Will Coach’s History Repeat Itself in 4x800 Relay?

Erik Sowinski will be chasing a World Record on Saturday, but he’s not sure his coach wants him to get it.

That’s because his coach currently owns it.

“I think he’s excited to see the outcome,” said Sowinski, who will be on a 4x800-meter relay team going after the World Record at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, “but I’m sure deep down he’s hoping the record stays and I can’t blame him for that.”

Joey Woody says otherwise.

“Oh yeah,” said Woody, when asked if he would be rooting for Sowinski to take down the record.

In 2000 at the Reggie Lewis Center track, Woody’s lead-off run was key to his squad’s success. A 400-meter hurdler by trade, he nonetheless got the stick in the hand of Karl Paranya in a surprisingly strong second place. Paranya took the lead on the second leg, with Rich Kenah and David Krummenacker holding on to it to win in 7:13.94, breaking the mark of 7:17.8 set by a Soviet Union team in 1971.

Sowinski—the American Record-holder at 600 meters and the defending U.S. indoor champion at 800 meters—will be running on a U.S. All-Star team that includes Duane Solomon, Richard Jones, and David Torrence. Solomon finished fourth at 800 meters in the 2012 Olympic Games in 1:42.82, making him the second-fastest American in history at the distance; Torrence is a three-time national champion in the mile on the roads.

“There are definitely some similarities between their team and ours, which makes it exciting,” said Sowinski. “He still reminds me that while I have an American Record, he has me beat with part of that World Record, so we’ll have to see if we can change that.”

Just last week, Sowinski ran his fastest-ever 800 meters indoors, 1:46.84. His outdoor PB is 1:45.21.

“He’s ready to run,” said Woody, who after his relay World Record went on to win a silver medal in the 400-meter hurdles at the 2003 IAAF World Championships. “We were obviously proud of that record at the time; I think it’s a good record but I also think that it’s definitely a breakable record. There’s a lot more talent than when I was competing.”

For the past eight years, Woody has been an assistant coach at the University of Iowa, for which Sowinski was NCAA runner-up at 800 meters in 2012. Now 40, Woody called the confluence of coach/athletic/World Record “just awesome.”

Oddly enough, Solomon is coached by Johnny Gray, the American Record-holder at 800 meters who was on the second-place Santa Monica Track Club relay team in the 2000 meet, which also broke the previous World Record. It was Gray who pointed out Woody’s starring role in a post-race interview with the Boston Globe.

“I didn’t think [Woody] would have the heart and guts to run that leg, and that did it for them,” said Gray. I think he was the reason they won.”

For the complete 4x800 lineup, click here. The race, also featuring the Brooks Beasts (led by Nick Symmonds), they New Jersey-New York Track Club (led by Robby Andrews), and the SMTC, will be shown live on NBC Sports Network, which will broadcast the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix from 4:30 p.m.-6 p.m. EST on Saturday.

Jenn Hopes Timing Will Be Suhr Thing in Boston

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Suhr in Boston today, with a photo taken at the 2008 Olympics.

Jenn Suhr will kick off her season at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix on Saturday. Good timing. She hopes.

“My preparations right now have been better than they have in the past,” the 2012 Olympic gold medalist and World Indoor Record-holder in the pole vault said in an international media teleconference this morning. “I’ve made so many gains physically. I’m in such good shape right now that I’m actually a little out of timing on my vault because I’m not used to the speed and strength I have. So I’m just kind of waiting for that to match up.”

The Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center is the perfect place to put it all together. It was here that Suhr—who turns 32 tomorrow—won the first of her 14 national titles, as an unknown in 2005.

“The Reggie Lewis Center is definitely kind of a second home to me,” said Suhr, who is undefeated in six appearances at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, where she has set two indoor American Records. (She also set an AR at the Reggie at the 2009 USA Indoor Track and Field Championships.) “Boston is someplace I enjoy coming. It’s dear to my heart. I hope for something good, but I also hope to have fun.”

Last year, Suhr won here at 4.76m/15-7.25ft here on her way to breaking the World Indoor Record with a jump of 5.02m/16-5.50ft at the USA Indoor Track and Field Championships a month later: stunning not only for its height, but also for its timing. In her first meet of 2013, Suhr fell and hit the vault standard, leaving her with an injured hip on which she could barely run most of the time.

