New Balance Grand Prix — The Miles Top The Bill

Both scored PRs as Yomif Kejelcha (3:51.70) pulled away from Bethwel Birgen (3:54.82) in the mile. (VICTOR SAILER/PHOTO RUN)

Roxbury Crossing, Massachusetts, January 26—The IAAF’s 2019 World Indoor Tour got underway in Boston with the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix. A sold-out crowd at the Reggie Lewis Center was treated to some impressive early-season performances, some close races, and a few surprises.

As is often the case in U.S. indoor meets, the miles stole the show. The men’s race turned out to be a runaway for Yomif Kejelcha, the two-time indoor World Champion at 3000m. The 21-year-old Ethiopian followed the pacemaker for the first 3 laps, and then kept up the rabbit’s pace without him. He finished in an Ethiopian Record 3:51.70, more than 3 seconds ahead of Kenya’s Bethwel Birgen, who never seriously challenged Kejelcha, who is currently training in Oregon. It was just 0.09 short of Nick Willis’s meet record. Willis, who has won this event 5 times, finished 4th.

The fastest miler in the world last year, Edward Cheserek, chose to go for a repeat win in the 3000. But after following the rabbit for 5 laps, Hagos Gebrhiwet, whom Cheserek had beaten here last year, pulled away steadily to win in 7:37.41, more than 5 seconds ahead of the Oregon alum.

The women’s mile was a much closer race than the men’s, and was also quite fast. Another Ethiopian, Olympic finalist Dawit Seyaum, stayed right behind the rabbit for the first 4 laps and continued to lead until just before the final turn, where she was passed by Canada’s Gabriela DeBues-Stafford and then by New Englander Elinor Purrier, who gave chase on the homestraight, but fell just short of the victory.

DeBues-Stafford’s 4:24.80 was a Canadian Record and was also the fastest indoor time in the world since ’17. Purrier was only 0.08 back and set a PR which moved her to =No. 8 on the all-time U.S. list. There were five other PRs in the race, including national records for Sweden and Ireland.

The women’s 5000 was a strange race in which the rabbit set a modest pace (3:06.91 for 1000m) but nobody followed her—at one point she led by nearly 10 seconds. After first 8 laps, the rabbit dropped out and Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen picked up the pace a bit herself, but by the 3000 mark, she had pulled away from the rest of the field. She won the race in 15:15.80, more than half a lap ahead of Jenny Simpson, who was running her first 5000 in more than 5 years and her first indoor 5000 in nearly 10 years.

Two of the shorter races were also very close. In the men’s 800, Donavan Brazier overtook his new training partner, Clayton Murphy just before the finish line after letting Murphy stay in front of him for the entire race. His winning time of 1:45.91 was 0.03 ahead of Murphy, but 0.70 short of the meet record he had set here last year. Murphy’s mark was a PR, one which moved him to No. 10 on the all-time U.S. list. “I thought that I should have gotten myself into a better position,” said Brazier. “But nonetheless, I came up with a win.”

The meet had only two field events, but both were noteworthy. The pole vault saw Katie Nageotte upset World and Olympic champ Katerína Stefanídi. Nageotte won the competition by clearing 15-9¼ (4.81) and then upped the world lead to 15-11¼ (4.86) before unsuccessfully attempting to improve her PR to 16-1¾ (4.92). Maggie Ewen won the women’s shot with a list-leading 63-3¼ (19.28), an indoor PR that moved her to No. 6 on the all-time U.S. list.

One of the most anticipated events of the meet was the professional debut—and reportedly only indoor race of the year—of Sydney McLaughlin. An Olympian at 17, McLaughlin is still only 19 and turned pro after a year running for Kentucky. She chose to run the 500, an event she had not previously run, and she won easily over an undistinguished field in 1:09.46. “I think I went out a little conservatively,” she said, “but I felt it coming home that last 100, so that was good.”


NEW BALANCE MEN’S RESULTS

IAAF World Indoor Tour; Roxbury Crossing, Massachusetts, January 26 (200 banked)—

300: 1. Rai Benjamin (US) 32.55 PR; 2. Bernardo Baloyes (Col) 33.70 PR; 3. Josephus Lyles (US) 33.72; 4. John Lundy (US) 34.35.

400: 1. Nathan Strother (US) 46.97; 2. Kyle Collins (US) 47.58; 3. Rilwan Alwonle (Ngr) 48.07; 4. David Kendziera (US) 48.25 PR.

800: 1. Donavan Brazier (US) 1:45.91;

2. Clayton Murphy (US) 1:45.94 PR (10, x A);

3. Saúl Ordóñez (Spa) 1:46.62 PR; 4. Sam Ellison (US) 1:46.64; 5. Guy Learmonth (GB) 1:46.98 PR.

Mile: 1. Yomif Kejelcha (Eth) 3:51.70 NR (3:36.43 PR); 2. Bethwel Birgen (Ken) 3:54.82 PR (3:37.50); 3. Sam Prakel (US) 3:56.60 PR (3:41.42 PR); 4. Nick Willis (NZ) 3:56.75 (3:41.73); 5. Vincent Kibet (Ken) 3:56.93 (3:41.35); 6. Corey Bellemore (Can) 4:01.11 (3:43.57); 7. Justyn Knight (Can) 4:03.34 (3:45.72 PR).

