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Toronto’s Lucia Stafford runs her best mile in 2nd-place finish at Indoor Grand Prix

Lucia Stafford set a personal best, but she still came up a breath short in the women’s mile event at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston on Saturday.

The 24-year-old athlete posted a time of four minutes 23.52 seconds but concluded behind 27-year-old Heather MacLean of Peabody, Mass., who ran 4:23.42.

Esther Guerrero of Spain was third in the 14-runner final in 4:24.92.

Stafford was running third at the half mile mark and moved into second around the three-quarter of a mile mark, and stayed on the heels of MacLean.

Stafford told The Canadian Press earlier in the week she’d like to dip under the 4:24 mark, which she did.

Stafford was 13th in the 1,500-metre semifinals at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, missing the last spot for the final by just 4-10s of a second.

Last Saturday, she clocked the fastest-ever indoor 1,000 by a North American woman in 2:33.75 at the Boston University Terrier Classic.

Stafford ran the second-fastest Canadian 5K in her road race debut last Nov. 12, posting a winning time of 15:20 at the Road2Hope Marathon weekend in Hamilton, four seconds shy of Emilie Mondor’s national mark set in 2004.

DeBues-Stafford holds Millrose mile mark

The Toronto native returns to the track next Saturday in the women’s mile at the prestigious Millrose Games in New York, where she faces reigning Olympic 1,500 silver medalist Laura Muir, the former training partner of her sister, Gabriela DeBues-Stafford.

The Canadian record in the event is held by DeBues-Stafford, who clocked 4:19.73 in February 2020.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Ben Flanagan of Kitchener, Ont., was fifth in the men’s 3,000 in 7:43.49 while American William Kincaid posted a winning time of 7:40.71.

A week ago, the 28-year-old Flanagan set a indoor 5,000 PB of 13:11.12, about four seconds off the 13:07.00 automatic qualifying standard for the outdoor event at this summer’s World Athletics Championships.

Flanagan has stated the 5,000 on the track is an option for the 2024 Paris Olympics, as is the marathon, though he has yet to make his debut in the latter.

He ran to his third Canadian road race record of 2022, stopping the clock in 1:01.00 in the Houston Half Marathon and taking 38 seconds off his previous best effort over 21.1 kilometres.

Julie Ann Staehli of Goderich, Ont., crossed the finish line in 8:51.96 for sixth in the women’s 3,000, won by Laura Muir of Great Britain in 8:40.34.

The 29-year-old Staehli is back in Boston next weekend in the 5,000 at the Boston University David Hemery Valentine meet.

Steve Carr

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