When Meseret Defar and Bernard Lagat compete at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston on 7 February, both will be marking milestones in their careers at the IAAF Indoor Permit meeting.
Two-time Olympic champion Defar will be competing for the first time since the birth of her daughter in June. Her last race was at the 2013 Great North Run when she set a half-marathon PB of 1:06:09, but in Boston she will be competing at the other end of the distance spectrum when she lines up for the 2000m.
“It is perfect that I am running my first race since childbirth in Boston,” said the four-time world indoor 3000m champion. “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 31-year-old set a world best over two miles in Boston, clocking 9:10.50. She still holds the outdoor world best for the distance at 8:58.58 as well as the world indoor 5000m record of 14:24.37.
Her indoor 2000m PB of 5:34.74 was recorded en route to her 8:30.72 indoor 3000m clocking in 2006, but was just four seconds shy of the world indoor 2000m record of 5:30.53 set by Gabriela Szabo in 1998.
Lagat, the 2007 world 1500m and 5000m champion, returns to the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix for the first time since 2010. In that race, he broke the US indoor 5000m record with a time of 13:11.50.
Now 40, in Boston Lagat will contest the 3000m, the distance at which he has won three world indoor titles. The world indoor M40 masters record is 8:01.44. Lagat’s best mark for the 3000m last season was 7:38.51.
Both Defar and Lagat will face strong competition. Returning in an attempt to improve on her runner-up finish at 2000m here last year will be 24-year-old Emma Coburn, who went on to break the US steeplechase record with 9:11.42.
Lagat will have to contend with 20-year-old Hagos Gebrhiwet, the world 5000m silver medallist from Ethiopia who set a world junior indoor 3000m record of 7:32.87 at this meeting in 2013.
These four stars join the previously announced Jenny Simpson, 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 US records.
Organisers for the IAAF