10 Seconds: No Jogging Allowed
Day 4: Jun 21, 2021
Elle Purrier St. Pierre did not have time to mess around.
About 7 seconds into the women’s 1500 meters at the 2020 Olympic Trials, Elle Purrier St. Pierre, running in Lane 1 against the rail, was bumped hard and knocked to the inside of the track. It was a domino effect. A runner on the outside had cut in at a sharp angle, bumping into one runner, who then bumped into Cory McGee who bumped into Nikki Hiltz who, attempting to protect themselves, bumped into Purrier St. Pierre, who nearly fell to the ground.
As soon as she got back on the track, Purrier St. Pierre took a quick glance back as if to ask, “What the hell just happened?” Then, seeming to decide she didn’t want to deal with anything to do with a pack of runners who might trip her or bump her again, she took control of the race. And after 17 seconds, it was pretty much over. Purrier St. Pierre ran the first lap in 64.79 seconds, then came back and ran the second in 64.41. From the moment she was bumped, Purrier St. Pierre simply kept charging ahead, destroying any chance a competitor might keep up with her. Her third lap was a 62.21 and she closed the final 400 in 46.63 to run a meet record of 3 minutes, 58.03 seconds.
Based on the way she hammered home, the good bet is that Purrier St. Pierre would have controlled the race regardless of what happened in that first 50 meters. That bump off the track, however, might have made the race for the rest of the racers in the field. Of 13 runners, six set personal bests.
While the start of the women’s 1500 shook up the race, it was the 10 seconds after Isaiah Jewett crossed the halfway point of the men’s 800 that changed everything. Jewett hammered after he split 50.60 for the first 400 meters, running the next 200 in 25 flat.
It blew the race open. Donavan Brazier, the favorite and American Record holder, was toast by the time he reached 200 meters to go. Jewett held off everyone except for a resurgent Clayton Murphy, who defended his Olympic Trials championship.
Purrier St. Pierre upped the tempo and intensity throughout the race, taking the sting out of her competitors’ kicks. Jewett threw an unexpected surge that threw everyone else’s race plan off. Even though he did not hold on for the win, it was Rudisha-esque.