Saturday’s New Balance Grand Prix in New York City was the biggest day of the year for Canadian track athletes so far, as seven runners lined up to race. Julie-Anne Staehli led the way for the Canadian contingent, running to a third-place finish and national record in the two-mile (3,200m) race with a 9:22.66 performance. Staehli’s fellow Canadians Marco Arop and Justyn Knight joined her in running to the podium and climbing high up the national rankings in their respective races.
National Record for Julie-Anne Staehli 🥳🥳🥳8:47 through 3k!!!! pic.twitter.com/Qu7iVkYXZz
— EmilySetlack (@Emilysetlack1) February 13, 2021
Staehli’s record run
In 2020, Staehli ran the second-fastest indoor 3,000m in Canadian history, posting a time of 8:47.97 at a meet in Boston. She was just over a second off Jessica O’Connell‘s national record of 8:46.50. On Saturday, Staehli got even closer to the mark set by O’Connell, passing through 3K in 8:47.73 en route to her 9:22.66 two-mile result. While she fell short of the 3,000m record, Staehli shattered O’Connell’s Canadian two-mile national best, which previously stood at 9:36.79. This is the first Canadian record of Staehli’s career.
Staehli finished in third behind Americans Emma Coburn and Elle Purrier. Coburn ran to a two-mile PB of 9:15.71, while Purrier hammered out a world-leading time and American record of 9:10.28.
Knight and Arop run to second-best times
Knight also raced the two-mile, and while he didn’t break the Canadian record, he came pretty close. Knight took the win in 8:13.92, finishing just off the national record of 8:13.16, which Mohammed Ahmed set in 2017. This is a world-leading time for the two-mile in 2021, and Knight closed his second mile in a staggering 4:02. Like Staehli, he beat his 3,000m indoor personal best before closing the final 200m of his race, and he now owns a PB of 7:44.61, which is fourth-best in the Canadian all-time rankings.
Arop raced the 1,000m, and he, too, finished just shy of a national record. He crossed the line in 2:17.10, less than a second behind Nate Brannen‘s 2:16.87 Canadian best from 2014. Arop finished in second place, just after American Bryce Hoppel took the win in an American indoor 1,000m record of 2:16.27.
Nice win for @justyn_knight over Two Miles in a world-leading 8:13.92.
— NB Indoor Grand Prix (@NBIndoorGP) February 13, 2021
Kieran Lumb also raced the two-miler (he finished in sixth in 8:22.03), Khamica Bingham ran to a 7.29 result in the women’s 60m, Mariah Kelly posted a near-PB time of 4:10.84 in the 1,500m and Lindsey Butterworth ran to fourth place in the 800m, running 2:03.91.