In the two meets before nationals, she said, she had to quit early when she just couldn’t go on.

“It just so happened that at nationals I could run, and I was able to time up the jump correctly,” she said. “It’s funny. Last year I was in timing with my pole but I was hurt; this year I’m not hurt but I’m kind of a little out of timing.”

Suhr decided to escape the “atrocious” weather of her native upstate New York this winter in favor of the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO, looking to do everything she can to make the U.S. team for the IAAF World Indoor Championships. That move could have something to do with the site of this year’s event, in Sopot, Poland, as well as with her unmarried name, Stuczynski.

Indeed, the prospect of competing in Poland spurred Suhr to do some genealogical research, talking with relatives to learn that her great-great grandfather, Julian, and his wife, Bernice, came over to the United States in 1905 from the area Lomza, near the border of Belarus and about 200 miles southeast of Sopot.

Poland “has been one place I’ve always wanted to go,” she said.

4x800 Smack Talk is Off and Running

Yesterday, the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix announced that its 19th-annual event, on Feb. 8, will feature a World Record attempt in the 4x800-meter relay. 

Last night, Nick Symmonds, who headlines one of the two top teams chasing the mark, got on a live Twitter chat to talk about the quest. As the hour progressed, more and more of his Brooks Beast Track Club relay mates and New Jersey-New York Track Club rivals joined the conversation. 

That’s when things got lively ….

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Uceny Ships Up to Boston

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Boston, long known as a distance-running mecca, is now home to one of the world’s top milers: Morgan Uceny, who has followed her long-time coach, Terrence Mahon, as he’s taken the helm of the new high-performance group at the Boston Athletic Association.

Living in East Watertown, Uceny—who was ranked #1 in the world at 1500 meters in 2011—can head about 1.5 miles in one direction to reach the popular running path along the Charles River, or a mile in the other direction to the widely known 2.5-mile loop around Fresh Pond. Or she can run through the Emerald Necklace out to Jamaica Pond, whose plowed 1.5-mile path is a godsend to the locals training for the Boston Marathon.

And she’s only about 10K from the Reggie Lewis Center, where she will compete in the 1000 meters at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix on Feb. 8.

“I’ve seen the world, and the country,” said Uceny, who spent 2013 training with Mahon in England and two months this fall at altitude back in Mammoth Lakes before heading East. “Boston’s been a really good experience so far. All of us (including training partners Anna Willard and Jen Rhines) are really excited about hopefully staying here more permanently … hopefully until the end of my running career. That would be great.”

Uceny, 28, ended last season on a high note with two good road miles, a win at the CityGames in England and a strong runner-up performance at the NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile Presented by Nissan. But for most of 2013, she struggled to recover after crashing to the track on the last lap of the 2012 Olympic final.

After taking a few days off, Uceny started to train again and realized that “something was off.” Her back continued to hurt for months; at one point she was in so much pain, unable to walk or even to lie down, that she went to the hospital. Between that and a chronic foot injury that bothered her going into London, she wasn’t herself again until those road miles in September.

And not just physically.

“This past year, it was just a lot of getting over the physical injuries as well as the emotional trauma,” said Uceny, who had also fallen in the 2011 IAAF World Championships, in which she was a gold-medal favorite. “All of a sudden when I was in races, I could tell that I was really tentative in packs, and I wasn’t comfortable being jostled. I’d look at pictures and I’d always be running on the outside, kind of worried about falling again. I had to keep racing and keep racing to get comfortable with it again. This weekend will be another test of that.”

Uceny will open her season on Saturday by running the mile at the New Balance Games in New York City, before returning home to Boston for the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix two weeks from now.

“Last year I was still really emotionally connected to the fall at the Olympics,” she said. “I couldn’t talk about it without tearing up. Now it still makes me sad, but it doesn’t have the same hold on me that it did. Now we’re looking forward, to the future.”

Two weeks ago, Uceny got a glimpse of that future when she and some of her training mates attended the women’s free skate at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, which were held in Boston and served as the final selection event for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.

“That was really cool,” she said. “It was just fun to be back in that kind of environment where you know they’re competing for a spot on the Olympic team.”

