Defar, Lagat Set for Milestone Returns to Boston
Face Coburn, Gebrhiwet at 20th New Balance Indoor Grand Prix
BOSTON, Mass. (Jan. 7, 2015)ÛÓWith 24 Olympic and
World Championships medals between them, Meseret Defar and Bernard
Lagat are unquestionably two of the best track athletes in history. Not
only will both be returning to Boston to compete in the New Balance Indoor
Grand Prix on Feb. 7, organizers announced today, but both will also be
marking milestones in their careers.
The New Balance Indoor Grand Prix will kick
off an indoor season in which Boston will be the epicenter of track and field
in the United States, with the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center at
Roxbury Community College also set to host the USATF Indoor Track &
Field Championships, from Feb. 27-March 1. Tickets for both eventsÛÓincluding
money-saving packages for the two meetsÛÓare now on sale at www.nbindoorgrandprix.com or by
Defar, 31, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and
two-time World Champion at 5000 meters, will be competing for the first time
since the birth of a daughter in June. Her last race was on Aug. 29, 2013, when
she won the 2013 IAAF Diamond League title at 5000 meters. Here, she will line
up in the 2000 meters.
“It is perfect
that I am running my first race since childbirth in Boston,” said Defar. “I
always feel so comfortable and welcome in the city and at the track, and of
course I have not forgotten setting a World Best there. I am eager to show my
fans there that Meseret is back!”
In 2008, the
Ethiopian superstar set a
World Best in the 2-Mile on the Reggie Lewis track. She still holds the World
Best in the 2-Mile outdoors, as well as the World Record at 5000 meters
Lagat, a two-time Olympic medalist at 1500 meters
and 2007 World Champion at 1500 meters and 5000 meters, returns to the New
Balance Indoor Grand Prix for the first
time since 2010. In that race, he broke the American
Record for 5000 meters indoors.
This time, he will compete at 3000 metersÛÓas a
40-year-old, a birthday he celebrated on Dec. 12. The American master’s record
for 3000 meters indoors (8:20.96) was set by Brian Pope at the Boston
Invitational in 2005; Lagat’s fastest 3000 meters indoors last season was
One of the most-popular athletes in the sport, Lagat
holds seven current American marks and has won 12 national titles.
Both Defar and Lagat will face strong competition.
Returning in an attempt to improve on her runner-up finish at 2000 meters here
last year will be 24-year-old Emma Coburn, who went on to be ranked #2
in the world in the 3000-meter steeplechase for 2014, the highest ranking in
history by an American woman. In his race, Lagat will have to contend with
20-year-old Hagos Gebrhiwet,
the reigning IAAF World Championships silver medalist at 5000 meters from
Ethiopia who set a World Junior Record for 3000 meters indoors (7:32.87) at
this meet in 2013.
These four stars join the previously announced Jenny
SimpsonÛÓranked #1 in the world for 2014 at 1500 metersÛÓplus Jenn Suhr,
Mary Cain, Matthew Centrowitz, and Brenda
Martinez in celebrating the 20th running of the
New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, which has played host to seven World
Records and 11 American Records. The second stop in the 2015 Indoor USATF
Championship Series, the meet on Saturday, Feb. 7, will begin at 4:30 p.m.
About New Balance:
New Balance, headquartered in Boston, MA has the following
mission: Demonstrating responsible leadership, we build global brands that
athletes are proud to wear, associates are proud to create and communities are
proud to host. New Balance is currently the only major shoe company that
manufactures athletic footwear in the U.S.; in 2013, 1 out of every 4 pairs of
shoes we sold in the U.S. was made or assembled here. New Balance owns five
factories in New England and one in Flimby, U.K. New Balance employs more than
4,000 associates around the globe, and in 2013 reported worldwide sales of
$2.73 billion. To learn more about how New Balance Makes Excellent Happen,
please visit www.newbalance.com.