And Then There Were Two
American records, that is, for professional runner Elle Purrier ’18, who on Feb. 13 demolished the previous women’s indoor two-mile record of 9:18.35, running a blazing 9:10.28 at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in New York. It was the fastest women’s two-mile time in the world this year and the third-fastest ever, and it comes just 12 months after Purrier took down another American record: On Feb. 9, 2020, she ran a 4:16.85 indoor mile to eclipse the record held by Mary Decker Slaney since 1982 — 37 years earlier.
Elle Purrier running through the finish line
Justin Britton
At the time, Purrier was well-positioned to contend for a spot on the 2020 U.S. Olympic team, scheduled for Tokyo last summer. Instead, the COVID-19 pandemic sent her home to Montgomery, Vermont, where she continued training, worked on her family’s dairy farm — and married high school sweetheart Jamie St. Pierre. In an interview with NBC Sports following her Feb. 13 record-setting performance, the six-time NCAA All-American and 2018 NCAA mile champion described the trade-off as “bittersweet.”

“I’m very grounded there and I can’t thank everybody at home enough for the support they’ve given me,” Purrier says. “I’m glad that I have these two parts of my life. Growing up on the farm has been a huge asset to my career and vice-versa.”

—Kristin Waterfield Duisberg