Boston is Raising Cain

Mary Cain, the 17-year-old track phenom who was named 2013 IAAF Newcomer of the Year, may hail from Bronxville, NY, but she has deep ties to Boston. Last winter, at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, the bubbly teen-ager broke the U.S. High School Record and American Junior Record for both the 2-Mile (9:38.68) and 3000 meters (9:04.51) en route; last Thursday, the newly minted professional set a World Junior Record for 1000 meters (2:39.25) at Boston University.

But that’s just skimming the surface of her Boston roots: Cain is coached in the Oregon Project by 1982 Boston Marathon winner Alberto Salazar, who was a high school phenom himself in Wayland when he ran with the Greater Boston Track Club under coach Bill Squires (a Boston legend shown above with Mary after her BU race.) “I love Boston,” said Cain, whose ponytail on Thursday was wrapped in “Boston Strong” blue and yellow ribbons. “Any little bit of support I can give to Boston, I’ll give it.”

Cain says she’ll be wearing the ribbons again when she returns to the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix on Feb. 8, this year to run the 2000 meters.

After her record-setting BU race, Cain perched on the high-jump mat in the infield for a chat before re-joining her teammates for a post-race workout on the track.

New Balance Indoor Grand Prix: You’ve set a lot of records in the past year, but this is your first World mark. Congratulations.

Mary Cain: To start off and get that it definitely is a confidence boost, especially when it has “world” behind it. That makes it a little more like, whoa. But after running that, I know I could have run faster, and that’s really exciting.

NBIGP: And now you’ll be coming back to the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix. How did you like it last year?

MC: That was a lot of fun. My mom was funny; she was like, “oh, are you racing [Three-time Olympic gold medalist Tirunesh] Dibaba again?” If you can call that racing her, then yeah. She said, “no offense, but at times I was just watching Dibaba.” I was like, “hey, so was I.” I was watching the board and thought, “whoa, she’s about to lap me, I better move out.”

NBIGP: For a few steps after the gun, you were actually leading her.

MC: Oh, I was! That was awesome. Everybody was screaming and I was like, “I got this.”

NBIGP: And this year you’ll be running the 2000 meters there. Are you looking forward to it?

MC: Yes, I’ve never run one. I actually tweeted out that I was super-excited: No matter what, it’s a PR! I actually like these kinds of quirky distances. The 1K is just a little longer than the 800, and the 2000 is just a little longer than the mile, so I kind of like exploring those.

NBIGP: It’s a school night. Don’t you have homework?

MC: I was originally going to have an econ test tomorrow, so I’m flying out really early to get home. But it was actually pushed back. It would have been more intense if I had a test tomorrow. I’m taking it a little bit easier this year. (Her courses include AP Econ, AP Lit, and ceramics, which she called “awesome.)

NBIGP: Are you able to have something of a “normal” senior year despite racing as a pro?

MC: I’m in the yearbook club; every Monday night we meet. I wake up early to run, or I’m running during other people’s lunch periods. Last year I took harder courses but this year I knew it probably made sense to back off a little bit. Last year I didn’t go to my prom. I actually went to the Occidental meet, where I ran 4:04 (4:04.62, a High School, Youth, and American Junior Record).  People were like “oh, you missed prom,” and I’m like, “I would have missed a 4:04, thank you.” If somebody asks me, I’ll go. But I’ll have to wait and see.

NBIGP: You think no one will ask you?

MC: Ah, yes. I was telling my mom, I’d probably have a better bet just taking one of my track friends. We’re a very small town, so it’s a little harder there, when you know all 100 other kids [in your class] since kindergarten. But I kind of like it, because next year I’m going to the University of Portland, which is also, as colleges go, a small school, so for me it’s within my comfort zone.

NBIGP: What’s it like being something of a celebrity in such a small school?

MC: It’s a K-12 school, so the younger kids are sometimes like “oh my gosh,” and the middle school boys will be like “race me.” But I’ve known these kids all my life so they treat me the same as they’ve always treated me. You know what’s really cute? When you see the little kids out on the track or at recess out running and sometimes they hop on my run with me. “Can we run with you?” I cheer them on until they fall off. “Good job, guys!” There was one girl who went for maybe three laps, and I thought, wow, I’m getting intimidated. I’d better pick it up.

