World, US, 7 Meet Records Fall at NBal Indoors

> By Chris Lotsbom, @ChrisLotsbom
> (c) 2015 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
BOSTON (07-Feb) — Records were broken in bunches here at the New
Balance Indoor Grand Prix, with two world and one national mark falling
on an exciting evening of track and field. The Team New Balance USA
quartet of Sarah Brown, Mahogany Jones, Megan Krumpoch, and Brenda
Martinez combined to time 10:42.57 for the distance medley relay,
shattering the previous world record of 10:50.98. The team’s
performance kicked off what would be a night of fast performances on
the newly resurfaced Reggie Lewis Center track, as American Jenny
Simpson broke the national record for two miles and Bernard Lagat set a
world masters best for 3000m.
> A week ago in New York
City, the men’s indoor world record for the distance medley relay was
broken by a Nike-sponsored American team. Tonight, it was the women’s
turn, with all eyes focusing on Team New Balance USA. With Brown and
Martinez serving as bookends to the relay, many predicted the
University of Tennessee’s 2009 world mark of 10:50.98 would fall.
Leading off the 1200 meter leg, Brown found herself slightly adrift of
the front, passing the baton off in second behind the New York All
Stars. Attempting to set a world record held extra meaning for Brown,
who was part of the University of Tennessee team that set the existing
mark six years ago.
> “When I knew that they [the team] was going after it, I said I really want a chance to be a part of it,”
said Brown, “There’s something just extra special about being on a
> Running the 400m leg for Team New Balance USA
was Jones, formerly of Penn State University. Jones quickly caught up
to the New York All Star team, clocking a 53.59-second split for two
laps. From there, it was Krumpoch’s turn, battling with New York’s
Latavia Thomas.
> Nearly neck-and-neck, Thomas passed
her baton first to Nicole Tully, while Krumpoch exchanged the Team New
Balance baton to Martinez less than a quarter second later.
Martinez, the 2013 IAAF World Championships bronze medalist at 800m,
regained the lead early on, though never quite shook the tenacious
Tully. With fewer than 400 meters remaining, Tully surged trying to
distance herself from Martinez. While she did gain the lead, the
28-year-old had a feeling that Martinez would come on strong in the
final meters.
> “I know Brenda’s got incredible 800
meter speed and a great kick so I figured, I was feeling pretty good
with 400m to go so I needed to make a move early,” said Tully. “I could
tell by the crowd in the last lap that Brenda was making a comeback.”
Looking at the big screen with 100 meters to go and then glancing back
once again with 60 meters left, Tully knew that Martinez was gaining
ground. All she could do was swing wide down the homestretch, but that
was to no avail. Martinez broke the tape in 10:42.57, giving her team
the new indoor world record. Tully’s New York All Stars team placed
second in 10:42.79, also under the previous record.
“It was a strong group and I just trusted the girls,” said Martinez,
relieved to have achieved the record. “We had a discussion last night
saying ‘just give us your best leg at your current fitness and we’ll do
just fine’… I really needed to dig down and get after it. I didn’t
know it was the last lap, that’s how lost I was out there. I kinda
snapped out of it and was like I got to go right now.”
> Martinez’s teammate, Brown, said she had no doubt that Martinez had enough left in the tank to make the winning move.
“Brenda is one tough cookie. You can see it in her face when she has
that determination,” said Brown. “When Nicole went around and I saw
Brenda’s face didn’t falter whatsoever, I was like she might have this.
She brought a tear to my eye when she was coming down that homestretch.
She was fighting it out and doing it for all of the girls who ran
before her. I was so proud of her.”
> Cheers for the
world record distance medley relay were loud from the near capacity
crowd, though they were matched by the roar Jenny Simpson received when
setting a new national record in the two mile.
Returning here one year after mistakenly miscounting laps (and costing
herself a shot at the two mile national record), Simpson toed the line
tonight with motivation. She knew Regina Jacobs’s 9:23.38 time from
2002 was well within reach.
> After pacesetter Heather
Wilson stepped off shortly after 1200 meters, it was Simpson leading a
string of three Ethiopians: Sentayehu Ejigu, Buze Diriba, and Gotytom
Gebreslase. Running lap after lap in the 34 to 35 second range, Simpson
kept calm up front by listening to meet announcer Toni Reavis rattle
off split times.
> With her mind set on the national
record, Simpson remembered a lesson she learned while chasing NCAA
marks in her final year at the University of Colorado: keep your foot
consistently on the gas.
> “There’s a very fine balance
between settling down and not pushing yourself past that threshold of
going to the well, but also still grinding so that you’re keeping the
pace up,” she said. “When you start slowing up even just tenths of a
second, that can slip away really easily.”
