Annual New Balance Indoor Grand Prix Successful Once Again at the Reggie Lewis Center
Britney Firmin ’16
On February 8th, 2014, the annual New Balance Indoor Grand Prix took place at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center. This meet hosted profound track athletes, world record holders, and overall race matchups that got many spectators at this event on their feet. It was an overwhelming experience of joy and excitement that I will remember for the rest of my life. The stands were filled with gleeful fans and observers, filling the Reggie Lewis Center to its full capacity that Saturday evening.
Some of the best professional runners in the world convened to compete on the 200 meter racetrack. The event got much media coverage on ESPN, streaming live as each race of the evening was occurring. The Grand Prix lasted from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. It was not only a long day for the athletes, but also for the numerous volunteers that convened to assist in the event’s successful outcome.
Volunteers from Latin Academy represented at the event, pitching in to mandate the incoming flow of spectators. Tayo Stuppard, Xavier Hill, Leigha Mills, Imani Pressley, Ashley Lewis, Handy Laneau and I had the opportunity to gain first hand experience watching professional runners engage in competition, while also taking voluntary part in aiding the event. Xavier Hill ’15, one of the volunteers at the event, commented on his overall experience, “It was amazing to see a world record [at the meet] and some of the best athletes in the world compete.”
Jenny Simpson, a gold medalist in the 2011 World Championships in Athletics for the 1500 meter race, displayed a memorable performance while competing at the Reggie Lewis Center that Saturday, one that she and observers alike were not necessarily expecting. Simpson, who ran the 2 mile run at the Grand Prix, would’ve displayed a showstopping performance that would leave her with the American Record in the race had she not miscounted her amount of laps ran. Consistently blazing out the competition with only 14 laps instead of 15, Simpson fell short of the American Record. She quickly revamped her mentality to hold on for another lap around the track, which looked effortless to most onlookers. Sally Kipyego, a silver medalist from Kenya in the 10,000 meters at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, outran Simpson for the winning title in the 2 mile run that day in 9 minutes, 21.04 seconds. Simpson came in second respectively with a 9:26.19 finish.
One young star shattered her competition effortlessly in the 1,000 meter race. Mary Cain, a seventeen year old from Bronxville, New York who has recently gone pro, surged to the front of the pack with roughly 150 meters remaining of her stellar race. She crossed the finish line with a personal record of 2 minutes, 35.8 seconds. Cain is also the youngest professional American athlete ever to represent America at the World Championships in Athletics, which was recently held in Moscow in 2013. U.S sprinter Natasha Hastings edged out her competition in the 400 meter dash in 52.05 seconds. Nigeria’s Regina George took second place in a close 52.20 second finish.
After a long day’s work volunteering at the Grand Prix, volunteers from Latin Academy were granted the opportunity to meet professional athletes upon completing their races. Many competitors, being gracious towards their fans, gathered near many individuals to take pictures with them. They even signed valuable items for their fans, who gathered in an overwhelming crowd of excitement. All in all, the New Balance Grand Prix was a memorable experience that hosted jaw dropping performances by some of the top runners in the world.