, world 400m hurdles silver medallist Rai Benjamin won the 300m in a meeting record of 32.35 and Wadeline Jonathas took the 400m in 51.93. Britain’s Chris O’Hare regained his Wanamaker Mile title from two years ago, winning by almost a second in 3:55.61.
Millrose Games honoured with Heritage Plaque
The Millrose Games became the latest meeting to be presented with a World Athletics Heritage Plaque.
In recognition of the illustrious history of the NYRR Millrose Games and Wanamaker Mile, Armory Foundation Co-Presidents Rita Finkel and Jonathan Schindel and NYRR CEO Michael Capiraso accepted the award from USATF CEO Max Siegel and USATF COO Renee Washington.
"The Armory is the proud recipient of the World Athletics prestigious Heritage Award this year for the NYRR Millrose Games and the Wanamaker Mile," said Schindel. "The World Athletics Heritage Plaque honours iconic and historic athletics competitions around the world, and The Armory is so pleased to be among such a select group of honorees."