Olympic 800m champion, Athing Mu will lead a deep filed of elite athletes at the Penn Relays that will be held on Saturday (30) at the historic Franklin Field in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.
The star-studded rich field includes Ajee Wilson of the United States, who recently won the World Indoor 800m, and Jamaica’s Natoya Goule, who was a finalist at the Tokyo Olympics.
The 19-year-old last year set a personal best in 800m of 1:55.04 and she also carries the fourth fastest all-time in the 600m of 1:24.13 that she got early this year in Temple, Arizona. Mu also holds an incredible 400m lifetime best of 49.57 that she got last year in Hayward Field.
Mu holds the world U20 best in the Indoor 600m that she set in 2019 when she was 16 years of age. Her time of 1:23.57 is the second fastest ever run Indoors and the second fastest run by an American woman in any condition.
Mu would be a potential threat to the 600m World Record of 1:21.77 that was set in 2017 by Caster Semenya from South Africa.
The 2019 Pan American U20 Champion, will battle for honors with the 2017 World bronze medallist Ajee Wilson, who also took the World 800m Indoor tile early this year. The 27 year-old comes to this race with a lifetime best of 1:25.59 that she got in February. Wilson holds a personal best time in 600m of 1:22.39, which is the second-fastest time of all time.
The 2019 Pan American Games champion, Natoya Goule will also be in contention as she comes with a personal best of 51.52 in 400m and 1:56.15in 800m which is a Jamaican National Record.
The medallists from the men’s Olympic 100m and 200m finals in Tokyo, plus the men’s world indoor 60m final in Belgrade, will all clash in a stacked 100m field announced for the Prefontaine Classic, part of the Wanda Diamond League series, in Eugene on 28 May.
Reigning Olympic champions Marcell Jacobs and Andre De Grasse will go up against Fred Kerley, Kenny Bednarek, Noah Lyles, Marvin Bracy and Christian Coleman, as well as Olympic 100m fifth-place finisher Ronnie Baker, at Eugene’s Hayward Field.
They will all be looking to make their mark ahead of the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 taking place in the same stadium in July.
“I am honoured and excited to be part of this year’s Prefontaine Classic at the University of Oregon in Eugene,” said Italy’s Olympic 100m champion Jacobs, who also claimed the world indoor 60m title in Belgrade last month.
“It’s going to be my first race in the US since the Tokyo Olympics and the adrenaline is already pumping. I can’t wait to feel the track beneath my feet.”
De Grasse won the 100m at last year’s Prefontaine Classic, a few weeks after becoming a three-time Olympic medallist in Tokyo. The Canadian claimed 4x100m silver and 100m bronze in Japan along with his 200m title.
Kerley secured 100m silver between Jacobs and De Grasse in Tokyo, while Bednarek gained silver and Lyles bronze behind De Grasse in the 200m. At the World Athletics Championships Belgrade 22, Jacobs was joined on the podium by silver medallist Coleman and bronze medallist Bracy.
The men’s 100m is the latest in a number of strong fields announced for the Eugene meeting. All three Tokyo Olympic medallists – Athing Mu, Keely Hodgkinson and Raevyn Rogers – will race in the 800m, while champion Mondo Duplantis will take on his fellow Tokyo Olympic medallists Chris Nilsen and Thiago Braz in the pole vault.
Michael Norman, Michael Cherry and Kirani James will race the 400m, while Rai Benjamin and Alison Dos Santos will go head-to-head in the 400m hurdles and the 100m hurdles will pit Keni Harrison against Jasmine Camacho-Quinn. Yaroslava Mahuchikh and Nicola McDermott will renew their rivalry in the high jump.
At the last edition of the Millrose Games nearly two years ago, Elle Purrier St. Pierre won a pitched last-lap battle with Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen in the Wanamaker Mile, setting a new American record of 4:16.85.
Her time was the second-fastest ever indoors by a woman, and was the performance which best telegraphed that she would win the 2021 USA Olympic Trials in the 1500m and qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. It was a memorable day for the 26 year-old from Montgomery, Vermont.
“You know, that was probably one of the most favorite races that I’ve ever run,” Purrier St. Pierre said at a press conference here this morning in advance of tomorrow’s 114th Millrose Games at The Armory in Upper Manhattan. She continued: “I went in without a lot of pressure and had great results. I think just that weekend in general was one of my favorite weekends.”
