Former UNH runner Elinor Purrier made history as she set the new American record for the indoor mile on February 8, 2020 with a time of 4:16.85 to win the race. The previous record was Mary Tabb’s 4:20.50 mile back in 1982.
“We’re just incredibly proud of her achievement and excited to see her improve,” said head coach of the women’s track and field team, Robert Hoppler. “We as a program feel that we’ve set the foundation for her to be in the position to be successful as a pro.”
The 2020 Millrose Games held at The Armory indoor track in New York City held a lot of significance for the track world, but it also held significance for UNH as Purrier spent her collegiate career running as a Wildcat from 2013 to 2018.
Purrier currently runs for New Balance under coach Mark Coogan, where she signed back in 2018 to start her professional career. She competes in the women’s 800-meter, 1500-meter, 3000-meter and 5000-meter events.
“The support of New Balance and her coach, Mark Coogan has been absolutely spectacular and has been the perfect environment for her to thrive,” said Hoppler. “Coach Coogan and New Balance has been as good for her as UNH was. She made the right choice.”
This is not Purrier’s first time setting a record, but it is the second-year pro’s first professional record. Purrier holds the UNH mile record, the fourth fastest in NCAA history with a time of 4:26.55. Her time is two seconds behind the NCAA record of 4:24.93 held by Oregon’s Jessica Hull. In addition, Purrier holds school records in the women’s 800-meter, 1,000-meter and 3,000-meter events.
She earned plenty of accolades in her career as a Wildcat including: One NCAA Individual Championship for the mile, two NCAA Northeast Regional Championships, seven America East Championships in both indoor and outdoor track across four different events, three America East Champion in cross-country, 10 All American selections, two ECAC Championships and a NEICAAA Championship in cross-country.
“She is a very special athlete, she has gone from world class to one of the best in the world with this race,” Hoppler said noting that Purrier finished 11th in the world final for the 5K, her first year as a pro.
Hoppler also mentioned that she still shows loyalty to the program, staying in contact with him and other former teammates. He said she was always looking to improve and wanting to be part of the team, calling her a “great teammate.”
“She was a lot like every other athlete that we’ve had in the program. We were working hard every day to improve, she just had world class talent. It wasn’t much different than any other person on the team except that she was fast”
Hoppler also recognized Purrier’s academic prowess and her values on her relationship with her family. He said that she wanted to just be with the team, not to get any special treatment despite how good she was.
“She wasn’t walking around like she was entitles to anything, she just was part of the team. I think that says a lot because she was so exceptional in how fast she was running. There’s a lot of super elite kids that would just go ‘me, me, me, me,” Hoppler said. “She wasn’t that at all. She wasn’t into that; it was important that she was one of them.”
Hoppler emphasized how Purrier thought it was important that the whole team was doing well.
“I think she is proof that whatever you choose, if you come to UNH, if you work hard and have the talent and pursue your chosen path, you can be as successful as you want to be. If you come to UNH you can be great”