NBIGP: If they keep you grounded, what do you think that you bring to them?

MC: I hope that I motivate people. I really do. I love track and field. I want to see it get on ESPN, get out there, be a bigger presence in the sports world. And if I can do that, that would be great. Or if I can motivate the person who DOES do that, that’s great, too.

NBIGP: And after you graduate in June, it’s off to the Pacific Northwest.

MC: Whenever I go out for a little trip to do workouts I’m like whoo, I’m going to have to be doing these workouts every day now; get ready, Mary. But I’m really excited. There’s a great group of girls in the program now, and when you have Galen Rupp and Mo Farah running next to you it’s a motivation, I’ll put it that way. I always say to myself, no matter how nervous I can get for my workout, in the scheme of things it kind of calms me down. They’re just so much fun, and they’re really calming. Sometimes when I’m a little nervous beforehand and they’re still talking and joking and stuff, I think, they’ve been through the ropes, they’ve done this. Most of them are anywhere from five to 10 years older than me, so it’s kind of nice to look at that  and say, they know what they’re doing if they’re relaxed right now and having fun. But I do find myself at times kind of staring at them, especially after this race (in which Rupp broke the 5000-meter American Record in the event after Cain’s.) I was like, “oh, my gosh, Galen, what the heck? Can I have your autograph?”

NBIGP: It seems as if you’ve been breaking records every week in high school. That won’t last forever, you know, as you make the next transition.

MC: (Laughing) Luckily, my freshman year I’ll still have these junior records. But when I get on the line, I’m not thinking I’m a 17-year-old. I’m thinking I’m a competitor, I’m competing against you. I don’t care if you’re 32 or 15, I’m racing you. And so I think it’s one of those things where it won’t be any different for me. I think kids who go from high school to college to professional, the transition is very different. For me, I did this last year. I want to do it this year, and then by the time I’m 27, same races, same meets, hopefully faster, but kind of the same thing.

The Reggie: It’s Far More Than Just a Track

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In 1958, the search began for a site on which to build an indoor track-and-field facility for Massachusetts high school athletes. On November 5, 1995, the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center, on the campus of Roxbury Community College, was finally dedicated.

It was a long struggle, led by the Massachusetts State Track Coaches Association (MSTCA), and one that has paid off in ways far beyond anyone’s hopes. In addition to the 96 track meets on this season’s schedule, “the Reggie” has turned into a magnet for community life, hosting everything from political rallies to benefit concerts to day-care tots looking for a place to romp indoors in the New England winters.

Just months after it was dedicated, the facility threw open its doors to the first Boston Indoor Games—now the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix—which will mark its 19th year on February 8. Keith McDermott, director of the center and intercollegiate athletics at Roxbury Community College, has been instrumental in the growth of the meet, which exploded from a smattering of mostly local athletes and a few hundred spectators into one of the top indoor track-and-field events in the world, the site of six World Records and 10 consecutive sell-outs.

imageMcDermott, 52, was himself a top sprinter for Springfield College, for which he was a two-time New England long jump champion; his personal best of 9.6 seconds for the 100-yard dash stands as the school record. He sat down during the recent holiday break to look back at the evolution of both the meet and the vital facility that he has led since 1998.

New Balance Indoor Grand Prix: It’s school vacation right now, and this place is hopping. Is it ever quiet around here?

Keith McDermott: Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, that’s about it. This time of year we’re open seven days a week, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., sometimes with two track meets a day from December 1 through March.

NBIGP: What meets come in here?

KM: We host all the major high school state and MIAA (Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association) division meets, the All-State meet, MSTCA meets, the New England Championships. The ECAC Division III meet is here, and Roxbury Community College competes here. Greater Boston Track Club, BAA, all the major running clubs have memberships and train here. We’ve had the USA indoor championships here seven times, from 2003 to 2009; the USA master’s championships, and of course the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix.

NBIGP: How does hosting a world-class meet fit in with your mission, which is largely aimed at serving scholastic athletes?

