It’s always nice when a family weekend starts out well.
Werknesh Kidane of Ethiopia, whose eight medals in the World Cross Country Championships are the most of any woman in history, took the lead early and held it in a fast women’s B.A.A. 5K on Sunday morning, winning the fourth-annual event in a blistering 15:12. Her time demolished the course record of 15:51 set by Kenya’s Lineth Chepkurui just last year.
She hopes that Monday will be her husband’s turn to break tape. Last year, Gebre Gebremariam finished third in the Boston Marathon in a personal best 2:04:53, and the 2010 ING New York City Marathon champion will be on the starting line again.
“It was a bit windy, but good weather,” said Kidane, unlike the conditions her husband expects to face on Monday.
Finishing second to Kidane on was countrywoman Aheza Kiros (15:21), with New Zealand’s Kim Smith third (15:26). The top six women—rounded out by Janet Cherobon-Bawcom, Diane Johnson and Sarah Porter, all of the United States—all broke the previous course record. Kidane will take home $4000 for the win, with Kiros earning $2000 and Smith $1500.
Desiree Davila, the American who last year came within two seconds of winning the Boston Marathon, was 10th in 16:03. Davila, who made her first Olympic team in January when she placed second in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, rarely races at short distances on the roads: her last 5K was two years ago, and Sunday’s time was a personal best by 12 seconds.
“The goal was just to come out and bust some rust, and was a lot of it in there,” she said.
Davila treasured the morning nonetheless. Not only was it “pretty awesome” to be urged on by spectators shouting her now-familiar name, but every chance to run down Boylston Street, she said, is one put to good use. “Even running down that final stretch, I was like ‘how do you time this right?’” Her Boston Marathon education will continue on Monday, when she rides the women’s press truck, calling in reports to the press room at the finish line.
Among the other notable finishers were three-time Boston Marathon champion Uta Pippig, 45 (20:06); Nina Kuscsik, 73, celebrating her 40th anniversary as the first official women’s winner of the Boston Marathon, in 1972 (43:08); and Val Rogosheske, 65, another of the eight original “Class of 1972,” (39:06).
In Sunday’s race, Kidane took the pace out hard from the start, with Smith and Kiros in chase. A mile into the race, the 31-year-old Kidane, who finished seventh in the marathon here last year, put in a surge that opened a big gap. Smith and Kiros worked together most of the rest of the way in pursuit, with Kiros pulling ahead near the end.
Asked afterward if her victory might be a good omen for Gebremariam as he seeks his first Boston victory, Kidane smiled brightly. “I believe so,” she said through a translator. “And I also wish him good luck tomorrow.”
- By Barbara Huebner