February 8, 2015 / 4:18 AM / 4 years ago

Willis shatters John Walker's national indoor mile mark

BOSTON (Reuters) - New Zealand Olympian Nick Willis ran the year’s fastest mile to shatter John Walker’s long-standing national record at the Boston Indoor Grand Prix on Saturday.

Willis powered home in a personal best of three minutes, 51.61 seconds to take down 1976 Olympic champion Walker’s national indoor record of 3:52.8.

Walker, the first person to run the outdoor mile in under 3:50, set his indoor mark at San Diego in 1981 and equaled it a year later.

“I knew my speed was there and I could finish strongly,” said Willis, the 2008 Olympic silver medalist at 1,500 meters.

Six other season bests for 2015 were set in the meeting, including former world 1,500m champion Jenny Simpson’s national record 9:18.35 in the two mile run.

American Simpson had heartbreakingly lost the same race last year when she miscounted the laps for the event and stopped before eventually finishing.

“I just ran lap 16 so I don’t get fined,” Simpson joked on Twitter.

World indoor champion Ryan Whiting became the first to heave the shot more than 21 meters this year when he turned back former outdoor world titlist Christian Cantwell with a toss of 21.43 meters.

There were also fastest times of the year in the infrequently run 1,000 meters set by Americans Matthew Centrowitz (2:17.00) and Treniere Moser (2:37.86).

Ethiopian Dawit Seyaum, the world junior champion at 1,500 meters, added another yearly best when she ran the 2,000 meters in 5:35.46.

A U.S. team of Sarah Brown, Mahagony Jones, Megan Krumpoch and Brenda Martinez produced the fastest time ever in the infrequently held indoor women’s distance medley relay, clocking 10:42.57 to break the previous mark by more than eight seconds.

U.S. Olympian Trell Kimmons edged Jamaica’s former 100m world record holder Asafa Powell by 0.01 second as he won the men’s 60 meters in 6.51 seconds.

World indoor record holder Jenn Suhr finished third on misses in the women’s pole vault, won by fellow American Mary Saxer at 4.50 meters.

Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina, editing by Nick Mulvenney

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