Mile News

Elinor Purrier Makes the Jump

July 19, 2019

It’s a lifestyle, so having all the factors come together to be able to stay in shape for a long time and stay healthy and do well is my ultimate goal.

By Johanna Gretschel,

The most decorated athlete in University of New Hampshire history transitioned smoothly into the professional ranks since graduating last year.

The road from successful collegiate runner to solid pro athlete isn’t always a smooth or linear one, but Elinor (Elle) Purrier—an 11-time All-American—is already etching her name alongside the sport’s superstars. In a wild one-week span in June, the Vermont native unexpectedly achieved the Olympic standard in not just one, but two events, the 1500m (4:02.34) and the 5000m (15:08.61), making her the 4th fastest American this year in the former event and the 6th fastest in the latter. Rachel Schneider is the only other athlete to run the standard in both the 1500 and 5000.

We recently talked to Purrier on the phone about adjusting to pro runner life with New Balance Boston and hitting the Olympic standard in multiple events, and her first Diamond League appearance.

NOTE: Purrier will race just the 5000 at the USATF Outdoor Championships next week in Des Moines, but at the time of this interview, she was undecided.

How would you reflect on your first year as a pro?
It’s been good. I just passed my 1-year anniversary a couple weeks ago and it helped me reflect a little bit on how far I’ve come in a year. I didn’t know what to expect as a pro, and there were a lot of unknowns in the transition—not knowing who my teammates would be, where I was going to be [living], who I was going to sign with, things like that. Even what pro life would be like.

How did you decide on joining the New Balance Boston group?
I’m an east coast girl, for sure. That was a big part of it. I did look other places—on the west coast—but I knew I would be happiest and most true to myself on the east coast. I started researching more and looking more closely at the Boston groups. I thought the dynamic worked well. Mark Coogan, my coach, was actually good friends with Hop, my college coach, and that gave me confidence choosing him.

The dynamic [on the team] works so well. All of the girls are so supportive of each other and down to earth. We’re all really tough and can relate to each other really well.

Did you train by yourself in college? What’s different about training with the New Balance group?
I did do quite a few workouts by myself [in college], but regular runs, I hardly ever ran by myself. Other people on the team were incorporated into my workouts, so I still had help in those tough workouts. The training now is quite a bit different; definitely have amped it up a little bit.

A little bit higher mileage, that’s mostly it. I knew I was ready for that this year. In college, [my mileage] was pretty low—I would increase every year by 10 miles per week. I started at 30 mpw freshman year and got up to, in cross country, in the 60s sometimes. Now, we try to consistently be around the high 60s, low 70s.

I was able to get in more base this fall [not doing cross country], which has really helped.

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Photo credit: Kevin Morris

Tags: mark coogan (5) , elinor purrier (30)

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