The indoor track season is well underway, and this past weekend it continued to produce exciting results at a number of meets around the world. Lucia Stafford kicked the weekend off with the second-fastest indoor 1,500m in Canadian history, Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith doubled up for a pair of wins in the debut race weekend of her 2021 season and NCAA star Christian Noble set his second Division II record in two weeks. We’ve got those results and more from the final weekend of what was a very fast and very entertaining January.
Stafford’s big run
On Friday, Stafford lined up to race the first meet of Athletics Ontario’s High Performance Series. This series will give Canadian elites the chance compete indoors for the first time on home soil since before the pandemic hit. Maddy Kelly, Canadian Running writer and 800m national champion, was the only other runner on the track, and she paced Stafford through the first five laps (1,000m). From there, she dropped back, leaving Stafford to close out the final third of the 1,500m race on her own. (After following through with the pre-race plan to pace Stafford for the first kilometre, Kelly ended up completing the 1,500m in 4:44.86.)
Stafford crossed the line in 4:05.70, smashing her indoor PB of 4:10.22, which she ran in Boston in 2020. Her time is the second-best indoor run in Canadian history, just a few seconds behind the national indoor record of 4:00.80 that her sister, Gabriela DeBues-Stafford, set last year at the Millrose Games in New York City.
Asher-Smith’s return to racing
Coming off a tremendous 2019 season in which she won world championship gold in the 200m and silver in the 100m and 4 x 100m, Asher-Smith had a lacklustre 2020. This was entirely due to the pandemic, of course, and Asher-Smith only raced a few times near the end of the summer. On Friday, she raced at her first international meet since 2019, taking a 60m win in 7.08 seconds (tying her PB) at the World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold event in Karlsruhe, Germany. Two days later, she was in Düsseldorf, where she won another 60m race, this time in 7.12.
Noble sets another record
Last weekend, Noble, who runs at Lee University in Tennessee, ran a world-leading 5,000m time of 13:37.39 at a meet in Alabama. This was also the NCAA Division II record, beating the previous mark of 13:41.08. He was back in action on Saturday, once again in Alabama, this time running 3,000m. Same as last week, he smashed the Division II record in the event, taking the win in 7:51.46 to break the record of 7:54.77 by more than three seconds. Noble had some help in this run, with Olympic medallist Nick Willis pacing him for 2K.
He was paced by @nickwillis for 2,000m.
Last week, Noble ran 13:37.39 for 5,000m. pic.twitter.com/JQKj8RBm9B
— Chris Chavez (@ChrisChavez) February 1, 2021
More notable results
There were a number of other notable results run this weekend, all of which have been covered in separate stories worth checking out. At the Osaka Women’s Marathon in Japan, Mao Ichiyama won in a world-leading 2:21:11, and 62-year-old Mariko Yugeta ran an incredible W60 world record of 2:52:13. On Friday at the same meet in Karlsruhe where Asher-Smith opened her season, Quebec’s Charles Philibert-Thiboutot ran an indoor 3,000m PB of 7:49.82 to kick off his 2021 campaign. Finally, at a meet in Austria, 18-year-old Keely Hodgkinson of Great Britain ran 1:59.03 to set the U20 indoor 800m world record.