Brooks Beasts vs. NY/NJ Track Club: World Record 4 x 800 Attempt To Take Place at 2014 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix

January 23, 2014

Update: Duane Solomon has announced he will enter a team.

The organizers for the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix (NBIGP) in Boston on February 8th announced today that the meet will feature a world record clash in the 4 x 800 between the NY/NJ track club and the Brooks Beasts track club. The meet’s press release on that race and a few other additions to the field appears at the end of the article.

Our quick takes first.

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Quick Thought #1: This is a great move assuming the teams are competitive and/or one team gets close to the record of 7:13.94 per record. We’ve always thought the 4 x 800 is one of the best events in all of track and field and track fans always complain they don’t have teams to cheer for. Now the NBIGP has both a 4 x 800 and teams to cheer for/against.

Quick Thought #2: We think the record should fall as the record averages out to 1:48.45 per leg so that’s certainly doable even indoors.

When Nick Symmonds signed with Brooks, we took a look at what the Brooks Beasts could theoretically run for 4 x 800. It’s well under the record:

Brooks Beast 4 x 800 Based on PBs
Matt Scherer – 1:46.11
Mark Wieczorek – 1:45.36
Casimir Loxsom – 1:45.28
Nick Symmonds – 1:42.95
Total: 6:59.70

What about the NY/NJ Track Club you say? Ok, here is your answer:
Robby Andrews: 1:44.71
Mike Rutt: 1:45.08
Brian Gagnon: 1:45.45
Tevan Everett: 1:46.02
Total: 7:01.26

Even indoors, someone should break 7:13.94.

Nick Symmonds is now with Brooks Nick Symmonds is now with Brooks

Quick Thought #3: It’s a little dicey to hold a relay race with just two teams. It would be nice to have a third or fourth team.

When co-founder Robert Johnson was coaching at Cornell, he was obsessed with secretly plotting a crack at the rarely run collegiate indoor mark of 7:17.45 (1:49.36 per man).

So after getting the press release, we reached out to NBIGP organizers and asked if there would be any additional teams added to the race, possibly collegiate teams (Penn State?). Also wouldn’t it be awesome if the also stacked Nike Oregon Track Club with Tyler Mulder (1:44.34), Andrew Wheating (1:44.56) and Elijah Greer (1:45.04) was also in its so it would be a battle between the three top mid-d clubs in the country?

We got a quick response back from meet director Mark Wetmore:

1. The field has not been finalized just yet. We expect around 4 post-collegiate teams and anticipate the race to be competitive and fast. It is unlikely that the Oregon Track Club will participate but hope to have them in Boston in the future. We did reach out.

2. This is a big weekend of running in Boston so we are open to the idea of adding a few college teams that may already be in the region or want to travel specifically for the race. There is no doubt they would be pulled to a fast time. Because of the collegiate schedule, but we recognize that most teams need to use the weekend to chase DMR qualifying opportunities.

Quick Take #4: Only in track and field.

Also included in today’s NBIGP press release is the fact that the Nike Oregon Project’s Matt Centrowitz has been added to the men’s mile at NBIGP. So that means Centrowitz’s teammate Galen Rupp will be taking a crack at the American record in the mile at Boston University’s Terrier Classic at 3:50 pm ET and then Centrowitz will be running the mile on national tv at New Balance at the Reggie Lewis Center at 4:55 pm ET.

Can anyone imagine something happening in say the NFL? In the NFL, the players don’t like playing Thursday night games but they do because the league, which pays their salaries, makes them.

In track, where most athletes get most of their income from their shoe sponsors, athletes are basically free agents with few obligations and they can pick and choose to run (or not run) in whatever meets they like.

The full press release from the NBIGP appears below.

Assault on 4x800m World Record Set in Boston

Symmonds, Andrews lead relay teams at New Balance Indoor Grand Prix; Centrowitz, Rowbury, Uceny, Cantwell among latest US stars added

BOSTON, Mass. (Jan. 23, 2014)Nick Symmonds, the 2013 IAAF World Championships silver medalist and third-fastest American 800-meter runner in history, will headline an attempt to break the 4×800-meter relay World Record at the 2014 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, organizers announced today.

Symmonds will lead a Brooks Beast Track Club team that also features Matt Scherer, Mark Wieczorek, and Cas Loxsom. Also going after the record will be a team from the New Jersey-New York Track Club led by Robby Andrews, the 2011 NCAA Champion at 800 meters and 2010 World Junior Championships bronze medalist.

The 4×800-meter World Record of 7:13.94 was set at this meet in 2000 by a Global Athletics & Marketing team of Joey Woody, Karl Paranya, Rich Kenah, and David Krummenacker.

The New Balance Grand Prix, an Olympic-style all-star event, will take place on Feb. 8 at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center at Roxbury Community College. Tickets are on sale at or by calling 1-877-849-8722.

Seven other top athletes, with 14 Olympic or IAAF World Championships medals among them, have also been added. They are:

· Tomasz Majewski of Poland, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, and Christian Cantwell, a three-time World Indoor Champion and 2009 World Champion outdoors, will face the previously announced Ryan Whiting in the shot put. Whiting, the 2012 World Indoor Champion, was ranked #1 in the world for 2013.

· Shannon Rowbury, the 2009 World Championships bronze medalist whose sixth- and seventh-place finishes at the last two Olympics are the best ever by a U.S. woman at 1500 meters, will compete in the 2000 meters.

· Matthew Centrowitz, who earned medals in the last two World Championships (silver, 2013; bronze, 2011) at 1500 meters, will run the mile.

· Morgan Uceny, the three-time U.S. Champion who was ranked #1 in the world at 1500 meters in 2011, is set for the 1000 meters.

· Emma Coburn, a three-time NCAA Champion and a steeplechase finalist in the 2012 Olympics, will run the 2000 meters.

· Octavious Freeman, the rising young American sprint star who, at 21, was a finalist in the 100 meters at last summer’s World Championships and earned a silver medal on the 4×100-meter relay, will compete at 60 meters in her New Balance Indoor Grand Prix debut.

Now in its 19th year, the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix has played host to six World Records and 10 American Records. The first stop in the 2014 Indoor USATF Championship Series, the meet on Saturday, Feb. 8, will begin at a new, earlier time of 3 p.m.

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