For tomorrow’s Wanamaker, Purrier St. Pierre will again race against Klosterhalfen, who set a German indoor record of 4:17.26 behind her, and her USA Olympic 1500m teammates, Cory McGee and Heather MacLean among others (Purrier St. Pierre and MacLean are training partners).
The field is deep: eleven of the 13 women in the field have run 4:33 or better for the mile and five have run 4:26 or better. But it is the woman with the slowest personal best in the field who is getting most of the attention as potentially Purrier St. Pierre’s top rival.
Athing Mu, the 2021 Olympic 800m gold medalist (who also won gold in the 4 x 400m relay) decided just four days ago to switch from the 800m to the mile after setting a personal best of 4:37.99 at the Ted Nelson Invitational in College Station, Texas, on January 15. Of course, she holds the American record for 800m, 1:55.04, a mark which is equivalent to a 4:12.04 mile according to the World Athletics middle distance scoring tables.
Mu, who is just 19, may not have a lot of experience in the mile, but it is a distance she was introduced to early in her high school career. As a ninth grader, she won the freshman section of the mile at the New Balance Nationals Indoors at The Armory in 2017, clocking 4:59.48. Later that year, she again won the freshman section of the mile at the New Balance Nationals Outdoors in 5:02.55.
She likes the event, even though her usual “off” distance is the 400m where she’s run a world class 49.57. “I’m doing the mile again; I’m back,” Mu said playfully this morning. “Some people think it’s kind of new. I guess it’s been a couple of years, so I guess it is kind of new. But, I had a little taste of the mile being a freshman in high school and, I don’t know, it’s just good to be back.”
What kind of fitness Mu has right now for running a distance which is more than double her specialty is anyone’s guess, and she offered no predictions. Instead, she paid tribute to Purrier St. Pierre who ran a personal best 3:58.03 in winning the Olympic Trials and finished tenth in Tokyo. “Elle is amazing,” said Mu. “I watched her compete last year. She’s a really good athlete.” She added:
“I’m excited to be in the race with her.” Purrier St. Pierre, who has been training at altitude in Flagstaff, Ariz., with her New Balance Boston coach Mark Coogan, was reluctant to reveal how she was feeling about her fitness. But when asked about a recent workout she did, she projected confidence. “We went down to Phoenix to run at sea level and we did a 1000 and a workout after and it went pretty well,” she offered, before breaking into a knowing smile and then a laugh.
Neither athlete spoke about what pace the race would might out in, but in 2020 the field hit halfway in a fast 2:09.6 and Purrier St. Pierre ran the last quarter mile in 62.2 seconds where she went from fourth place to first. The crowd roared when Purrier St. Pierre passed the tiring Klosterhalfen in the homestretch, and Mu said she was looking forward to that kind of crowd energy after competing in a virtually empty stadium at the Olympics.
“I’m excited to be back,” said Mu who is from Trenton, New Jersey. “It’s been a couple of years. I’ve run on a couple of more indoor tracks, but there’s nothing like The Armory, especially it being right next to home. The crowd is always amazing.”
Kenya’s Michael Saruni will be the star to watch at the Millrose Games, the World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold meeting that will be held on January 29, 2020 in New York City.
Saruni is the African indoor record holder with a time of 1:43.98 that places him as the fastest indoor 800m ever achieved in the US. This time also made him the second-fastest indoor performer at that time.
“It will be really great to come back to The Armory and the Millrose Games where I had such a great winning race,” Saruni said.
The 26 years-old will face off with the seventh fastest world indoor all-time list for 800m, Bryce Hoppel who holds a personal best of 1:44.37. The 24 year-old finished fourth at the 2019 World Championships.
Five other Olympians will take part in this race, including NCAA champion, Isaiah Jewett, Charlie Hunter of Australia, Mexican record-holder Jesus Lopez of Mexico, Spanish record-holder Saul Ordonez and Irish record-holder Mark English. Isaiah Harris, who represented the USA at the 2017 World Championships.
Other top notch athletes to race at the Millrose Games include Olympic shot put champion Ryan Crouser, Donavan Brazier, world 800m champion, world shot put champion Joe Kovacs, Olympic 800m champion Athing Mu, Olympic pole vault champion Katie Nageotte, world indoor pole vault champion Sandi Morris, world 100m hurdles record-holder Kendra Harrison, 2016 world indoor 60m champion Trayvon Bromell, Olympic 200m bronze medallist Gabby Thomas, and Olympic 1500m bronze medallist Josh Kerr.
