Last year, she was the best in the country. This year, she’s among the best in the world. In October, Elle Purrier ’18 finished out her rookie year as a professional runner with a trip to the world championships in Doha, Qatar, where she competed in the finals of the women’s 5-kilometer race — an event she qualified for after competing in the distance only three times as a professional.
“Heading into the meet I still felt a little inexperienced in my new distance, but racing through the first round and making the final put two more under my belt where I learned to feel more comfortable and confident,” she says. Her championship race time of 14:58 was good enough for 11th place in a field packed with Olympians and elite professional athletes.
Purrier, who brought home UNH’s first-ever individual NCAA title, winning the indoor mile championship in March 2018, spent her first full year of professional running crushing her collegiate bests. Running for New Balance, she set personal records in four different races this season: the 800-meter, the 1,500-meter, the mile and the 5K. And chances are Doha won't be the last time we’ll see the former Wildcat representing the United States on the sport’s largest stage; her 4:02 time in the 1,500-meter and her 5K both qualify her for the 2020 Olympic trials.