> By
maintaining her hard pace, one by one the Ethiopians behind her dropped
off. First it was Gebreslase, then Diriba, and finally Ejigu. Running
her final 200 meters solo in 30.69 seconds, Simpson used the crowd’s
adrenaline to power her through the finish in a new national record of
> “No leading, no kicking down people, none of
that can help as much as having a rowdy crowd,” said Simpson. “Indoors
that’s so much more vibrant and so much more in your face and it
really, really helps.”
> Taking to the track for the
first time since he turned 40, Bernard Lagat wanted to set a record of
his own: the masters indoor world record for 3000m. Finding himself
tucked in behind Will Leer, Dejen Gebremeskel, and Hassan Mead, Lagat
comfortably ran within himself for the race’s first half.
The 3000m turned out to be more like a 300 meter sprint, as no moves
would be made until a lap and a half remained. That was when
Gebremeskel got anxious and charged to the front.
Lagat, not wanting to lose, quickly matched Gebremeskel’s move and took
over pole position. Laser-focused, Lagat made his way down the
backstretch with Gebremeskel hot on his heels in full sprint mode.
“He is good at finishing,” said Gebremeskel of Lagat. “I know him very
well, so especially if the race is a little bit slow I know he can kick
so I was expecting that.”
> Lagat did his best to hold
off the lanky Ethiopian, pumping his arms faster than he had all race.
Yet it was Gebremeskel who had one final gear coming off the last turn.
“I give more time to training this year for Boston Indoor. Three
months, around that, I’ve been ready for this. I was working on
finishing and sprinting because I was expecting it with Lagat coming,”
said Gebremeskel, who won in 7:48.19.
> Lagat was still
pleased with his 7:48.33 performance, obliterating the previous world
master’s record of 8:01.44. However, he thought he could have gone
> “I am satisfied but I think we could have gone
a little faster. I think we could have gone faster because I wasn’t
sure how I was going to feel but I really felt great during the race
itself,” said Lagat before appearing on USA Track & Field’s ‘The
Cool Down’ post-race show. “This one gave me a lot of confidence.”
In the men’s mile, New Zealand’s Nick Willis was a man on a mission.
Having just completed a stint training at altitude in Flagstaff, Ariz.,
the 2008 Olympic silver medalist over 1500m felt sharp entering today’s
race. He looked in prime form, taking over the lead after 1000 meters
and never looking back.
> Breaking the tape in 3:51.61,
Willis set a New Zealand national record for the indoor mile. He
eclipsed John Walker’s mark of 3:52.8, which was set in 1981 and
matched in 1982. Willis is also running the NYRR Wanamaker Mile at the
Millrose Games next weekend.
> “I had forgotten about
that [record],” Willis told Race Results Weekly, standing feet away
from his longtime coach Ron Warhurst. “It’s always an honor to come
alongside or ahead of John Walker, a legend in our sport.”
The women’s 2000m was won by Ethiopia’s Dawit Seyaum in 5:35.46. While
the discipline is rarely contested, Seyaum’s time is the third fastest
ever run indoors according to Seyaum did not
speak to the press, as she got sick shortly after entering the media
mixed zone.
> Sally Kipyego, fresh off of a training
camp in Kenya, finished second in 5:40.35, while steeplechaser Emma
Coburn took third in 5:41.11.
> Executing a finely timed
kick, Nike Oregon Project’s Treniere Moser swung wide to pass teammate
Mary Cain with a straightaway remaining in the women’s 1000m, going on
to win in 2:37.86. Moser, 33, said the victory was a testament to the
training she has completed under coach Alberto Salazar.
Cain, who led nearly the entire race after the rabbit had dropped off,
admitted she ran hesitantly knowing that at some point Moser would
likely strike with a killer kick.
> “I think that was
the problem. I think I was waiting for it, being like ‘When’s she
coming? When’s she coming? When’s she coming? Rather than thinking Go!
Go! Go!” said an honest Cain. “I think that reverse mental attitude,
that kind of messed me up a bit.”
> Cain and Moser will both run the NYRR Women’s Wanamaker Mile next week at the NYRR Millrose Games in New York City.
Another Nike Oregon Project victory came in the men’s 1000m, as Matthew
Centrowitz timed a meet record of 2:17.00. Centrowitz’s time was less
than a quarter second shy of David Torrence’s national record.
“This is great preparation,” said Centrowitz, who is running the NYRR
Wanamaker Mile next Saturday. “Going through the half [800m] today in
1:50, whatever we go through next week will be obviously slower, and
the aim is to make that [pace] feel good and we most likely will.”
North Carolina’s Ryen Frazier won the Girls Junior Mile by nearly ten
seconds in 4:44.02; she will be attending North Carolina State
University next fall. In the Boys section, Michigan’s Logan Wetzel
defeated Rhode Island’s Jack Salisbury by one-one hundredth of a
second, 4:08.75 to 4:08.76.
> “I just wanted to put
myself in position to finish well at the end and I was able to do that.
It definitely came right down to the end,” said Wetzel. “This is the
biggest win of my career so far.”

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