Meet Report: Reebok Grand Prix

I took some really awful photos and even worse video. The video is boring and the photos are blurred. I suppose I should read the manual before being allowed out of the house with my camera.

Anyway, here’s a report on the Reebok event last night. Sure, you can read all about the results on some of those other sites. I’ll give you information about the things you really wanted to know about.

For instance, who knew Jamaicans were so nuts for track and field? We arrived to discover that the audience was basically 8,000 Jamaicans and us. They were an ebullient crowd — cheering for the high schoolers (who seemed well-represented by family and friends in the crowd, many of whom were dressed to the nines) and the elites alike.

And there were many, many Jamaican elites running, especially in the shorter events. They received enormous support, although the crowd was great in acknowledging pretty much everyone. And I do mean everyone

We had lots of thunderstorms moving through last night and at one point the events were delayed for about 45 minutes. The MC, Lewis Johnson, did a good job of keeping us all entertained by asking people to come volunteer to sing their national anthem in a “sing your national anthem” competition. We were treated to the U.S. anthem, the Jamaican anthem (of course), the Trinidad-Tobago anthem and China’s anthem.

Not surprisingly, Jamaica’s got the best response, although not the least of which was because the song sounds like a song you’d hear sung at a Dartmouth football game in 1936. It’s very much a “rah! rah! rah!” song that you’re supposed to sing along to. Much better than Trinidad-Tobago’s, which was more like a funeral durge. Who writes a national anthem in a minor key?

Once the novelty of that wore off, we all just sat there looking at the rain. But then, the announcer screamed, “Ladies and gentlemen! Lane six!”

And, lo, there was a squirrel running in lane six. Right toward the finish line. The squirrel bolted forward, then stopped just short. The crowd applauded. The squirrel reversed. The crowed applauded more. The squirrel turned around and raced across the finish line. The crowd went completely batshit, like the squirrel had just broken a world record! It was hilarious.

In short, it was more fun than I’ve had for $36 in a long while. I’m definitely in for more of these, especially if the crowd’s Jamaican again.

It’s hard to know what to highlight because there was so much talent out there and some very exciting races. Some of the best races were the high schoolers, especially the relays. Other notable events were the men’s 3000m steeplechase, the men’s 800m, the women’s 5000m, the men’s 5000m, the women’s 100m and, of course, the sub-10 second battle between Gay and Bolt.

Some good reports and photos, plus results:
RunBlogRun’s report
USATF News
Selective recap on LetsRun.com
Some good quotes from the athletes
Prettier pictures than mine
NY Times on Bolt’s new world record
Complete results

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