by Tim Huebsch (Sports Information Assistant)
February 8, 2014, VANCOUVER (ISN) – Competing against some of the best distance athletes in the world, UBC’s Luc Bruchet turned in another solid performance running 7:56.33 in the men’s 3,000 meters at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston.
Ethiopia’s Hagos Gebrhiwet defended his title winning in a blistering time of 7:34.13, the fastest in the world over that distance thus far this season.
Entering Saturday’s race, Bruchet was dipping under the 7:50.00, which would have qualified him for the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Track and Field Championships in Sopot, Poland.
A hot early pace had Bruchet at the back of the main pack as he hit the halfway mark in a three-man group with the United States’ Hassan Mead and Donn Cabral. Though Bruchet would fade slightly to 14th in the latter stages of the race, Saturday’s mark is just two seconds off his lifetime best (7:54.57) set earlier this season in Seattle at the University of Washington Indoor Preview, which remains the second fastest time run by a Canadian this season.
“It’s unfortunate that I didn’t come away with the world indoor standard, but the race itself was eye-opening experience,” said Bruchet, who’s from White Rock, B.C. “Never have I gone out that fast,” referencing the blistering early pace that few in the race managed to hold on to.
In fact, Saturday’s 3,000m produced three of the four fastest times run in the world thus far this season, according to the IAAF website.
As one of the premier events in North America, the Reggie Lewis Center, the host facility, is able to accommodate upwards of 3,500 fans, a rarity for track and field in North America and a surreal experience for a university athlete.
“It was pretty cool coming into a packed house of cheering fans and at the same time lining up with some of the best athletes in the world,” added Bruchet.
When all was said and done, Ethiopia took the top two spots in the 14-man field while fives Americans occupied the top 10. Dejen Gebremeskel couldn’t find enough in the end to hang with his fellow compatriot as the Olympic silver medalist over 5,000m had to settle for second, 0.57 seconds back of Gebrhiwet.
Ryan Hill was the top American in the field coming across the line in third with a time of 7:34.87, en route to becoming the third fastest American of all time, behind distance icons Bernard Lagat and Galen Rupp. Hill was an IAAF World Championship finalist from this past summer in Moscow, Russia and now trains professionally representing Nike.
“The highlight of the trip was just being surrounded by world-class athletes, including Olympians and a number of World championship competitors,” noted Bruchet. “My biggest aspiration is to one day be like those guys, competing at the front of some of these world-class races.”
Fellow Canadian Cam Levins narrowly missed setting the Canadian record running 7:41.59 despite losing a shoe with about 1,000m remaining in the race. The record still stands at 7:40.17 set by Kevin Sullivan back in 2007 in Fayetteville, Ark. Despite the mishap, Levins set an all-time best and becomes the fastest Canadian over the 3,000m this indoor season.
“Might need to put an asterisk beside my Canadian 3,000m record,” joked Sullivan, the Canadian great, via Twitter. “Cam Levins’ 7:41.59 with one shoe has got to be the superior time.”
Other highlights from today’s meet New Balance Indoor Grand Prix include a world record in the men’s 4x800m as well as a world junior record in the women’s 1,000m, as one of the foremost track and field events matched it’s pre-meet hype.