From Athing Mu and Karsten Warholm on the track, to Peres Jepchirchir and Des Linden on the roads, these runs kept us on the edges of our seats.
After a year of race cancellations in 2020 because of COVID-19, in-person competition returned in a big way in 2021—and with it came a slew of historic performances.
The Tokyo Olympics this summer featured a number of world records and exciting podium finishes. Collegians broke through during their full season comeback to set records and mix it up with pros. And the World Marathon Majors returned with all six races scheduled within 42 days of each other, paving the way for some unprecedented accomplishments in the fall.
With a year’s worth of competition to reflect on, the Runner’s World editors picked 10 races that stood out from the rest. Here are the performances that put us on the edge of our seats in 2021.
Sydney McLaughlin Breaks the World Record—Twice
This year, Sydney McLaughlin solidified herself as the greatest 400-meter hurdler of all time. The then-21-year-old kicked off the championship portion of her season by winning the final at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in 51.90, shattering the world record set by fellow Team USA standout Dalilah Muhammad at the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
In Tokyo, McLaughlin won Olympic gold in 51.46, improving on her world record.
Allyson Felix celebrates winning her 11th Olympic medal.
Allyson Felix becomes the most decorated track star in U.S. history
In her fifth Olympic Games, Allyson Felix clocked two stunning performances. The first was in the women’s 400-meter final when the champion sprinter earned bronze in 49.46, her 10th Olympic medal. The podium finish made her the most decorated female Olympian in track and field, and she passed Merlene Ottey and tied Carl Lewis, who has 10, as the most decorated American athlete in track and field.
Days later, Felix passed Lewis in the record books when she contributed to Team USA’s gold medal in the 4×400-meter relay. With a 49.38-second second lap, Felix maintained the lead for the Americans, who ultimately won in 3:16.85—a time less than two seconds off the world record of 3:15.17.
Karsten Warholm goes into Hulk mode after setting the world record
A few weeks after breaking the previous world record in the men’s 400-meter hurdles, Karsten Warholm shattered the time again by winning Olympic gold in 45.94. The Norwegian came out on top in an all-out sprint to the finish against Team USA’s Rai Benjamin to claim his first Olympic medal and improve on the previous record of 46.70 set in Oslo in July.
Warholm’s performance in Tokyo marked the first time in history that an athlete has run under the 46-second barrier in the 400-meter hurdles. His celebration was also a major highlight; after seeing his time, the 25-year-old was overcome with emotion and ripped apart his jersey.
Molly Seidel takes bronze in the Olympic marathon
In her third 26.2 ever, Molly Seidel became the third American in history and the first since 2004 to earn a podium spot at the Olympic Games. During the marathon in Sapporo, the Notre Dame graduate put in a hard surge with 5K remaining to finish third in 2:27:46.
The breakthrough performance was the latest in a series of successes at the distance. Seidel made her marathon debut at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, where she finished second to make her first Olympic team. In October 2020, she lowered her personal best to 2:25:13 at the London Marathon.
Three months after Tokyo, Seidel improved still by finishing fourth at the New York City Marathon in 2:24:42, bettering the American course record set by Kara Goucher in 2008.
Teenager Athing Mu becomes first American since 1968 to win Olympic gold in the 800 meters
Capping off a season that rewrote the record books, Athing Mu led the women’s 800-meter final wire-to-wire to win Olympic gold. In the process of clocking 1:55.21 in Tokyo, the 19-year-old became the first American gold medalist in the event since Madeline Manning Mims in 1968. She also lowered her own American record.
As a freshman at Texas A&M, she set collegiate records in the 400 and 800 meters before winning two NCAA outdoor titles and later turning pro. The Tokyo Games was Mu’s first open international competition.
Eliud Kipchoge repeats as Olympic champion with huge winning margin
After pulling away from the pack at mile 19, Eliud Kipchoge cruised to victory for the second time to repeat as champion in the men’s marathon at the Olympic Games. In Sapporo, the world record-holder from Kenya finished in 2:08:38, 1:20 ahead of silver medalist Abdi Nageeye of the Netherlands. His winning margin is the biggest since Frank Shorter won the 1972 Olympic marathon.
