BOSTON -- In a meet that saw six world leads set, it was the women’s distance medley relay that reigned supreme. Bettering the world record that was set two years ago at this meet, 2016 Olympians Emma Coburn (Crested Butte, Colorado), Sydney McLaughlin (Dunellen, New Jersey), Brenda Martinez (Rancho Cucamonga, California) and Jenny Simpson (Oviedo, Florida) teamed up to break the DMR world record at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in 10:40.31.
The 2017 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix is available on demand on USATF.TV +PLUS starting at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, January 29.
Coburn got things started for Team USA, handing off the baton to McLaughlin ahead of the team from Europe, with the Olympic bronze medalist splitting 3:18.40 on the 1200m leg. With a bit of ground to make up to get the team back on pace, McLaughlin cruised through her 400m leg and shaved a second off the gap between Team USA’s pace and the record, coming through in 52.32.
Martinez ran a masterful third leg to put the U.S. back within world record contention, storming through her 800m leg in 2:01.94 to give Simpson a two second cushion with just the 1600m leg remaining. Simpson kept a calculation going in her head throughout her time on the track, ticking off the seconds and making sure she could hold on the lead Martinez gave her. With the crowd on its feet, Simpson sprinted through the bell lap and pointed triumphantly at the clock as she crossed in 10:40.31, a 4:27.66 1600m split, to better the previous record of 10:42.57.
Chelimo runs world lead to open 2017
Olympic 5000m silver medalist Paul Chelimo (Portland, Oregon) registered a world lead in the men’s 3000m, chasing down multi-time NCAA champion Lawi Lalang of Kenya over the final three laps to win in 7:42.39.
“The big thing was [Lawi] went out too fast,” Chelimo said. “He was too quick through the first lap in 57...58, faster than we wanted to go. I just wanted to go under 7:30.
“For the first race of the season, I can’t ask for much more,” Chelimo continued. “When you go to a race and no one wants to take out the pace, it’s hard to go to the front and it’s hard to get a fast time. Most important part for a fast time is the first half. I was just running my race.”
Olympic 1500m gold medalist Centro earns second win of season
Starting his indoor season two weeks ago with a win at 3,000 meters, Olympic 1500m champion Matt Centrowitz (Arnold, Maryland) dropped down his distance and took home another victory for the early 2017 season, winning the New Balance Men’s Mile Saturday in 3:55.78. Centrowitz led wire-to-wire in a tactical 1500m, sticking close to a faster-than-expected rabbit and surging with two laps to go. Centrowitz looked in control of the field from the gun and held off Kenya’s Vincent Kibet and Great Britain’s Jake Wightman for the win.
In other IAAF World Indoor Tour action, Charlene Lipsey (Hempstead, New York) stunned in the women’s 800m, cruising to victory in a world-leading 2:02.01. English Gardner (Voorhees Township, New Jersey) won the MBTA women’s 60m in 7.17, out-leaning Beijing 2015 teammate Dezerea Bryant (Milwaukee, Wisconsin), 7.17-7.19.
“I stumbled on about the fourth or fifth step,” Gardner said. “It was a pretty good start, but it’s only about my third time in blocks this year. I knew if I was patient, they would come back. My maturity won the race today - I’m proud of myself for holding my composure.”
In the women’s 300m, Olympic 4x400m gold medalist Courtney Okolo easily won in 36.87, holding off Candace Hill (Conyers, Georgia) and Jessica Beard (Euclid, Ohio). Youngster and first-year pro Noah Lyles (Alexandria, Virginia) took down reigning champ Vernon Norwood (Morgan City, Louisiana) in the men’s race, finishing in 32.67.
In the men’s 600m, it was a battle between Olympian Duane Solomon (Lompoc, California) and newcomer Donavan Brazier (Grand Rapids, Michigan). Shoulder to shoulder at the final turn, Solomon turned on the afterburners to storm toward the finish in 1:16.36, but was disqualified following his finish due to cutting in too early in the first lap. Brazier took the win in 1:16.57.
The next stop in the USATF Championship Series is the Armory Track Invitational on Saturday, February 4. Action begins on NBCSN at 4:30 p.m. ET. Fans can follow along with #USATF on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.