Road To The Olympic Games

Track and Field

Gabriela Stafford shatters 2nd Canadian indoor track record in 3 weeks

Toronto's Gabriela Stafford won the women’s mile in a world-leading and Canadian-record time of four minutes 24.80 seconds on Saturday night at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston to break Kate Van Buskirk’s mark set a year ago.

Covers mile in 4:24.80 at Boston after setting 5,000-metre mark in Scotland on Jan. 4

Toronto's Gabriela Stafford won the women’s indoor mile in a world-leading and Canadian-record time of four minutes 24.80 seconds on Saturday night at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston. (Shaun Botterill/Getty Images/File)

Gabriella Stafford has crammed a lot in a few months: Marriage, deciding to move from Toronto to Scotland come the spring, a change in track coaches and breaking two Canadian indoor records.

The 23-year-old runner set her latest mark Saturday night, winning the women's mile in a world-leading four minutes 24.80 seconds at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston to break Kate Van Buskirk's time of 4:26.92, set a year ago in New York.

"It was a great, talented field," Stafford, who beat 2018 NCAA 1,500-metre champ Elinor Purrier of the United States and 2016 Olympic finalist Dawit Seyaum of Ethiopia, told the International Association of Athletics Federations. "It felt good for my confidence."

On Jan. 4, Stafford made her debut in the 5,000 metres, opening the season in a time of 14:57.45 at the GAA Miler Meet in Glasgow to beat Megan Metcalfe-Wright's 15:25.15.

Recently, the psychology student at the University of Toronto praised new coach Andy Young and training partner Laura Muir, a top European middle-distance runner.

Nike deal

"I've definitely gotten a lot more mentally tough. Some of the workouts I've done this fall are just on another level in terms of both intensity and length," Stafford told Canadian Running. "Some of them are just as difficult as races, so I've really had to up my mental game as a result.

"Completing these workouts allowed me to approach my season opener more calmly than I have in a long while, because a 5K race can't be harder than some of the sessions I've done recently."

Stafford, who was recently signed by Nike, met Young in August at the Müller Grand Prix in Birmingham, England, her Diamond League season debut.

Until 2019, the Toronto native was known as a 1,500 runner, having won a bronze medal at the NACAC championships (4:07.36) in the city in August after capturing her third consecutive Canadian championship (4:17.08) the previous month in Ottawa.

The London, Ont, native won the women's 1,500m race with a time of 4:17.08 at the national championships in Ottawa. 8:09

Racing 1,500 at indoor worlds

However, Stafford failed to make the finals in the event at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, 2017 world championships in London and last year's Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast of Australia.

She owns a personal-best time of 4:03.55 in the outdoor 1,500, more than three seconds shy of Lynn Williams' Canadian record of 33 years ago.

Stafford is scheduled to run the 1,500 in Birmingham in early March at the IAAF world indoor championships.

Other Canadian results Saturday:

  • Alysha Newman (London, Ont.) pole vault: fourth, 4.51 metres
  • Brittany Crew (Mississauga, Ont.) women's shot put: fifth, 17.70m
  • Corey Bellemore (Windsor, Ont.) men's 1,500: sixth, 3:42.57
  • Justyn Knight (Toronto) men's 1,500: seventh, 3:45.72

About the Author

Doug Harrison has covered the professional and amateur scene as a senior writer for CBC Sports since 2003. Previously, the Burlington, Ont., native covered the NHL and other leagues for Faceoff.com. Follow the award-winning journalist @harrisoncbc

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