Elle Purrier St. Pierre Is Faster Than Ever After Having Her Son — and Now Has Her Sights Set on the Olympics

Purrier St. Pierre, a middle-distance runner, set multiple American records this year before her son Ivan even turned 1

<p>Elle Purrier St. Pierre </p> Elle Purrier St. Pierre

Elle Purrier St. Pierre

Elle Purrier St. Pierre

Moments after Elle Purrier St. Pierre sprinted to a World Indoor Championship gold medal in the 3000m on March 2, setting a new American record with a time of 8:20.87, she was sizing up a stranger in the stands, trying to decide if she could race him down. 

Purrier St. Pierre was trying to get her son Ivan, who would turn 1 two days later, to bring him around as she celebrated her win, and the only way for her husband Jamie to get Ivan from the stands to her on the track was to momentarily hand him to a stranger. 

“I'm like, ‘Okay, I'm pretty sure I can catch this guy if he starts to take off with Ivan,’ ” she tells PEOPLE with a laugh. 

Moments like that — celebrating a World Championship win with her son by her side — is the fulfillment of what Purrier St. Pierre, 29, has long dreamed of. 

<p>Elle Purrier St. Pierre </p> Elle Purrier St. Pierre and Ivan

Elle Purrier St. Pierre

Elle Purrier St. Pierre and Ivan

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In 2022, fresh off the Tokyo Olympics and a silver medal at World Indoor Championships, she announced that she and Jamie were expecting their first child the next March. For years, the belief was that female athletes had to wait until their prime career years were over to start a family, if they could at all. But stars like Purrier St. Pierre are changing that notion. 

She continued to run and compete during her pregnancy, winning bronze in the 1500m at 2022 World Outdoor Championships, and then appeared to come back even stronger postpartum. Purrier St. Pierre kicked off 2024 with an American record in the mile, another in the two mile and a third with her 3000m win. 

<p>Elle Purrier St. Pierre </p> Elle Purrier St. Pierre, Ivan and Jamie

Elle Purrier St. Pierre

Elle Purrier St. Pierre, Ivan and Jamie

Purrier St. Pierre says she “just followed my heart” when she and Jamie decided it was time to have a baby. 

“It was something that I thought about a lot and hoped for and wished for, and the timing is never right. It's never perfect, but it's going to be tough no matter what. Your life is busy and if you have a career, you're busy and you're driven and you're doing big things. But this was something that Jamie and I always wanted and I think that it's really worked out well.”

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Purrier St. Pierre credits her sponsors like New Balance for making it possible, but she also believes we’re in a “new era” of understanding that women can be athletes and moms

“It's a different time now than it was 50 years ago, and more and more women are breaking down the barriers and saying, yes, we can do this,” she says. “And it does take more support, I will say that, but it's not impossible, and these women are just going out there and showing everybody how tough they are and how capable we are.”

<p>New Balance</p> Elle Purrier St. Pierre

New Balance

Elle Purrier St. Pierre

She showed those capabilities at World Indoor Championships as she did her post-win interviews with Ivan in her arms, a moment she says felt “full circle.”

“The day that I won was actually his due date,” Purrier St. Pierre says. “So going into the race I had that in the back of my mind. I knew I thought it would be good luck.”

“To come back and to be able to do this a year later was more than I had maybe even hoped for, to win a world championship a year after having a baby.”

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Now, as she marks her second Mother’s Day with Ivan, Purrier St. Pierre has turned her attention to the outdoor season and working towards making her second Olympic team. She’s a favorite to make the U.S. team in the 1500m, and could podium in Paris. 

“As long as everything goes well and I stay consistent, I'm feeling good and feeling fit,” she says of her chances.

<p>Justin Britton</p> Elle Purrier St. Pierre with her coach, Mark Coogan

Justin Britton

Elle Purrier St. Pierre with her coach, Mark Coogan

Plus, after struggling at the Tokyo Olympics without her family there amid the COVID-19 restrictions, Purrier St. Pierre is excited about the possibility of having Jamie and Ivan in Paris. 

“It would be amazing,” she says. “It’s definitely a big motivator. The Tokyo Olympics were, I'm sure, so different than a lot of other Olympics, but Paris sounds like a lot of fun and it would just be really amazing and so special to have all my family there.”

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