KM: People come into Roxbury, to the facility, and it’s what I call a transformational experience for them. No matter where they come from, they enjoy the facility and see how clean it is, see the customer service, the professionalism. It’s an Olympic experience right here in Boston. A few weeks after the New Balance meet, Steve Vaitones from USATF-NE has a youth meet here, so they get a chance to run on the same track as the pros, and you should see the excitement: Wow, so-and-so ran here! Jenn Suhr jumped here! We tell them stories, like the time Maurice Greene ran the fastest 60-meter time on US soil on this track, or when Tirunesh Dibaba set the 5000-meter World Record on this track. They’ll run around the track and ask how they compare to those Olympic gold medalists.

NBIGP: How great is that?

KM: It’s fantastic. We have a facility dedicated to us because of the hard work of the Mass State Track Coaches Association, who wanted a place for high school kids to run, and it’s going to be here after my lifetime and your lifetime. Having the kids see the pro athletes keeps the sport growing. So does having a place for the kids to run, and the history of the Reggie Lewis Center shows that if you organize, you can get something that benefits so many people. It also leads to opportunities. Even if a kid isn’t a scholarship athlete, the experience they gain from competing in track and field is invaluable. The rules in this sport are very clear: If you work hard, you see progress. 

NBIGP: But even with all the track meets, a lot else goes on here, too, doesn’t it?

KM: For sure. President Obama has been here twice, including this June at a rally for Ed Markey

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when he was running for the US Senate. There were more than 5000 people here for that. Elizabeth Warren kicked off her Senate campaign here. Venus and Serena Williams did a clinic for USA Tennis. Seiji Ozawa conducted a benefit concert for his 25th anniversary as music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. On January 5, the new Boston mayor, Marty Walsh, hosted his Youth Inaugural Summit here, and during the campaign we hosted a mayoral debate. And that’s not counting the everyday non-track stuff.

NBIGP: Such as?

KM: We host AAU basketball tournaments in our gym from April to August. Day-care centers come in here a couple of times a week, to give their kids a chance to run around. Adults can get fitness-club memberships for our cardio and weight equipment and aerobics classes. Our “Sensational Seniors”—and they actually are sensational—started out as a senior-citizen walking program with 11 people and now it’s 137, all the way up to 94 years old. They come and work out, they lift weights, they have aerobics, and walk. They’ve branched off into a book club, restaurant program, they go to the casino, they do Thanksgiving dinner together. That program has extended the life of some of those seniors.  We’ve had people come into the program who could not walk 100 yards who tell me now, “Oh, I walked three miles today.”

NBIGP: Would you have ever envisioned the Reggie being used in so many ways?

KM: Definitely not. I didn’t think that it would be so open to the public. Anyone who tells you they thought it was going to be what it is today would be fibbing a little bit.

NBIGP: Is the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix more than you expected, as well?

KM: To the level that it has taken off? Yes. The first few years, Mark Wetmore [the meet director] was paying for school buses to get people to the meet. Now it sells out every year. To his credit, he’s still maintained that commitment, to get people in the local community into the meet. It’s not “OK, we’re at this level now, forget about them.” They still make sure that x amount of tickets get given out to the local high school kids and local community. They don’t have to bus people in anymore, though.

NBIGP: What’s been your favorite moment at the meet?

KM: The 4x800 World Record in 2000. Seeing those guys run that was fun. Usually, you try to break a World Record and you don’t break it. They tried to break a World Record, and they broke it. The other moment was having Haile Gebrselassie here in 2004. That was just unreal. I’ve never seen anyone generate such excitement … he’s like a god. There were literally people crying because they actually saw him.

NBIGP: Talk about some of the challenges of putting on a world-class meet in what was meant to be a high-school facility.

KM: Not having enough seats in the facility, because demand is so high, is certainly one. Getting used to the demands of TV was another. The lighting used to be a big issue; we spent $48,000 to get our foot candles up seven or eight years ago. We used to have to rent temporary lights and put them up. To this day we have to build a temporary booth for announcers above the finish line. But over the years we and the organizers have put systems in place so that every year we’re pretty much ready to go. There is still a sound issue; I’d like to see us get to the point where we can have a gigantic video board that TV can just plug into, some kind of Jumbotron, in place. Right now, the meet organizers have to rent one, so that’s one of the things high on our priority list.

NBIGP: Is that your No.1 priority?

