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Athing Mu Runs 1:58.40 breaking NCAA & World U20 Records at 800 Meters

The magical freshman season of Texas A&M sensation Athing Mu hit a new high on Saturday evening as the 18-year-old clocked a stunning 1:58.40 at the SEC Indoor Track & Field Championships in Fayetteville, Ark., obliterating several records in the process.

Prior to tonight, no collegiate woman had run faster than 2:00.69 indoors (Jazmine Fray in 2017 for Texas A&M), but Mu went from 2:01.07 to 1:58.40 in a single race. She also took more than two seconds off the official world U20 record and 0.63 off Keely Hodgkinson‘s unratified 1:59.03 from earlier this year.

he time was also faster than Raevyn Rogers’ overall collegiate record of 1:59.10, set outdoors in 2017. And it also ranks Mu #2 on the all-time US indoor list at 800 meters, just behind Ajee’ Wilson’s American record of 1:58.29 last year. Mu is also now the 2nd fastest American U20 – just behind the 1:58.21 that Wilson ran to get 5th at Worlds outdoors in Moscow in 2013.

Mu made history by running a fearless race. With no pacemaker in the field, Mu went straight to the front, hitting 200 in 28.65, and coming through 400 in 57.96 — a remarkable split for an indoor race. Mu ran her third lap in 29.64 to hit 600 in 1:27.60, and though her final lap was by far her slowest — 30.81 — she held on for a stellar time.

This may have been the most impressive run of Mu’s young career, but it is far from the only one. Mu first made national headlines two years ago as a 16-year-old by defeating Rogers to win the 2019 US indoor 600m title, setting an American record of 1:23.57 in the process. 

After graduating high school in 2020, Mu headed off to Texas A&M — following the same path of fellow US phenom Donavan Brazier — and her first season in 2021 has seen Mu reel off a string of terrific performances. On January 23, she ran 1:25.80 to break the collegiate record at 600 meters. The following week, Mu ran one of the fastest 4x400m splits ever (50.03) to anchor her Texas A&M squad to the win at Texas Tech. And a week after that, Mu ran 50.52, which broke the world U20 record of 50.82 set by future Olympic champion Sanya Richards-Ross. (That’s assuming the record is ratified; Sydney McLaughlin actually ran faster as a U20 athlete — 50.36 — but McLaughlin’s time was never ratified as a WR).

Mu will compete next at the NCAA Indoor Championships, also in Fayetteville, from March 11-13. Whether she chooses to run the 400 or the 800, she will be the favorite.

(03/01/2021) Views: 75 ‚ö°AMP
by Jonathan Gault

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