BOSTON, Mass. (Jan. 7, 2015)—With 24 Olympic and World Championships medals between them, Meseret Defar and Bernard Lagat are unquestionably two of the best track athletes in history. Not only will both be returning to Boston to compete in theNew Balance Indoor Grand Prix on Feb. 7, organizers announced today, but both will also be marking milestones in their careers.
The New Balance Indoor Grand Prix will kick off an indoor season in which Boston will be the epicenter of track and field in the United States, with the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center at Roxbury Community College also set to host the USATF Indoor Track & Field Championships, from Feb. 27-March 1. Tickets for both events—including money-saving packages for the two meets—are now on sale at www.nbindoorgrandprix.com or by calling 1-877-849-8722.
Defar, 31, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time World Champion at 5000 meters, will be competing for the first time since the birth of a daughter in June. Her last race was on Aug. 29, 2013, when she won the 2013 IAAF Diamond League title at 5000 meters. Here, she will line up in the 2000 meters.
“It is perfect that I am running my first race since childbirth in Boston,” said Defar. “I always feel so comfortable and welcome in the city and at the track, and of course I have not forgotten setting a World Best there. I am eager to show my fans there that Meseret is back!”
In 2008, the Ethiopian superstar set a World Best in the 2-Mile on the Reggie Lewis track. She still holds the World Best in the 2-Mile outdoors, as well as the World Record at 5000 meters indoors.
Lagat, a two-time Olympic medalist at 1500 meters and 2007 World Champion at 1500 meters and 5000 meters, returns to theNew Balance Indoor Grand Prix for the first time since 2010. In that race, he broke the American Record for 5000 meters indoors.
This time, he will compete at 3000 meters—as a 40-year-old, a birthday he celebrated on Dec. 12. The American master’s record for 3000 meters indoors (8:20.96) was set by Brian Pope at the Boston Invitational in 2005; Lagat’s fastest 3000 meters indoors last season was 7:38.51.
One of the most-popular athletes in the sport, Lagat holds seven current American marks and has won 12 national titles.
Both Defar and Lagat will face strong competition. Returning in an attempt to improve on her runner-up finish at 2000 meters here last year will be 24-year-old Emma Coburn, who went on to be ranked #2 in the world in the 3000-meter steeplechase for 2014, the highest ranking in history by an American woman. In his race, Lagat will have to contend with 20-year-old Hagos Gebrhiwet, the reigning IAAF World Championships silver medalist at 5000 meters from Ethiopia who set a World Junior Record for 3000 meters indoors (7:32.87) at this meet in 2013.
These four stars join the previously announced Jenny Simpson—ranked #1 in the world for 2014 at 1500 meters—plus Jenn Suhr,Mary Cain, Matthew Centrowitz, and Brenda Martinez in celebrating the 20th running of the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, which has played host to seven World Records and 11 American Records. The second stop in the 2015 Indoor USATF Championship Series, the meet on Saturday, Feb. 7, will begin at 4:30 p.m.
About New Balance:
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