Peres Jepchirchir wins back-to-back marathons
Just 13 weeks after winning the Olympic women’s marathon, Peres Jepchirchir won the New York City Marathon and became the first person since Shorter in 1972 to earn Olympic gold and then come to a major fall marathon and win again.
The Kenyan finished in 2:27:20 on a sweltering day in Sapporo on August 7, besting world record-holder and countrywoman Brigid Kosgei. On November 7, the two-time half marathon world champion fought off competitors Viola (Lagat) Cheptoo and Ababel Yeshaneh on the final stretch to secure another victory in Central Park. She covered the New York City course in 2:22:39.
Jacob Kiplimo breaks the half marathon world record
On November 21, Jacob Kiplimo lowered the world record by winning the Lisbon Half Marathon in 57:31, a 4:23/mile pace. The Olympic bronze medalist from Uganda improved on the previous world record of 57:32 set by Kibiwott Kandie at the Valencia Half Marathon in December 2020.
Kiplimo raced a mostly solo effort, breaking away from the competition just after 3K, and blazed through the 15K in 40:27—the fastest time ever recorded for the distance. He slowed down slightly in the later stages but held on just enough to dip under the record.
Des Linden sets the 50K record
A little over a year after finishing an agonizing fourth place at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, Des Linden set her sights on a thrilling new challenge: The 50K world record.
On April 13, on a deserted bike path outside of Eugene, Oregon, the two-time Olympian covered 50K (31.06 miles) in 2:59:54, more than seven minutes faster than the previous record of 3:07:20, set by British ultrarunner Aly Dixon in 2019. Linden averaged 5:47/mile pace to set the new record.
Two collegians make the Olympic team in the men’s 1500 meters
The men’s 1500-meter final at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials was a nail-biter, with plenty of exciting buildup to set the stage for an upset and a rivalry.
During the NCAA regular season, then-Oregon runners Cooper Teare and Cole Hocker broke the NCAA indoor mile record by running 3:50.39 and 3:50.55, respectively, on February 12 in Arkansas. In May, Notre Dame runner Yared Nuguse broke the collegiate record in the 1500 meters by clocking a solo 3:34.68 in the first round of the ACC Outdoor Track and Field Championships. In June, Nuguse and Hocker faced off at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, where Hocker out-kicked Nuguse. The middle-distance stars met again two weeks later as only two collegians in the 1500-meter final at the Trials in Eugene, Oregon.
With an all-out sprint down the homestretch, Hocker won the national title in 3:35:28, beating 2016 Olympic champion Matthew Centrowitz, who finished second. Nuguse secured his place on the Olympic team by placing third, but he withdrew from the Games with a quad strain.
Organisers of the Millrose Games have announced that Olympic champion Athing Mu will take on world bronze medallist Ajee Wilson in the 800m at the World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold meeting on 29 January.
Aged just 19, Mu has this year established herself as the best 800m runner in the world and was undefeated at the distance indoors and outdoors. She won Olympic gold in Tokyo, breaking Wilson’s US 800m record, and then earned a second gold medal in the 4x400m. She went on to lower the US 800m record to 1:55.04 when winning at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Eugene.
“Millrose is the ideal place to begin my season,” said Mu, who last week was named by World Athletics as the 2021 Female Rising Star. “The audience brings great energy and I always look forward to the atmosphere and competing at The Armory – It’s iconic.”
Wilson, a six-time Millrose Games champion, has not lost at this meeting since 2013. Wilson broke her own US indoor record at the 2020 Millrose Games, clocking 1:58.29.
“It’s been a while,” Wilson said, referring to last season’s cancelled Millrose Games due to the pandemic. “I’m super excited to return to The Armory for the Millrose Games.”
World and Olympic finalist Natoya Goule-Toppin, the Jamaican record-holder indoors and outdoors, will join Mu and Wilson in the 800m at the Millrose Games.
These 800m stars are the latest big names to be announced for the Millrose Games, following the recent confirmations of Olympic shot put champion Ryan Crouser, world shot put champion Joe Kovacs and US 1500m champions Elle Purrier St Pierre and Cole Hocker.
Tokyo Olympic Games 800m champion, Athing Mu won the female rising star award at the 2021 World Athletics Athletes of the Year on Wednesday 1 December in Monaco, France.
