As the U.S.A Track & Field Olympic Trials draw closer (scheduled to begin June 18 in Eugene, Oregon), athletes are taking full advantage of the racing opportunities leading up to the big meet. On Sunday at the brand-new track facility at Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC), the USATF Golden Games served as a preview of what could unfold in June in a couple distance events.
The most notable performance was Elle Purrier’s decisive win in the 1500 meters, finishing in 3:58.36 to become the sixth-fastest American woman ever at the distance.
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) May 9, 2021
Purrier posted this power pose shot (called a “well-deserved display of dominance” by fellow New Balance runner Abbey Cooper) and shared that she’s “so happy to finally break that sub 4 barrier.” As commentator Kara Goucher put it, she looks “ready to take on the world.”
Gabriela DeBues-Stafford, who came in second in the 1500 meters, shared that she’s feeling positive after the race. “I ran my fastest season opener (earlier than ever too!) after 9months with a new training group, and a relapse with Grave’s [sic],” she posted. Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes an overactive thyroid, and is a diagnosis she shares with her sister, Lucia (who also ran the 1500, placing fifth with a PB of 4:05.30).
The 800 meters also revealed a strong field, though top Trials contenders Ajee’ Wilson and Athing Mu were not competing. Kate Grace and Brenda Martinez finished first and second, respectively, in the “B” heat, in 1:59.72 and 1:59.87. Grace shared on Sunday that when she feels self-doubt, she thinks of her mother, the OG of fitness videos Kathy Smith. “Whenever
I think … that I’m not as young or what gives me the nerve to still be doing this, I think… remember who the eff your mom is.”
In the “A” heat, Raevyn Rogers was fifth in 1:59.66. She shared that she has “tunnel vision” until she’s satisfied, and is thankful for her continued good health.
Maggie Montoya also raced in the Golden Games; she missed the Trials standard in the 5K but hit a personal best by 15 seconds. She retweeted this uplifting sentiment from her coach. Montoya survived a mass shooting earlier this year; setting a PB in her return is a seriously inspirational example of resilience.
I couldn’t be more proud of @maggiemontoya1.
She’s wanted a 5k PR that reflected her fitness for a long time. We both have felt she’s come up short in the past. To do that tonight, given the emotion involved & circumstances it entailed, is beyond incredible.
I’m so happy for her! https://t.co/dEhHWYKR1X
— Richard Hansen (@DrRichardHansen) May 10, 2021
Every race is a chance to gauge fitness or grab Olympic Trials and Olympic time standards, if they’re still on the table. Allyson Felix looked stronger than ever and came in second in the 200 meters.
If you’re anything like us, the Golden Games whetted your appetite for more races. Good news: The American Track League is coming back strong this summer with all 10 meets broadcast on ESPN, starting this Saturday.