New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston – A spectacle of superlatives
A sold-out indoor event with track and field stars on the starting line and an indoor venue designed to be the fastest track in the world. In short: the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix. An event that provides many answers to the question of how running events can be made more attractive. Here you can read why.
Words: Sven Rudolph
Photos: Florian Kurrasch
Our first event report ever was about the Boston NB Indoor Grand Prix, whose atmosphere captivated us at the beginning of 2023. The images and experiences were shared with us by a photographer on site. This year we were invited by New Balance to experience the spectacle personally and up close.
“That's the thing I love about indoor tracks. The energy for every race and for every event is so incredible.”
- Kathi Bury (viewer)
The atmosphere in the hall was heated up with a few runs by amateur and high school runners as well as pre-heats before the highlights started at 4:00 p.m. Boston time. What followed were two hours of electrifying entertainment every minute. From the 60-meter duel between Noah Lyles and Fred Kerly to the women's 400-meter sprints to the men's and women's 1500-meter and 3000-meter races, the program was packed with stars and spectacle.
An era of progress in the heart of Boston
The event was first held in 1996 in Roxbury, a neighborhood in Boston, and was formerly known as the Boston Indoor Games before New Balance became the primary sponsor of the annual event in 2012. Since 2023, the “New Balance Indoor Grand Prix” has taken place in the newly built “The Track at New Balance” and over the years has developed into one of the most important indoor track events in the USA alongside the Millrose Games.
On the Friday before the event we had a tour of the facility specifically designed to bring athletes, teams and communities together. The “World’s Fastest Indoor Track” offers the most technologically advanced running environment in the world with a 200 meter long, hydraulically inclined track. This design allows the track to be adapted to various competition and training scenarios, making it ideal for top athletes and record attempts The fact that the athletes were the focus of the planning can be seen in many small details. A specially designed area with a circuit and televisions that show current results and live events allows the athletes to complete their warm-up program in peace and without the smell of fries .
One floor below is another highlight, the Sports Research Lab: Equipped with the latest technology, such as 360-degree motion capture and force plates or Alter-G treadmills, the laboratory sets new standards in sports science and product development. But the spectators don't miss out in the hall either. With seating for up to 5,000 spectators, “The Track” is not only a place for athletes, but also for fans who want to experience exciting competitions and breathtaking sporting achievements up close.
“It's just so intimate, you really get to feel like you're close to the athlete, it feels intense and exciting.”
- Benjamin Weingart (Boston photographer)
A stage for breathtaking performances
The 29th edition of the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix wrote exciting stories and spoiled the spectators in the sold-out hall: The 20-year-old American Hobbs Kessler thwarted the comeback of 2022 world champion Jake Wightman in the men's 1500 meter race he pulled away 350 meters from the finish and won in 3:33.66 minutes ahead of Wightman's 3:34.06 minutes and crowd favorite Craig Engels. World champion Marco Arop narrowly missed the 1000 meter world record with a time of 2:14.74 and dominated the top-class field. The American Elle St. Pierre ran 8:25.25, narrowly missing the win and the US record in the 3000 meters, and was overtaken shortly before the finish by Jessica Hull, who set an Australian record with 8:24.93 .
“The atmosphere was awesome. I just wished the stands were a little closer, but it was cool!”
The Ethiopians Lamecha Girma (7:29.09) and Gudaf Tsegay (3:58.11) ran to the top of the world in the men's 3,000m and women's 1,500m respectively, but clearly missed their own world records. The only German participant was Maximilian Thorwirth, who ran his second fastest time over 3000m with 7:43.15.
The magic of indoor track events
At the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston we experienced an event that demonstrated all the benefits of indoor events and was an unforgettable experience not only for the athletes but also for us as spectators. "The Track at New Balance" provided optimal conditions to follow the competition comfortably and up close, and thanks to World Athletics' live broadcasts, fans around the world were able to witness the outstanding performances.
The Boston event reinforced our passion for track and made us think about why there aren't more events like this. The combination of comfort, excellent visibility, technical innovation and intense atmosphere makes indoor track events an unforgettable experience for fans and offers organizers a solid and low-risk platform for successful events.