I went to the New Balance Track & Field Armory today. Built in 1909, the Armory held its first track meet in 1914! A robust building, today it houses 3,800 fans cheering the athletes to faster and faster times. Today, the house that Norb built (Dr. Norb Sanders, the primal force behind the rebuilding of the Armory), housed the NB Games and the select events, including professional miles, 400 meters and elite high school miles, were not only well received, but had this long time track fan entranced!
Before the meet, I was given a tour of the facility by Jack Pfeiffer, one of the prime movers in this positive sanctuary for our sport. Last night, I had dinner with Ian Brooks, the charming British emcee of many a New York athletics event, and many of the best milers in the world! What a weekend!
Andy Baddeley running in the NB Games, photo by PhotoRun.net.
Andy Baddeley won the mile today with new find Ricky Stevenson, going from a former pb of 4:06 to a 3:56 mile! Erin Donahue ran a world leader, showing that Coach Gags (Frank Gagliano, former Georgetown coach, Reebok Enclave, Oregon TC coach) still has the touch….
Andy Baddeley told RBR after the race, that he was “very surprised” he was running so fast so early. Andy lives in West London and was running on a treadmill and sparingly outside, having only done one session of 200 and 300 meter repeats. Baddeley was beat by Ricky Stevenson in Edinburgh over 4k (Andy was 7th) recently. Andy felt good hitting 1:59 and 2:58 for the 1,320. ” I felt I could finish well, but did feel I had something left.” Second place Ricky Stevenson, who runs reminiscent of former UK great Ian Stewart, improved his personal best by ten seconds! ” I was surprised with my time, as I have only been doing endurance training, ” noted an enthusiastic Stevenson. With a pb at 3k of 8:01, and no 5k times to mention, watch out for this young man, as he will be around for awhile (he is 21). Stevenson’s training partner, Mark Draper, also broke 3:57, with Adrian Blincoe in 3:58.33.
On the women’s side, Erin Donahue took the early pace, and running a 62 last 400 meters, to run a world leading 4:28.92!
Erin Donahue took on all comers in the NB Games mile, photo by PhotoRun.net.
Erin Donahue, Olympian and World Champ qualifier, is one of the guttiest runners in our sport. I reminded her of her javelin prowess! Yes, she is on the New Jersey all time list with her fine javelin throwing and miling in high school! Now, coached by Frank Gagliano, “Gags” to who his athletes and those who idolize him, Erin drives about an hour to meet Gags for her workouts. Well, the coaching is working, that is for sure. In her post race interview, Erin noted, “Gags will be happy because I did not forget all that he told me!” Nice finish by Nicole Edwards, and a very nice personal best. Also, congrats to Sarah Bowman, who ran well in her first professional race! Bowman stayed out of trouble and moved well over the last lap!
Natasha Hastings sure knows how to race the boards, photo by PhotoRun.net.
Seriously, indoor track racing, done properly, combines the skills of roller derby and ice hockey. You can throw a few hip checks and you will receive a few as well! Natasha Hastings, during the cut in just around 200 meters, almost was knocked out of the race. But, bidding her time, the South Carolina grad showed her stuff, timing her rush to the front just above the last turn, and had the crowd going, “AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH” as she blasted down the final straight, just taking the win right before the tape, running a world leading 52.68!
Natasha Hastings gives a clinic on how to win a 400 meters indoors in a WL 52.68! photo by PhotoRun.net.
Fitzsimmons wins the NB elite boy’s mile, photo by PhotoRun.net.
A pretty common pace, was changed from pedestrian to a real race, as Chris Fitzsimmons hit the 1,320 in 3:17 and ran sixty seconds for the final two laps, winning in 4:17.28!
Lipari wins NB girl’s elite high school mile, photo by PhotoRun.net.
Emily Lipari likes to win. That is evident. Hitting the 400 meters in 69.7, the 800 meters in 2:23.7, she was passed just before the 1,320 in 3:41.7, but Amaral, her pursuer, last a lap, as Emily Lipari blasted her last lap, and running 72 for the last 400 meters, Emily won the NB girls’ elite high school mile in a fine 4:53.91.
New York City, NY January 23, 2010
New Balance Game story by Dan Green, NB
Erin Donahue wins the NB Games mile in 4:28.92, a world leader! photo by Photorun.net.
The energy in the arena for the 15th Annual New Balance Games kept everyone in attendance on their toes, driving the fields for the 2010 New Balance Miles. On the womenâ€™s side, Erin Donohue followed closely behind the pace maker Leslie Higgins through the first 400m in 66.0 seconds and continued to the halfway mark in 2:16.3. After Higgins stepped off the track, Donohue took over control of the race and did not look back. She finished with a time of 4:28.92 with Canadian Nicole Edwards finishing strong in second. University of Tennessee alumni Sarah Bowman rounded out the top three in her first track race as a professional runner. Villanova standout Frances Koons ran an inspiring race finishing fourth after recovering from cancer in her kidney. With a solid pace and strong finish, the 2010 event now boasts nine of the top ten times in the world.
Andy Baddeley at the start, photo by Photorun.net.
For the men, Great Britainâ€™s Andy Baddeley sat slightly off the pace as the pack rounded the 400 in 59.2 and then 800 in 1:59.5. From there, Baddeley turned up the pace to finish in 3:55.64 with countrymen Ricky Stevenson and training partner Mark Draper closely behind. This time is just shy of the facility record here at the New Balance Track and Field Center. New Zealandâ€™s Adrian Blincoe made for four finishers under four minutes as he kicked in for a 3:58.33. Baddeley remains in New York City this week to challenge defending champion Bernard Lagat, who is going for a record 8 titles in the Wannamaker Mile at the Millrose Games on Friday night at Madison Square Garden.
Andy Baddeley running on the Mondo banked 200 meter at the “NB Armory.” photo by PhotoRun.net.
Baddeley takes his win in NB Games mile, photo by PhotoRun.net.
In the womenâ€™s 400m, Natasha Hastings used her home track advantage to swing wide on the final turn to make the most of the bank to bring home the win despite getting tangled with Guyanaâ€™s Aliann Pompey at the break line. Hastings seemed encouraged with her season opening time of 52.68, using this performance as a gauge for her current fitness.
1. Andy Baddeley ENG 3.55.64(3.40.6)
2. Ricky Stevenson ENG 3.56.31(3.41.1)
3. Mark Draper ENG 3.56.80(3.41.5)
4. Adrian Blincoe NZL 3.58.33
5. Tim Knoval CAN 4.01.64
1. Erin Donohue USA 4.28.92(4.12.0)
2. Nicole Edwards CAN 4.29.42(4.12.4)
3. Sarah Edwards USA 4.32.14(4.13.6)
4. Frances Koons USA 4.33.24(4.15.
5. Hilary Stellingweff CAN 4.35.12
1. Natasha Hastings USA 52.68
2. Ajoke Odumosu NIG 53.27
3. Aliann Pompey GHA 53.68
Special thanks to Tom Carleo, Kristen Sullivan, Amy Dow, Dan Green at New Balance for sponsoring my trip to the NB Games.
For more on the New Balance brand, please click on http://newbalance.com