Road To The Olympic Games

Track and Field

Jessica O'Connell runs to Canadian women's indoor record at Millrose Games

Jessica O'Connell stopped the clock in a Canadian-best eight minutes 46.50 seconds in the women's indoor 3,000 metres on Saturday at the prestigious Millrose Games track and field meet to shatter Megan Metcalfe-Wright's mark by more than two seconds.

Calgary native beats Megan Metcalfe-Wright's mark by over 2 seconds in 3,000 metres

Calgary's Jessica O’Connell, pictured here, stopped the clock in a Canadian-best eight minutes 46.50 seconds in the women's 3,000 metres at the Millrose Games indoor track and field meet on Saturday, trimming more than two seconds off Megan Metcalfe-Wright’s 8:48.56 clocking from the indoor world championships in 2008. (Kevin Light/CBC Sports/File)

Megan Metcalfe-Wright, who has served as an inspiration to Jessica O'Connell on the track, has lost the national women's indoor 3,000-metre mark to her fellow Albertan.

O'Connell, 30, finished third of 10 finishers on Saturday at the prestigious Millrose Games in New York City, stopping the clock in a Canadian-best eight minutes 46.50 seconds, more than two seconds ahead of Metcalfe-Wright's 8:48.56 clocking at the world indoor championships in Valencia, Spain on March 7, 2008.

A 2007 Pan Am Games champion, Metcalfe-Wright won three consecutive Canadian titles outdoors in the 5,000 from 2005 to 2007 and was 15th in the event at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

On Saturday, the Calgary-born O'Connell defeated 2018 Commonwealth Games champion Aisha Praught-Leer (8:46.60) of Jamaica and 2017 steeplechase world champion Emma Coburn (8:52.27) of the United States, who placed fourth and fifth, respectively.

American Alicia Monson won Saturday's race in 8:45.97 while teammate Rachel Schneider was second in personal-best 8:46.44.

O'Connell won the women's outdoor 1,500 last June at the Harry Jerome Track Classic in Burnaby, B.C., and twice finished second in the 5,000 inside a month at the Portland Track Festival and Canadian track and field championships in Ottawa.

Seaman returns after 5-year absence

She made her Olympic debut in 2016, placing 26th in the 5,000 at Rio.

O'Connell's Canadian teammate, Rachel Seaman, also shone on Saturday.

Competing at the Millrose Games for the first time in six years, she finished second in the women's mile race walk in six minutes 28.39 seconds.

Now living in San Diego, the native of Peterborough, Ont., has worked her way back from injuries and depression that nearly led the 33-year-old Seaman to quit the sport last year.

She last competed internationally in 2016 before partially tearing both of her hamstrings that forced Seaman to withdraw from the Olympics.

In 2018, her knee pain subsided following orthotic help to correct an imbalance in the length of Seaman's legs, allowing Seaman to set a goal of competing at this year's world track and field championships in late September at Doha, Qatar. She also has an eye on next year's Summer Games in Tokyo.

Other Canadian results on Saturday:

  • Women's 60m hurdles: Astrid Nyame, fourth (8.34 seconds), Phylicia George, fifth (8.37)
  • Men's 60 hurdles: Johnathan Cabral, sixth (7.83 seconds)
  • Men's 3,000: Ben Flanagan, 10th (7:54.40)
  • Women's 400: Maya Stephens, Fifth (54.52)

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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