This Sunday is the Eugene Diamond League and Prefontaine Classic, and the 1,500m has an insane field. Most notably for Canadians, two of the finest middle distance runners in our history, Gabriela DeBues-Stafford and Melissa Bishop-Nriagu are entered in the meet.
DeBues-Stafford has had an incredible 2019, running a personal best every time she steps on the track and setting three new Canadian records in the process. Bishop-Nriagu, who’s an Olympic and World Championship finalist, is running her first season since giving birth to her daughter Corinne in summer 2018.
Bishop-Nriagu opened her season with a 4:09 1,500m at the Johnny Loaring Classic in Windsor, which was a new personal best. She followed up the performance with a dominant 800m at the Guelph Inferno, where she set a new meet record at 2:01:10. She was scheduled to race the Harry Jerome Classic last week, but scratched due to a hamstring injury. She will be pacing this extremely strong women’s field.
DeBues-Stafford, on the other hand, has been racing for months. She had a very successful indoor season, where she set both the Canadian mile and 5,000m indoor records, and went on to break the Canadian outdoor 5,000m record. DeBues-Stafford is currently on the hunt for the Canadian 1,500m record, which she came painfully close to breaking just one week ago at the Rabat Diamond League. She was only 0.2 seconds off the record held by Lynn Kanuka at 4:00.26.
DeBues-Stafford is facing an extremely elite group that includes NCAA champion Jessica Hull, NCAA cross-country champion Dani Jones, world championship medallist Laura Muir, American champion Shelby Houlihan, and Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon.
DeBues-Stafford is hunting to break that elusive 4:00.00 barrier and Bishop-Nriagu will be helping her get there. The event runs at 2:31 p.m. PT. You can stream the event live and for free at CBC.ca.