3000: 1. Hagos Gebrhiwet (Eth) 7:37.41; 2. Edward Cheserek (Ken) 7:42.93; 3. Adel Mechaal (Spa) 7:45.56; 4. Andrew Butchart (GB) 7:46.50; 5. Chris O’Hare (GB) 7:47.78 PR; 6. Brian Barraza (US) 7:52.45 PR; 7. Tripp Hurt (US) 7:53.85; 8. Will Leer (US) 7:54.01; 9. Andrew Heyes (GB) 8:00.26; 10. Harvey Dixon (Gib) 8:00.87 NR.

60H: 1. Jarret Eaton (US) 7.64; 2. Aaron Mallett (US) 7.65; 3. Freddie Crittenden (US) 7.66; 4. Josh Thompson (US) 7.66; 5. Aleec Harris (US) 7.77; 6. Jeffrey Julmis (Hai) 7.84.

NEW BALANCE WOMEN’S RESULTS

60: 1. Michelle-Lee Ahye (Tri) 7.21; 2. Shania Collins (US) 7.27 PR; 3. Aaliyah Brown (US) 7.36; 4. Schillonie Calvert-Powell (Jam) 7.38; 5. Felicia Brown (US) 7.45; 6. Tahesia Harrigan-Scott (BVI) 7.56.

300: I–1. Kendall Ellis (US) 36.97 PR; 2. Candace Hill 37.49; 3. Maggie Barrie (SL) 37.95 PR. II–1. Gabby Thomas (US) 37.03 PR; 2. Shakima Wimbley (US) 37.18; 3. Brionna Thomas (US) 37.91.

500: 1. Sydney McLaughlin (US) 1:09.46 PR (9, x A);

2. Ashley Taylor (Can) 1:12.22 PR; 3. Samantha Murphy (Can) 1:12.84 PR; 4. Dalanne Zanotelli (US) 1:13.35 PR.

600: 1. Raevyn Rogers (US) 1:27.31; 2. Lynsey Sharp (GB) 1:29.11; 3. Kendra Chambers (US) 1:29.21; 4. Déborah Rodriguez (Uru) 1:29.75 PR;… dnf—Georganne Moline (US).

Mile: 1. Gabriela DeBues-Stafford (Can) 4:24.80 NR (4:08.36 PR);

2. Elinor Purrier (US) 4:24.88 PR (=8, x A) (4:08.50);

3. Dawit Seyaum (Eth) 4:26.84 PR (4:08.38 PR); 4. Cory McGee (US) 4:28.07 (4:09.85); 5. Yolanda Ngarambe (Swe) 4:28.30 NR (4:10.13 PR); 6. Ciara Mageean (Ire) 4:28.31 NR (4:09.53); 7. Brenda Martinez (US) 4:29.11 PR (4:10.17); 8. Helen Schlachtenhaufen (US) 4:31.86 PR (4:15.14); 9. Kaela Edwards (US) 4:32.14; 10. Emma Coburn (US) 4:32.68 (4:14.39); 11. Aisha Praught-Leer (Jam) 4:33.52 (4:15.16); 12. Stephanie Garcia (US) 4:42.36;… dnf—Hannah England (GB).

5000: 1. Konstanze Klosterhalfen (Ger) 15:15.80 PR; 2. Jenny Simpson (US) 15:33.38; 3. Katie Mackey (US) 15:42.10 PR; 4. Kim Conley (US) 15:44.41; 5. Stephanie Bruce (US) 15:44.77 PR.

Field Events

PV: 1. Katie Nageotte (US) 15-11¼ (4.86) (14-9½, 15-1½, 15-5½, 15-9¼, 15-11¼, 16-1¾ [xxx]) (4.51, 4.61, 4.71, 4.81, 4.86, 4.92 [xxx]);

2. Katerína Stefanídi (Gre) 15-5½ (4.71); 3. Annie Rhodes-Johnigan (US) 15-1½ (4.61) PR; 4. Alysha Newman (Can) 14-9½ (4.51);… nh—Chloe Cunliffe (US), Kristen Leland (US).

SP: 1. Maggie Ewen (US) 63-3¼ (19.28) PR (6, x A) (62-1¾, 63-3¼, 62-3, 59-7¾, 61-4¼, f) (18.94, 19.28, 18.97, 18.18, 18.70, f);

2. Christina Schwanitz (Ger) 61-11; 3. Jessica Ramsey (US) 59-9½ (18.22); 4. Anita Márton (Hun) 58-1¼ (17.71); 5. Brittany Crew (Can) 58-1 (17.70); 6. Janeah Stewart (US) 57-7¾ (17.57); 7. Monique Riddick (US) 56-7½ (17.26).

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