Elle Purrier, one of Vermont Sports‘ 10 Athletes of the Year, just earned herself another entry in the history books.
On Saturday, Feb. 13, in a race that had Purrier running so far ahead of the second-place finisher it looked like she was running her own race, the daughter of two Montgomery, Vt. dairy farmers set a new U.S. record and posted the third-fastest time in history for a woman to run 2 miles.
Just a year after smashing the American indoor record in the women’s mile, Purrier ran two miles in an equally blistering time of 9:10.28, more than 8 seconds off Jenny Simpson’s two-mile American record. The event, the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, was held without crowds using a Covid-safe protocols at the Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex on Staten Island in New York City.
Purrier and Emma Coburn of Crested Butte, Colo. ran together through the mile at around 4:42, and were virtually inseparable with a half-mile remaining. Purrier started to move away and stretched the gap to more than a second before polishing off her record run with a 63.98 final quarter. Her en route 3,000m clocking of 8:36.41 makes her No. 5 on the all-time U.S. performer list.
Coburn was also better than Simpson’s record, finishing second in 9:15.71 to take over the No. 8 position on the world all-time performer list. She moved to seventh on the U.S. 3,000m list all-time with an 8:39.19 en route.
Purrier married her long-time sweetheart and neighboring dairy farmer Jamie St. Pierre in September and, during Covid-19, had been spending more time in Vermont training on the backroads she ran as a kid. As a high-schooler, Purrier would wake up to milk her family’s dairy cows. At Richford High School, she won every state championship and went on to become the University of New Hampshire’s most decorated athlete. After graduating, in 2018 she turned pro and joined the New Balance team out of Boston.
This past summer, Purrier also helped with the Free Milk program, helping families in need. She also watched as her family’s last dairy cows were sold off. “Being home… I feel more grounded,” Purrier told NBC after her stunning win.
Purrier is a likely contender for the 2021 Olympics, resheduled from 2020. The U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials are scheduled for June, in Eugene, Or. Purrier is expected to compete in the 1500 meter and, possibly, the 5000 meter event.
Strict covid-19 protocols were in place and no spectators in attendance at Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex. The replay is now available on-demand on NBC’s Peacock TV.