KM: No, the first priority is to get our track replaced in 2014. We’re working very closely with the Mass State Track Coaches, the governor’s office, and the president of Roxbury Community College to secure the funding to do that. So, by the 2015 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, we hope to have a new track.

Suhr, Whiting, Cain Join Boston’s Parade of Stars

A trio of 2013 world leaders and the most-exciting young American star in a generation are among the latest top athletes set to compete in the 2014 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, organizers announced today.

The Olympic-style all-star event will take place on Feb. 8 at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center at Roxbury Community College in Boston. Tickets are now on sale at www.nbindoorgrandprix.com or by calling 1-877-849-8722.

Jenn Suhr, who last year set the World Indoor Record in the pole vault and went on to notch the highest outdoor jump, as well, returns to the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in quest of her seventh victory here. Suhr, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist, is undefeated in her six appearances at this meet, where she twice set the American Record, in 2009 and 2012.

The Reggie Lewis Center has been a touchstone for Suhr since 2005, when she won her first USA title there as a virtual unknown. She has since won six more USA titles indoors and seven outdoors, for a total of 14, and is coming off a silver-medal performance at the IAAF World Championships last summer.

Making his debut at the meet is shot putter Ryan Whiting, the 2012 World Indoor Champion who last year recorded five of the six longest throws in the world indoors and the top four throws outdoors. Whiting, too, brought home a silver medal from the 2013 World Championships. He is ranked #1 in the world for 2013 by Track and Field News.

Also making the trip to Boston as a 2013 world leader is Ethiopia’s Hagos Gebrhiwet, who will defend his title here at 3000 meters. Last year, his winning time of 7:32.87 set a World Junior Record. Gebrhiwet, who ran the fastest 3000  

meters outdoors in the world last year, went on to win silver at 5000 meters in Moscow.

The men’s mile, always a highlight here, will feature a face-off between the last two Olympic 1500-meter silver medalists: Nick Willis of New Zealand (2008) and American Leo Manzano (2012).

Making her return to the Reggie after a record-shattering 2013 will be Mary Cain, the 17-year-old who last year at this meet set the high school and U.S. junior records for 2 Miles and 3000 meters (en route). A senior at Bronxville High School in New York, Cain last year rewrote the record books by breaking high school and/or U.S. junior marks at eight distances and becoming the youngest athlete ever to represent the U.S. at the World Championships, where she finished 10th in the 1500 meters.

In her first season as a professional, Cain will run the 2000 meters in Boston.

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 3:30 p.m.

Historic Duo Set for Boston on Feb. 8

Jenny Simpson and Brenda Martinez, two of the brightest middle-distance stars in America, kick off a roster of top athletes set to compete in the 2014 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix.

The Olympic-style all-star event will take place on Feb. 8 at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center at Roxbury Community College in Boston. Tickets are now on sale at www.nbindoorgrandprix.com or by calling 1-877-849-8722.

Simpson, the 2011 IAAF World Champion at 1500 meters, became the most-decorated American woman in history at the distance when she added a silver medal at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow after bravely leading for much of the race. The 27-year-old two-time Olympian, who trains in Boulder, CO, finished fifth in the 2009 World Championships at the steeplechase, in which she set the still-standing American Record. She also won the 5000 meters at the 2013 U.S. Championships.

“It’s always a joy for me to return to Boston,” said Simpson. “To be traveling there for the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix is the best. The meet, facilities, and organizers know how to put on a great show, and I’m looking forward to being a part of it again in 2014.”

Simpson will run the 2-Mile. The American best for that distance indoors (9:23.38) was set by Regina Jacobs at this meet in 2002.

For Martinez, 2013 was a career year outdoors. After an early-season string of victories at 1500 meters and the mile, the 26-year-old, who trains in Big Bear, CA, went on to become the first U.S. woman in history to win a World Championships medal at 800 meters when she took the bronze in Moscow. In that race, she set a personal best of 1:57.91 to finish the year with PBs at six distances.

“I’m very excited to open up my 2014 season at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix,” said Martinez. “The Reggie Lewis Center is the Fenway Park of U.S. indoor track and field. The world’s best athletes compete at this venue. It’s going to be very special to me to compete in Boston, in front of such amazing fans and my sponsor.”

Martinez will run the 1000 meters in Boston.

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 3:30 p.m.