New Balance All-Stars (and HSer Roisin Willis) Crush DMR World Record As The TRACK Opens in Boston
By Jonathan Gault
April 15, 2022
BOSTON — The all-star team of Heather MacLean, Kendall Ellis, Roisin Willis, and Elle Purrier St. Pierre ensured that the grand opening of The TRACK at New Balance went according to script by breaking the world record in the distance medley relay on Friday night. Roared on by a crowd of thousands at New Balance’s brand-new indoor palace in Allston, MacLean (3:14.92), Ellis (52.05), high schooler Willis (2:03.30), and Purrier St. Pierre (4:23.55) clocked 10:33.85 to take more than six seconds off the previous world indoor best of 10:39.91 set by the Nike Union Athletics Club two months ago in Spokane. The time was also faster than the outdoor world record of 10:36.50 set by the US team of Treniere Moser, Sanya Richards-Ross, Ajee’ Wilson, and Shannon Rowbury at the 2015 World Relays in the Bahamas.
New Balance had a bunch of VIPs in town and pulled out all the stops to make sure the record went down, giving MacLean a pacer for the first leg in addition to utilizing the Wavelight pacing lights on the inside of the track. The lights would ultimately prove superfluous, however, as the team never slipped behind record pace after MacLean, the US indoor 1500 champion, got them started.
Purrier St. Pierre had the most impressive leg of the night, soloing a 4:23 to crush the record, but the MVP of the team may well have been Ellis, a late replacement once Olympic 400m hurdles champion Sydney McLaughlin scratched. The team was informed last night that McLaughlin would not be running, at which point Ellis, who was supposed to compete this weekend at Mt. SAC, instead hopped on a redeye from Los Angeles to Boston, arriving at 6 a.m. Friday morning. She showed no ill effects tonight, taking care of business with a 52.05 split to set the rest of the team up for success.
New Balance, unfortunately, did not make either Ellis or Willis available to media after the race.
The record, which came in a party-like atmosphere with a DJ spinning pulse-pounding tunes and fans swigging free beer, was particularly meaningful for MacLean, a Massachusetts native who runs for New Balance Boston and lives a block from the track. Her connection runs even deeper than that, though. MacLean’s late father, Robert, spent most of his life working in the Boston area for Ironworkers Local 7. A while back, while the building was still being constructed, MacLean was working out at the gym next door when she happened to glance up at the naked beams that would one day form The TRACK. Spray-painted on them were the letters IRON WORKERS LOCAL 7.
“I was like, all right, this is going to be really special to run in,” MacLean said.
Quick Take: The TRACK is terrific, and the atmosphere tonight was incredible. Let’s hope it stays that way once fans actually have to pay to get in.
Based on what we saw tonight, The TRACK is going to be an incredible place to watch a track meet. The facility is massive and can seat up to 5,000 fans with an enormous set of bleachers on the home straight. The video board at the base of the home straight is enormous and the acoustics worked well. It’s too early to tell whether it’s faster than that other track in town, but tonight’s WR was a good way to start. (A reminder that two of the top indoor tracks in the world, The Track and Boston University, are now located 1.3 miles apart).
Friday night was a party, with New Balance throwing open the doors to its new house and inviting the running world to come over. And while tonight’s atmosphere is going to be hard to replicate — holding a meet on Boston Marathon weekend with no entry fee and free beer is a great way to pack the house — perhaps some of those in attendance tonight may now be convinced to come back for meets such as the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix or the 2024 NCAA championships. After all, Boston already has a fast indoor track. This place was built to attract fans.
Quick Take: The women ran so fast tonight that pro teams are soon going to have to look for a new record to break
In recent years, New Balance has become really fond of the chasing the women’s DMR “world record” (technically the indoor mark is a world best as World Athletics only recognizes an outdoor record). It’s not hard to see why. It’s a rarely-run event, so they could put together an all-star team of their best athletes and, even if they weren’t yet in peak fitness, still be assured of breaking the record pretty handily. It’s an easy way to spotlight your stars, who are guaranteed a win, and that’s what NB did by breaking the record in 2015, 2017, and now 2022.
But they may not be able to rely on that strategy much longer. 10:33 is a pretty legit time, so any squad targeting this record in the future will have to be in pretty good shape.
Or they could just switch to more low-hanging fruit, such as the indoor 4 x mile record (an event run so infrequently that it’s not even clear what the current world best is).
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