The 2013 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix has delivered great experiences for eighteen years now. As I stood on the infield of the Reggie Lewis track, after the meet, I witnessed Alberto Salazar’s Nike Oregon project working out. Repeat 200 meters, I saw Centro go 24.1 and Galen Rupp go 24.9. One of my keen observers put a clock on Galen Rupp in a 400 meters and watched him run 51 point.
Mary Cain, 2013 NB Indoor GP,
And that was AFTER the meet.
The 2013 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix entertained the SRO crowd, the TV broadcast on ESPN 2 on Sunday was well done and New Balance gave the sport something that they really did not have to do: provide an opportunity for some of our sport’s great stars to brightly shine on the 200 meter indoor track that makes the NB Indoor Grand Prix hum!
By ELLIOTT DENMAN
BOSTON – Don’t ever call the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix meet a Boston Marathon.
It’s not weeks long, days long, it’s just a little over three hours long.
And maybe that’s a formula track and field needs to lure more fans into the seats, In America anyway.
It certainly wouldn’t work for most meets around the nation, but it certainly does work on the first Saturday of February each year in Beantown.
The 18th annual New Balance Indoor Grand Prix (NBIGP) again drew a capacity crowd of some 4,500 to the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center Saturday.
Ticket prices ranged for $22 to $56 and it’s safe to say that all Reggie Lewis Center-goes got their money’s worth.
On the Reggie Lewis 200-meter track, always considered one of the nation’s fastest, it started with the men’s Masters Mile and built to the two-ply grand conclusion of the women’s two-mile and men’s 3,000 meters. If you couldn’t make it to the Reggie Lewis Center Saturday – when the meet was also streamed – you can catch it on ESPN2 Sunday.
Call these two final races perfect climaxes .
While they were pleasing to the small gathering of Ethiopian flag-waving fans – another annual NBIGP tradition – they gave American chauvinists plenty to be excited about as well.
Galen Rupp is already an Olympic 10,000-meter silver medalist. These days, he’s transforming himself – under the care and watchful eye of supercoach Alberto Salazar – into a world-class shorter-distance guy, as well. Eight days ago he legged a stupendous 3:50.92 mile at Boston University, Tonight he gave Ethiopia’s Hagos Gebrhiwet – an amazing find of just 18 years old – plenty to handle in that 3,000 meters.
As the laps-to-go chart wound down, it was first Gebrhiwet’s race to win – and then to lose .Rupp and Geb had shared lead much of the way before the Ethiopian built a gap of 10 meters, 15 meters. And then Rupp got back into it and the crowd went really wild.
Gebrhiwet had enough left to cross the line in 7:32.87, Rupp was right on his heels in 7:33.67. And both dipped under the meet record of 7:34.50 set by Aussie Craig Mottram in 2008.
But Rupp couldn’t get the American record – Bernard Lagat’s 7:32.43 set in 2007. (Neither could Lagat, for that matter He ran 7:34.71 earlier in the day in Karlshrue, Germany.)
Hagos Gebrhewit, Galen Rupp,
2013 NB Indoor Grand Prix,
Not truly satisfied with the performance, Rupp was seen running workout laps around the Reggie Lewis track long after most of the meet’s other
luminaries had headed back to their hotels.
Anyone checking the women’s two-mile results would be making a big mistake to call three-time Olympic gold medalist Tirunesh Dibaba (9:13.17) the event’s only winner.
Sure she was nearly three quarters of a lap in front at the end, but just as victorious, it can be said, was 16-year-old Bronxville, N.Y. schoolgirl Mary Cain, with her American HS record clocking of 9:38.68, just back of Canadian Olympian/ two-time Villanova NCAA cross country champion Sheila Reid (9:37.57.)
A week after she’d shattered the U.S. high school indoor mile record with 4:32.78 at the Armory in New York, Cain was again at the top of her game. Going through the mile post in 4:51, she negative-split a 4:47 bringing it in.
“Before I came here, I’d heard about that young girl (Cain) and seeing her tonight, she is definitely a geat talent. She will be good for the sport in America.”
“Oh-my-gosh, it was exciting lining up against all these other great runners; I wasn’t really running for a record, I just wanted to have a good race,” said Cain.
“Our plan is not to go for records,” said Salazar. “I told Mary her only job tonight was to compete well The records will always come But first will always have to be learning to compete.”
Two more big features dominated NBIGP action.
Olympic fourth-placer Matthew Centrowitz continues to demonstrate the incredible tactical skills that have put him among the world’s elite at age 23. Taking it out from the gun, he zipped to a 3:56.26 mile win, not close to Kenyan Laban Rotich’s 2005 meet record of 3:53.18, but just good enough to fight off Will Leer (3:56.35) and Craig Miller (3:56.85.)
Matthew Centrowitz, Will Leer,
Infield action had one huge highlight – Jenn Suhr’s 4.76-meter/ 15 feet, 7 1/4 winning pole vault
The Olympic heroine had just one earlier meet this winter – clearing 4.63/ 15 – 2/14 in a low key meet at Ohio’s splendid Spire Academy facility.
After the 4.76 tonight, she upped the bar to the meet record height of 4.90 / 16 feet, 3/4 of an inch.
After one good attempt and one awful one, she called it a day.
Jenn Suhr, 2013 NB Indoor Grand Prix,
“To open this well, I’m very happy the way things went,”
said Suhr. “So many great things have happened since London.
I just want to keep them going.”
Like many in the NBIGP cast, Suhr will be back in action at the Millrose Games.
This is a World Outdoor Championships year. The planet’s top talent is already planning its route to Moscow in August.
As ever, though, it’s got to be one step at a time.
And NBIGP was a big one.