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New Balance GP Women — Bug Couldn’t Keep Thomas Down

New Balance GP Women — Bug Couldn’t Keep Thomas Down

Racing “in front of family and friends” and a streak to keep alive helped Gabby Thomas overcome illness. (VICTOR SAILER/PHOTO RUN)

BRIGHTON, MASSACHUSETTS, February 04 — A stomach bug wasn’t going to keep Gabby Thomas away from the opportunity to perform in front of many of her longtime fans in her hometown. Still, the favorite daughter knew she would have to run hard to pull off a 300 win.

“Being in front of all my friends and family and being a back-to-back-to-back defending champion comes with a lot of pressure and a lot of distraction,” she said. “So, practicing channeling that energy into a race and focusing on my actual race and the discipline of that was really good preparation.”

It showed as she raced to a 35.75, the No. 9 performance in world history and just 0.02 off her best, taking the win ahead of LSU alum Favour Ofili (35.99). The early leader, Thomas lost some ground before lengthening her margin on the homestretch: “I really needed to lock in and being outside there by myself, I really needed to focus on my own race in my own lane. It felt good, but still some work to do.”

The straightaway revealed two leading contenders for the World Indoor team. Hurdler Tia Jones came out the winner in a big hurdle matchup, her PR 7.72 putting her into a tie for No. 5 all-time and turning back Tobi Amusan and her Nigerian Record 7.75, along with Bahamian Devynne Charlton (7.76) and Masai Russell (7.84).

Said Jones, “I’m healthy. I’m out here, I’m running. I’m confident. I’m more than capable. My goal is to stay consistent and anything that falls in line with that, I’m just proud for.”

In the 60, Mikiah Brisco zipped to a 7.10 win over Celera Barnes (7.15). Said the winner, “I just had more confidence in myself. Celera got out on me about two steps, so I was happy I was able to stay composed and finish my transition and have a good end of the race… The goal is faster, but I’m happy to be where I am right now and run faster in the future.”

The distances brought some fast times as well. In the 300, Elle St. Pierre returned to the track for the first time since her maternity leave and impressed by giving the American Record a scare. In the end, she missed that and the win. Aussie Jessica Hull shadowed her throughout the race. Several times she tried to pass St. Pierre and each time she was rebuffed until the final straight when she flew by to take the win, her 8:24.93 NR (No. 6 all-time) topping St….

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