Records, Upsets Highlight 2008 Reebok Boston Indoor Games By David Monti (c) 2008 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
(26-Jan) -- A world best by Meseret Defar, an all-comer's record by
Craig Mottram, and upset winners in both the men's and women's miles
gave the sell-out crowd of over 4000 fans plenty to cheer about at the
13th Reebok Boston Indoor Games here tonight at the Reggie Lewis Center
at Roxbury Community College.
Defar, of Ethiopia, the reigning
Olympic and world champion at 5000m, made her seventh appearance at
this meeting her best yet. Paced by Serbia's Marina Muncan and pushed
by New Zealand's Kim Smith, Defar destroyed Regina Jacobs's 2002 two
mile world best by nearly 13 seconds. With Smith never more than a few
steps back, Defar went through the first mile in four minutes and 38
seconds, and came back to run the second half in 4:33.5, breaking the
tape in 9:10.50. Smith powered home right behind her, running the #2
indoor time ever in history: 9:13.94.
Amazingly, Defar said she
did not actually run a full effort. "Yes, I'm not running today 100%,"
she told reporters in English after the race. She was quick to add
that defending her Olympic 5000m title would be an altogether different
challenge. "I cannot say that no one can beat me," she cautioned.
was thrilled with her performance, particularly pleased that she had
also gotten under Jacobs's old standard of 9:23.38. "I knew I was in
good shape," she said. "I knew it was not a strong record." Then she
quipped: "It was a pity Meseret was there or I could have claimed it
Mottram, the 2005 IAAF World Championships bronze
medalist at 5000m, ran a completely different kind of race, winning the
3000m in 7:34.50 and toppling Haile Gebrselassie's USA all-comers
record set at the same meeting in 2004 by 74/100ths of a second. For
six laps of the 15 lap race, New Zealand's Nick Willis ran closely
behind the tall Australian, but Mottram decided that he was a bit too
"He kept clipping my heels the first six laps," said
Mottram who decided that he felt strong enough to push past pacemaker
Christian Hesch and try for a fast time. "You've got to keep pushing
hard, pushing hard," he said, although he was not aware he was in
striking distance of Gebrselassie's record. "Had I known it was
Haile's (record), I would have pushed a little harder," he said.
"That's one record I'm proud to have."
Buoyed by the cheers of
the crowd, Mottram ran the rest of the race alone. Willis fell off the
pace (he would finish fifth in 7:51.35), allowing Markos Geneti of
Ethiopia (7:41.81) and Andrew Baddely of Great Britain (7:45.10) to
also make the podium.
The first big upset of the meet came in
the women's mile when Jenelle Deatherage found herself in the lead with
a lap to go. She was feeling strong, but wasn't sure she had enough
left to hold off the likes of Lauren Fleshman, Sara Hall and Liliya
Shobukhova who were still within striking distance.
"I was hoping I had a little left in the last 50," she said.
She didn't need it. Rounding the final turn alone she cruised to a 4:32.95 victory, more than half a second up on Fleshman.
damn good," Deatherage said when asked how it felt to win in a major
invitational meet. "Seriously, that was a long time coming."
credited her long-time coach Dennis Barker for getting her to a high
enough level so that she was able to make some changes in her training
this year with her new coach, Juli Henner. Henner, who lives in the
Washington, D.C. area, coaches Deatherage, who lives in Minneapolis, by
e-mail and telephone. "I do all my hard workouts on my own," she said.
men's mile saw an incredibly close finish with Pablo Solares of Rice
University upsetting a solid field. Off of a slow 2:01.4 first half,
Solares ran close to race leader Rob Myers trying to set himself up for
"I got a little worried," said the fifth year senior
when he found himself still behind going into the last turn. "I knew I
had something with 50 meters to go."
The tall Mexican had just enough, passing Myers about a meter from the tape to win by just 1/100th of a second in 4:00.34.
thought coming out of the turn I had him," said Myers who was
nonetheless pleased that he had run aggressively. "Obviously, I was
tightening up a little."
The meet was disappointing for Tirunesh
Dibaba, despite the fact that she won the women's 3000m handily. The
reigning world 10,000m champion had hoped to challenge Meseret Defar's
world indoor record, but she was sabotaged by the same mysterious
abdominal cramp which bothered her in the 10,000m at last summer's IAAF
World Championships in Osaka. Despite clocking an indoor personal best
8:33.37, she was clearly frustrated. "It's the same problem I had in
the world championships and other places," said Dibaba through her
translator. "It's a cramp on the side of my stomach. It's a very
serious problem, and I think it's getting worse. We have seen so many
doctors and they told me I have nothing."
Ejegayehu, the 2004 Olympic 10,000m silver medalist, shared the lead
until her younger sister took off with two laps to go. She finished
second in 8:36.59, a personal best by exactly 13 seconds. Megan
Metcalfe's personal best 8:52.85 in third place assured her of a spot
on Canada's team for the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Valencia in
There was spirited action in other events, including both
the boys and girls junior miles. Luke Puskedra of Ogden, Utah, beat
Colby Lowe of Southlake, Texas, in the final meters of the boys' mile,
4:08.77 to 4:08.99. On the girls' side, Jillian Smith of Manahawkin,
N.J., won handily over Jessica Parry of London, Ont., 4:48.83 to
4:53.05. Morgan Uceny (2:05.75) and Khadevis Robinson (1:50.92) won
their respective 800m races.