Move over, Johnny Gray—Donavan Brazier is the new indoor 800m American record holder.
The 21-year-old Nike Oregon Project runner ran 1:44.41 to finish second on Saturday at the Millrose Games in New York City while smashing Gray’s 1:45.00 record that had stood since 1992.
Brazier was tracked down in the final meters at the Armory by Kenyan Michael Saruni— whose 1:43.98 is the fastest time indoors since 1997 and #2 on the all-time indoor list. Saruni’s time is just the third sub-1:44 indoor performance in history, as world record holder Wilson Kipketer— who owns the top two marks of 1:42.67 and 1:43.96— was previously the only man to do so.
The pace was electric from the gun, and as Brazier crossed 400m in a mind-blowing 49.89, it was clear that the record watch was on. Saruni lingered back in 50.41, but a 26.22 third lap split inched him closer as the two former NCAA champs hit the bell.
Brazier was undoubtedly gassed from going out so hard, while Saruni timed his move perfectly. His blistering last lap split of 27.36 allowed him run down Brazier, who could only manage a 28.20 close. A thrilling last lap capped off what was arguably the greatest indoor 800m race in history.
While Saruni stole the show, Brazier will no doubt revel in becoming the first American to finally take down a Johnny Gray-held 800m record; Gray’s outdoor 800m U.S. record of 1:42.60 has stood since 1985.
The 1:44.41 moves Brazier up to the No. 5 spot on the all-time indoor list.