Gabriela DeBues-Stafford became the first Canadian woman to run under four minutes for the 1,500m on Thursday at the Zurich Diamond League. The now six-time Canadian record breaker beat 1,500m world record holder Genzebe Dibaba in the final 100m to snag third place in the race and a new Canadian record.
Her new record of 3:59.59 is her sixth record of 2019. She broke Lynn Kanuka’s 1,500m of 4:00.27 only five weeks ago in London.
Stafford began her record board rewrite in January of this year, opening her season with a 5,000m Canadian record. She then followed that up with a new indoor mile record, and ran her first-ever outdoor 5,000m at the Stockholm Diamond League, where she set a third Canadian record. Her fourth Canadian record came in Monaco where she ran the new outdoor mile record in 4:17.87.
DeBues-Stafford broke her own record today so her name will only appear on the record boards five times, but she has set six new Canadian marks in 2019. Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands won the race in 3:57.08.
To make this record even more impressive, Thursday’s race in Zurich was far from smooth. The pack went out extremely fast in 61 seconds, slowed to 66 seconds on the second lap and then slowed to nearly a stop on lap three. DeBues-Stafford handled every pace change perfectly and remained composed throughout the entire race, making her big move with about 70 metres to go.
In the men’s 800m, American Donovan Brazier went from second-last through 400m to winning the Diamond League final. The race went out extremely fast, with the leaders coming through in 48 seconds. Brazier timed his race perfectly and slowly made his way through the pack to take the win in the final 20 metres. He finished in a personal best time of 1:42.70 which is just off the American record 1:42.60.
Canadian Brandon McBride ran a season’s best which was also within three tenths of a second of Canadian record, finishing third in 1:43.51. McBride is fresh off of a Diamond League win in Paris last week.
The women’s steeplechase was hugely overcooked in the first 1K which lead to a slow (by Diamond League standards) final. After coming through the first kilometre in 2:51, which is nearly 15 seconds ahead of world record pace, the leaders slowed dramatically. Canadian Gen Lalonde did not finish. Beatrice Chepkoech won in 9:01.71.