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March is a transitory month for running, as it marks the end of the indoor track season and the start of outdoors, while road racers gear up for spring marathons. The highlight of this past weekend was the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, while the New York City Half Marathon and the LA Marathon were also held. Here’s everything you missed from a busy weekend in athletics.
World Indoor Championships Are Highlighted By Ajee’ Wilson’s First World Title
One of the top half-milers in the world since her precocious world championships debut as a teenager, Ajee’ Wilson, now 27, has won four global medals in the 800 meters. In Belgrade this weekend at the World Indoor Championships, she finally won her first gold medal in the event. In fourth place at the bell, Wilson slingshot past the field with a stunning 29.55 final lap to win by one and a half seconds in 1:59.09. Freweyni Hailu of Ethiopia earned silver in 2:00.54 and reigning world outdoor champion Halimah Nakaayi of Uganda was third in 2:01.00.
In the 3,000 meters, Elle Purrier St. Pierre won her first global championship medal with a silver medal performance. She finished in 8:42.04, just behind world champion Lemlem Hailu of Ethiopia, who ran 8:41.82 for gold. Fellow Ethiopian Ejgayehu Taye earned bronze in 8:42.23, while Canada’s Gabriela DeBues-Stafford, who trains in Portland, Oregon, with the Bowerman Track Club, was fourth in 8:42.89. American Alicia Monson was seventh.
The result was a silver lining for Purrier St. Pierre, who had originally planned to contest the 1,500 meters at worlds but failed to make the team for the United States. The 3,000 meters was her back-up plan—and it paid off.
The United States also picked up double medals in the pole vault, thanks to a gold and silver finish by Sandi Morris and Katie Nageotte, and in the 60 meter dash, which saw Mikiah Brisco and Marybeth Sant-Price earn silver and bronze in 6.99, and 7.04, respectively. Both Brisco and Sant-Price are currently unsponsored.
Senbere Teferi Sets New Event Record at New York City Half Marathon
On a brand-new course, Ethiopia’s Senbere Teferi set a new event record in winning the New York City Half Marathon in 1:07:35—though the win was not without drama. Teferi and Kenya’s Irine Cheptai pulled away from the field during the climb up Manhattan Bridge before the 8k mark. It quickly became a two-woman race and, even with 400 meters to go, both runners were straining neck-and-neck. With just under 100 meters to go, a lead vehicle drove through an opening in the barricade and Teferi started to follow, losing valuable seconds, before realizing her mistake. She was still able to overtake Cheptai by two seconds for the win in 1:07:35 to 1:07:37.
“The car that was in front of us turned that way and I thought I was supposed to follow him,” Teferi said through a translator, according to Race Results Weekly. “I started to go after him, but they told me, no, you’re not supposed to go this way, and I turned back.”
Lindsay Flanagan was the top American in fifth place, running 1:09:50. She will next compete at the Paris Marathon in two weeks.
Several top marathoners also used the race as a tune-up for the Boston Marathon in April. Of those runners, Charlotte Purdue from the UK was the top finisher in sixth place overall (1:09:57). Natasha Wodak of Canada (7th, 1:10:01), Edna Kiplagat of Kenya (9th, 1:10:22) and Stephanie Bruce of the United States (10th, 1:10:26) will also compete in Boston.
Delvine Meringor Wins LA Marathon, Earning $10,000 Bonus For Beating the Men
Delvine Meringor earned a big payday on Sunday at the LA Marathon, as the 29-year-old won the women’s title by more than five minutes in 2:25:03.27 and also won a $10,000 bonus in the equalizer race against the men—who started 16 minutes behind the women. Meringor represents Romania, though she has competed for Kenya in the past. Antonina Kwambai of Kenya was second in 2:30:13, while Biruktayit Eshetu Degefa was third in 2:31:29.
The top American finisher was Amanda Phillips in fifth place, who ran 2:35:06.75 to qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials. She competed in the 2020 Trials, but dropped out at 18 miles due to injury.