The 19 year-old has had a brilliant year as she crushed her own American record while winning the women’s 800 1:55.04 at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon, improving on the previous time of 1:55.21 which she set while winning the gold medal in Tokyo on August 3.
The American beat a strong field that included Christine Mboma the world 200m women record holder, Silja Kosonen the World U20 Championship Hammer Throw champion and Zerfe Wondemagegn the 3000m Olympian.
Erriyon Knighton (youngest U.S. Olympic male track and field athlete since milerJim Ryun in 1964) won Rising Star awards given to the best U20 athletes.
Tokyo Olympic Games 800m champion, Athing Mu has dominated the 2021 Wing Awards and Athlete of the Year Awards that will be held at the 2021 Night of Legends on Saturday, December 4 in Orlando, Florida.
The voting has now been opened for fans to choose their favorite athlete of the year and the best performer with the Jesse Owens, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and Wing Awards.
USATF will present all awards as part of the Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida The event will also include the USATF National Track and Field Hall of Fame class of 2021 induction ceremony.
The awards have been presented annually since 1981; the Jesse Owens Award and Jackie Joyner-Kersee Award are USA Track & Field highest accolades. This is United States highest award for the sport, it bears Jesse Owens’s name in recognition of his significant career, which included four gold medals at the 1936 Olympic Games.
The winners will be selected by the fans and media by voting to choose their most outstanding male and female athletes, winners are selected by a combination of fan and media votes.
The Wing Awards honor a variety of top performances, including Best Olympics Performance for Track as well as Field, and Breakout Performer.
Two times Olympic 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon will battle with the double Olympic champion in 5000m and 10000m Sifan Hassan at the 2021 World Athletes Female of the Year.
Kipyegon is among the 10 nominees for the female Athlete of the Year, Female World Athlete of the Year who were selected by an international panel of athletics experts, comprising representatives from all six continental areas of World Athletics.
The nominees for 2021 Female World Athlete of the Year are:
Valarie Allman, USA
– Olympic discus champion
– Diamond League discus champion
– North American discus record
Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, PUR
– Olympic 100m hurdles champion
– Broke the Olympic 100m hurdles record
– National record 12.26 moved to equal fourth on the world all-time list
Sifan Hassan, NED
– Olympic 5000m and 10,000m champion
– Olympic 1500m bronze medallist
– Broke the world 10,000m record
Faith Kipyegon, KEN
– Olympic 1500m champion
– Diamond League 1500m champion
– Kenyan 1500m record
Mariya Lasitskene, ANA
– Olympic high jump champion
– Diamond League high jump champion
– Jumped world-leading 2.05m
Sydney McLaughlin, USA
– Olympic 400m hurdles champion
– Olympic 4x400m champion
– Set two world 400m hurdles records
Shaunae Miller-Uibo, BAH
– Olympic 400m champion
– North American 400m record
– North American indoor 400m record
Athing Mu, USA
– Olympic 800m and 4x400m champion
– World U20 indoor 800m record
– North American U20 records at 400m and 800m
Yulimar Rojas, VEN
– Olympic triple jump champion
– Diamond League triple jump champion
– World triple jump record
Elaine Thompson-Herah, JAM
– Olympic 100m, 200m and 4x100m champion
– Diamond League 100m champion
– National 100m and 200m records, second fastest of all time.
The voting process officially began on Thursday, with the World Athletics Council and the World Athletics Family set to cast their votes by email.
For fans, they will be able to vote via the World Athletics social media platforms either by ‘liking’ a graphic of their favourite athlete or via a retweet on twitter.
The 10 nominees for Female World Athlete of the Year 2021 have been announced.
United States Athing Mu crushed her own American record by winning the women’s 800 meters at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon.
Two weeks after the Tokyo Games ended, a pair of Olympic medalists closed out their historic seasons with American records at Hayward Field.
The 19 year-old in crushed her own American record by winning the women’s 800 1:55.04, improving on the previous time of 1:55.21 which she set while winning the gold medal in Tokyo on August 3.
“I knew this was probably going to be a little tougher because [of] coming off the Olympic Games and running a personal best there. So, I wasn’t looking at time, I just wanted to come here and run with whoever is out there and just be competitive,” said Mu.
Because of her front-running style, the competition wasn’t a factor for Mu in her Diamond League debut.