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Canadians to watch at the 2020 Millrose Games

What events to watch and who to look for this weekend in New York City

This Saturday, February 8, the track world heads to New York City for the 2020 Millrose Games. Year after year, this event attracts strong fields and produces exciting competitions–like in last year’s men’s mile, in which Yomif Kejelcha missed the mile world record by just 0.01 seconds.

This year there are a number of Canadians set to compete at the Armory Track in New York, some of whom are serious threats to win their events.

Women’s 3,000m — Saturday at 4:39 p.m. 

Three Canadian women will line up for the 3,000m race this weekend. Regan Yee is fresh off a win at the Washington Indoor Preview 3,000m in Seattle, where she ran a 8:58.25 PB to open her season. Yee represented Canada at the 2019 Pan Am Games in the 3,000m steeplechase, where she placed fifth, and she also competed in the same event at the 2019 Track and Field World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

Jessica O’Connell is the current national record-holder in the women’s 3,000m, and she, too, will be racing this weekend. O’Connell set the Canadian record at the 2019 Millrose Games, where she ran to a third-place finish in 8:46.50. O’Connell represented Canada in Rio at the 2016 Olympics, and, like Yee, she competed in Lima last summer at the Pan Am Games, where she won a silver medal in the 5,000m. O’Connell also just ran a Canadian record over two miles in 9:36.79 at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston on January 25, so she is firing on all cylinders and likely ready to go in New York.

Julie-Anne Staehli is the third Canadian in the women’s 3,000m this weekend, and she is coming off a new PB of  8:47.97, which she set just a few weeks ago at the John Thomas Terrier Classic in Boston, where she won the 3,000m by over 20 seconds. This time was just over one second off O’Connell’s national record, and she will certainly be looking to make a push for another PB this weekend.

Men’s 3,000m — Saturday at 4:56 p.m.

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Justyn Knight will be the only Canadian competing in the 3,000m this Saturday. With a personal best time of 7:45.86, the 2017 NCAA cross-country champion has the second-fastest PB in the field, just behind American Hassan Mead, who has run a 7:38.85. Knight has already competed on the Armory Track this year, racing the Dr. Sander meet on January 25, running the mile, which he won in 3:59.32.

Women’s 400m — Saturday at 5:15 p.m.

Maya Stephens is the only non-American lining up for the women’s 400m this weekend at the Armory Track. Like Knight, Stephens also competed at Dr. Sander earlier this year, placing second in the women’s 200m. More recently, she won the women’s 400m race at the Villanova Invitational, also in New York City. After opening her season with two good showings in the Big Apple, she’ll look to use that momentum this weekend. 

Women’s Mile — Saturday at 5:33 p.m.

Gabriela DeBues-Stafford is the lone Canadian in this year’s Wannamaker Women’s Mile. Her Canadian indoor mile record of 4:24.80, which she set just last year in Boston, is the second-fastest PB in the field. DeBues-Stafford’s is behind only Konstanze Klosterhalfen of Germany, who set her PB of 4:19.98 when she won last year’s Millrose Games mile.

DeBues-Stafford broke eight Canadian records last year. After such a thrilling 2019 season, she is certainly an athlete everyone should be watching heading into the Olympics this summer, and she very well could take home the win this weekend in New York.

Men’s Mile — Saturday at 5:50 p.m.

Unfortunately, no Canadians will be racing the men’s mile this weekend. The mile races are the featured events at the Millrose Games, however, and so this is not a race you want to miss. As mentioned above, last year’s mile saw a performance that was as close to record-breaking as a runner can get without actually setting a world best time. This year’s race will feature Nick Willis of New Zealand, a two-time Olympic medallist, and Filip Ingebrigtsen of the famous Norwegian running family.
Regardless of who’s racing, the Millrose Games are always fun and exciting, and this year will undoubtedly provide incredible results, too. So get ready for some quick racing, and (hopefully) a few Canadian podiums and PBs.