With a sensational 62-second final 400 meters, 24-year-old American Elle Purrier smashed the U.S. indoor mile record in 4:16.85 and became the second-fastest woman ever in the event at the Millrose Games on Saturday in New York City.
The time bettered Mary Slaney’s 4:20.5 U.S. record from 1982 by nearly four seconds. Purrier now trails only Genzebe Dibaba (4:13.31) on the women’s indoor all-time list.
🗣ELLE PURRIER ‼️— FloTrack (@FloTrack) February 8, 2020
4:16.85 American Record & second fastest indoor mile EVER!pic.twitter.com/zMTDQfUfKt
Purrier’s breakout victory came in a race where the top four women set national records and all broke 4:20. Konstanze Klosterhalfen (Germany) was second in 4:17.26, with Great Britain’s Jemma Reekie third in 4:17.88 and Canada’s Gabriela Debues-Stafford fourth in 4:19.73. All told, four of the eight fastest indoor miles of all-time were run on Saturday at the Armory, making it the greatest such event in history.
Defending champion Klosterhalfen appeared to have the race won when she gapped the trio of Debues-Stafford, Reekie and Purrier with 200m to run, but the American launched an attack on the back stretch that ultimately allowed her to overpower Klosterhalfen in the final 50 meters.
With the finish line in sight, Purrier, who was 11th in the 5000m this past fall at the world championships, swung into lane two to pass the struggling Klosterhalfen. Aside from just the time, a victory over the German is a significant win for the American as Klosterhalfen was the bronze medalist in the 5000m in Doha.
Not surprisingly, it was a PR party beyond just the top four women. The first seven finishers set personal bests, with Nikki Hiltz (4:24.45), Heather MacLean (4:25.98) and collegiate Dani Jones (4:27.88) finishing in fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively.