Meet the Vermont Runners on the Rise

These Vermont runners have logged some serious miles in the last year—whether on the track or in marathon events. Here are a few Vermont athletes to watch this running season.

The Record Breaker to Watch

With the 2020 Summer Olympic Games slated to run July 24 through Aug. 9 in Tokyo, Japan, some Vermont runners are vying for a spot on Team USA. 

In case you may have missed it, Montgomery-raised runner Elle Purrier just shattered the

Elle Purrier’s favorite moment of 2019? Running at thehToyota Track and Field National Championships where she qualified for the Worlds. Photo by Victor Sailer

American women’s record for the indoor mile. On Feb. 8, she ran a 4:16:85 mile at the Millrose Games in New York—the second fastest time ever logged for an indoor mile.

Just a week later, the 11-time All-American and University of New Hampshire graduate took fourth place in the 3000m at the USA Track & Field Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, N.M. on Valentine’s Day, with a time of 8:56:56. 

The United States Olympic Trials for track and field are determined entirely by performance on the track. The United States may send the top three athletes in a given discipline who meet the Olympic qualifying standard. 

Purrier’s usual events are the 1500m and 5000m and she’s poised to qualify for a spot on the 2020 USA Olympic Team in both at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Track & Field June 19-28 in Eugene, Or.

In the 5000m, Elle is currently the top-ranked American woman, with a PR of 14:58.17, set Oct. 5, 2019 at the World Championships in Doha, Qatar—proof that the 25-year-old has a knack for performing under pressure. 

With an indoor PR of 4:00.20 in the 1500m and an outdoor PR of 4:06.00, Purrier is likely to beat the Olympic qualifying time of 4:06.00. Though she’s the sixth-ranked American woman in this category, her best times put her close to the frontrunners. 

For more about Elle Purrier, see our profile of her from the January 2020 issue, here.

Marathon Women

This Weekend on Feb. 29, three Vermont women competed in the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials

Long distance runner Kasie Enman runs near her home in Huntington. Photo by Oliver Parini

in early March: Heidi Caldwell, Meagan Boucher and Kasie Enman all qualified at the “B Team” level, having earned at least a time of 2:45:00 in a qualifying marathon. The trials will be held in Atlanta, Ga.

For context, the top-seeded racer was Jordan Hasay, who entered the trials with a qualifying time of 2:20:57. 

Caldwell, who was born on a leap year and so turned “7” (she actually turned 28) on the day of the trial, came into the race with a PR of 2:42:24 earned in October 2019 at the Hartford Marathon. She’s also the Running Director for Craftsbury Outdoor Center and, in her first trail ultra race ever, won the 25K at the Catamount Ultra in June 2019.

Meagan Boucher, 29, of St. Johnsbury came in with a qualifying time of 2:42:24 from the Oct. 2018 Bay State Marathon in Lowell, Mass., and Enman, 40, of Huntington, came in with a qualifying time of 2:44:09 from the California International Marathon in Sacramento, Calif. In Dec. 2019. 

Enman is a three-time winner of the Vermont City Marathon and has competed in the Olympic trials in the past.  

Barefoot.. and Fast!

On Feb. 23, 36-year-old Teage O’Connor took third place in the 5000m at the USA Track & Field New England Indoor Championships in Boston, running the course in 14:56.37. What made O’Connor’s run all the more impressive is that while many of the competitors were wearing the  (whom we profiled in the May, 2018 edition of Vermont Sports) Nike Vaporfly, the controversial shoe worn by Eliud Kipchoge when he broke the two-hour marathon record last fall, Teage was not. In fact, he wasn’t wearing any shoes. True to style, the Burlington educator who set the world record for running 100 kilometers barefoot in 2017, running on the University of Vermont track, ran barefoot

Burlington educator Teage O’Connor was all smiles after winning the 2017 Vermont City Marathon.

Featured Photo: Featured Photo Caption: Heidi Caldwell is just as at home running long mountain trails like the Presidential Ridge in New Hampshire’s White Mountains as coaching on the track at Craftsbury Outdoor Center. Photo courtesy Heidi Caldwell

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