Runner Elle Purrier in search of Olympic first place
Elinor Purrier competes in the women’s 5,000-meter qualifiers on day six of the 17th IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 at Khalifa International Stadium on October 2, 2019 in Doha, Qatar.
In the athletics world, Elinor Purrier is known as the runner who grew up on a farm. She hopes she will soon be known as an Olympian.
Purrier – who is called Elle (pronounced “Ellie”) – has received so much attention for her upbringing on her family’s dairy farm that she cheekily acknowledges it on her Instagram profile, which confirms: “Yes, I grew up on a dairy farm in VT “to its more than 45,000 subscribers on @ elleruns_4_her_life.
The US indoor mile and 2 mile record holder, who hopes to qualify her first Olympic team at the upcoming US Olympic Team Trials – Track & Field in Eugene, Oregon, admits she hasn’t always been a fan of curiosity.
“I think when I was younger it was that thing that everyone defined me as,” says Purrier, 26. “It was this thing that was different and I couldn’t understand why it was so intriguing to people.”
Recently, however, she has embraced interest in this part of her life.
“Now I realize how few farmers there are in the world, and I’m so proud to represent this industry and try to educate people on what’s going on around the farm,” says- it. “Because I think there is a huge gap between producers and consumers. It’s pretty sad for me. But I’m really passionate about dairy farming and I’m so lucky to have grown up like I did. ‘have done.”
She is proud to use her growing fame to dispel misconceptions about the conditions farm animals experience.
“High opinions [some people have] about how cows are treated is frustrating to me because these people probably don’t even know that female cows are the ones that produce milk, ”she laughs. “All the farmers I know treat their cows very well. This makes sense for many reasons, both ethically and if you treat your cows badly, they won’t produce a lot of milk. “
She certainly has first-hand experience on this subject – literally. Growing up a few miles from the Canadian border in Montgomery, Vermont, Purrier would get up before dawn to milk cows and help with household chores on a dairy farm that has been in his family for over a century.
This work ethic helped her prepare for a steady rise to the top of the U.S. distance running ranks. Purrier ran cross-country and track and field and played basketball in high school, then began to gain national attention at the University of New Hampshire as a steeplechase. She has won All-America status three times in the event, a 3,000-meter race that includes barriers and water jumps. But when she was focusing on flat racing, she really made a splash. Purrier won the NCAA indoor mile title as a senior in 2018, then represented the United States at the 2019 World Track and Field Championships over 5,000 meters in his first full season as a professional.
She really made her mark in February 2020 when she broke the US indoor mile record as she was victorious against a world-class pitch at the Millrose Games in New York City. Her time of 4 minutes, 16.85 seconds took nearly four seconds off the previous U.S. indoor record, set by Mary Slaney since 1982 (and a few whiskers off Slaney’s outdoor record 4: 16.71, set in 1985) . A stunned Purrier admitted she had no idea of Slaney’s US record until it was revealed after the race.
But one thing she did know was that within months of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, she had become a serious contender to make the United States squad and fight for the podium. At least that’s what she thought.
“The problem with that is that the whole world stopped about a month later” when the pandemic set in, recalls Purrier, who says she “couldn’t really put it down. [confidence] to good use. I felt like I had built up a lot of momentum and then it all stopped. “
Purrier typically divides her time between home in Berkshire, Vermont, which she shares with her husband, Jamie St. Pierre, and Boston, where she is coached by Mark Coogan, a 1996 US Olympian in the marathon, as a member of the New Balance Boston team. . But she spent the early part of the pandemic helping the family farm and running on her own. (The temporary move also allowed her to see more of the brown Swiss cow that high school sweetheart St. Pierre gave her as an engagement gift. She named her Rita, short for margarita, since her father’s name is Tequila.)
She has enjoyed the chance to return to her farming roots and has kept a low profile in track circles, having only competed in a few low-key time trial competitions in New England last summer. Once 2021 arrived, however, she knew it was time to get serious again. She was inspired by memories of her triumph at Millrose when she laced her crampons.
“Coming back this winter, I still had that in mind,” she says of her groundbreaking performance. “I ran this race, I beat these girls, I ran this time. And it’s definitely a huge confidence booster for the races now.”
Indeed, she picked up where she left off, breaking the US indoor 2 mile record at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Staten Island, New York on February 13. She clocked a time of 9: 10.28 to cut over eight seconds. of the 2015 Jenny Simpson Standard.
Equally impressive were his first results outdoors. Already this spring, Purrier ran 1: 59.99 for the 800 and 3: 58.36 for the 1500. She is now one of only four Americans to ever break 2 minutes for the 800, 4 minutes for the 1500. and 15 minutes for the 5000 (She established her PR in the longest race at the 2019 world championships, clocking 14: 58.17.)
With the Olympic trials looming, Purrier takes a look at the 1,500-5,000 race – the schedule makes a doubling impossible, with the finals of both events just 35 minutes apart on June 21.
“I think I could definitely make the 5K team,” she said, “but the 1500 is more fun for me because it’s faster.”
Whatever event she hosts in Eugene, Purrier will be one of the favorites, not just to make the team, but to win. She’s worked hard, and to borrow an apt farming analogy that long-distance runners often use before a big race, the hay is in the barn.