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Weekend recap: young guns impress in Arkansas, Athing Mu breaks another record

Another weekend of racing, another slew of record-breaking and exciting performances

After so few races held in 2020, this year has been extremely refreshing, at least for viewing purposes. Every week, it seems like another world or major national record gets broken, and this past weekend was no different. Running fans were treated to a U.S. high school mile record from 17-year-old Hobbs Kessler, Athing Mu stamped her name in the history books once again and Canada’s Stafford sisters climbed up the Canadian rankings in a pair of track events. If you missed any of these runs, we’ve got you covered with another weekend recap.

More big runs from the Stafford sisters

Canadian running fans have gotten used to seeing Gabriela DeBues-Stafford and her younger sister Lucia Stafford set national records in the last couple of years. In 2019, Gabriela ran to a whopping eight Canadian records, and she started 2020 off with two more before the race season was put on hold. While she fell short of another record in her first race of 2021, Gabriela still ran one of the fastest 3,000m results in Canadian history. She won an outdoor 3K race in Arizona on Saturday, beating her Bowerman Track Club teammates (in her debut race with the team) and crossing the line in 8:38.51. This is the third-fastest 3,000m ever run by a Canadian.

Gabriela DeBues-Stafford (front) and sister Lucia Stafford (right) had impressive runs this weekend.

A day earlier, Lucia lined up for a 1,000m race in Toronto. This was her second race in as many weeks (both of which were part of Athletics Ontario’s High Performance Series), and she ended up running to yet another incredible time. On January 29, Lucia ran the second-fastest indoor 1,500m time in Canadian history with a 4:05.70 showing (behind her sister’s record of 4:00.80). On Friday, she posted a 2:37.73 in the 1,000m, less than a second off the national indoor record of 2:37.04. It’s only February, but it’s safe to say that the Stafford sisters are well prepared to have a couple of huge seasons.

RELATED: Stafford sisters post near-historic results on back-to-back days

Youngsters wow at the American Track League

Some of the top athletes in North America were in Fayetteville, Ark., on Sunday for the third meet of the American Track League (ATL) series. There were a number of races, and the two biggest results came in the men’s mile and women’s 800m, and both belonged to U20 athletes. In the mile, Kessler became just the 12th American high schooler to break the four-minute barrier. He ran to third place (just behind two-time Olympic medallist Nick Willis) in an amazing time of 3:57.66. This time bettered Drew Hunter‘s previous record of 3:57.81, which he ran in 2016.


Great Britain’s Adelle Tracey won the women’s 800m in 2:02.11, but her victory was largely overshadowed by Sophia Gorriaran, her next-closest competitor. Why was Gorriaran’s run such a big deal? Because she is just 15 years old. That’s right, a 15-year-old ran onto the podium at an elite track meet, crossing the line in an 800m PB of 2:02.44. This time is tied for 10th-best in the world so far this year, and it’s also the U18 world indoor record.

RELATED: Texas A&M freshman Athing Mu is becoming track’s next big star

Mu does it again

Mu has had an amazing start to her collegiate career at Texas A&M. She has run three solo races so far this season, setting a record in each one. First, she started off with an 800m win in 2:01.07, which was an American U20 indoor record and the second-fastest time in NCAA history. Next, she broke the NCAA 600m record, posting a time of 1:25.80. Finally, this past weekend, she raced a 400m, which she won (she is undefeated this season) in 50.52 seconds.


This most recent result broke the Texas A&M record, and it is the second-fastest indoor 400m run by an American junior athlete (Sydney McLaughlin owns the U20 American record with a time of 50.36). It is also a world-leading time so far in 2021. Much like the Staffords, Mu looks poised to have an incredible season.