This is our update on the opening performance of the 2023 NB Indoor GP, with Femke Bol’s run over 500 meters. Femke opened the meet with a bang, and a new World record, breaking a seventeen-year-old record! We’ve added quotes from Femke, thanks to the team at the media zone (Sandra Nel Kurman and Michelle Sammet).
Updated February 9, 2023, with Femke Bol quotes
Femke Bol gets her first World Record!
The 500 meters is a tough distance. For the 200 to the 400-meter specialist, it is insanely long for their focus. For the 800-meter specialist, is so damn fast!
Femke Bol is a 400m flat/ 400m hurdle specialist. In 2021, Femke took the Olympic bronze behind Sydney McLaughlin’s gold and Dalilah Muhammed’s silver in the 400-meter hurdles.
In 2022, Femke Bol took the silver at the indoor 400 meters to Shaunae Miller Uibo and anchored her 4x400m team to the silver at the World Indoors in Belgrade. At the World outdoors, Femke Bol took silver in the 400-meter hurdles and anchored a blistering 400m to nearly take the gold from the Dominican Republic in the Mixed 4×400 meters. But it was in August 2022, in her third championship of the year, that Femke Bol showed her true fitness. First, she won the 400m flat, then, she won her specialty, the 400m hurdles, and finally, her anchor of the 4×400 meters gave her three golds in the 2022 European Athletics Outdoor championships.
I spoke with Femke Bol at the NB Presser on Friday, February 3. I thought one of her answers was quite telling. When emcee Geoff Wightman asked Femke Bol if she knew the splits that she needed for the 500m world record, she said, with a smile, a curt, “Yes.” It was not lost on the media assembled that Femke did not share those splits.
After the presser, Femke Bol was kind enough to give me five minutes for a video interview. I asked her about 2022, her focus in 2023, and what she wanted to do in the 500 meters. Femke Bol answered, with a smile, “Run a respectable race.”
In the 500 meters at the 2023 NB Indoor GP, Femke Bol had two laps plus one-half lap to run the 500 meters. The banked, brand-new Beynon indoor track is fast, and the intimacy of the crowd added to the performance.
In truth, Femke Bol was in the zone. She was in that place where fitness, focus, and competition pushed her. Femke had company for one lap, in truth, and by the 400 meters (two laps into the race), Femke Bol was beginning to push and was beginning to fatigue.
Femke’s first comment to the inquisitive interviewer:
“I’m just super happy to have it worked out like this.
To the query, will Femke will run further than 500 meter, Femke was quite clear:
“No, I’m not planning to go further than 500. I think it’s a nice start because 100s in the winter, but now I’m moving up to some 400s before I do European Indoors.”
That perfect storm of fitness, form, emotion, and the drive showed that the three-time European champion was ready for this race, one hundred meters longer than any previous race.
Femke Bol pumped her arms coming off the turn, and I noted the time, seeing that she had a very good shot at the seventeen year old record. Femke Bol gutted out that last 50 meters, where one’s body implores you to stop and have a Pop Tart, do anything but let your lungs burn and legs fill with so much lactic acid that you are going to collapse.
That would have happened if Femke Bol was a mere mortal, but she is, kind readers, not. Femke Bol is going to be a European superstar, and yes, a world star as well.
As Femke Bol pushed herself into a place where no one had gone before, running 1:05.63, almost three seconds ahead of her competition and, to the delight of five thousand track fans at THE TRACK at new balance, a new World record!
What a debut in North America for Femke Bol on the indoor circuit. And, in the home that Jim Davis, who purchased New Balance way back in 1972, built. This is a sanctuary of sport, and the fast track, the huge audience (just about the size needed for the World Indoor Championships bid), and the fields put together for the New Balance Indoor GP number 27, made this meet a special one.
But, it was Femke Bol that gave THE TRACK at new balance, its first individual world record.
Her final response to the media was quite telling. On her experience of coming to visit her sponsor’s global HQ, and racing indoors in North America for the first time:
“It’s been crazy. It’s been my first time to come for a meet in the US and it’s my sponsor’s headquarters, so it’s super nice to be here. It’s truly amazing. The audience has also been amazing, they really helped me so much today. So, it’s just amazing to be here and have this whole new experience.”
Congrats Femke Bol! What a performance! And what a smile!
To read more about Femke Bol, please check out this interview: https://www.runblogrun.com/2023/02/femke-bol-the-three-time-european-gold-medalist-to-debut-indoors-in-north-america-at-nb-indoor-gp-over-500-meters.html
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