Kenyan Stephen Sambu and Ethiopian Mamitu Daska Capture Top Honors at B.A.A. 10K
Third Annual event in Boston’s Back Bay was B.A.A.’s first road racing event since this year’s Boston Marathon and sold out field of participants ran with strong support for running in the City.
By Michael Keebler
BOSTON – A warm and sunny morning with temperatures reaching the low 80s (F) by the race’s conclusion welcomed runners to Boston Common on Sunday, June 23 for the Third B.A.A. 10K. Kenya’s Stephen Sambu, 24, won the men’s title in a time of 28:06 over 2013 Boston Marathon® champion Lelisa Desisa, 23, of Ethiopia, who finished in 28:15.
With a well-executed kick in the race’s final meters, Sambu outlasted Desisa who returned to Boston for the first time since April and who later gifted his Boston Marathon champion’s medal to Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino prior the awards ceremony.
Ethiopia’s Mamitu Daska, 29, led from the start to run away with the women’s race, breaking the tape in 31:45. Daska’s time was the second-fastest time among women in race history (Kim Smith, NZL, 31:36, 2012) and is now the 10th fastest 10K road time thus far in 2013, according to the IAAF’s web site.
Aaron Braun, 26, who currently resides in Flagstaff, Arizona, was the first American male in 29:59 (7th place); Katie Dicamillo, of Providence, Rhode Island, was the first American female in 34:33 (4th place). Fellow American and the top US finisher at the Boston Marathon in both 2012 and 2013, Jason Hartmann of Boulder, Colorado, was the ninth place male in 30:31.
Behind them, a total of 5,445 runners crossed the starting line on Charles Street at historic Boston Common. The B.A.A. 10K is the second race of the 2013 B.A.A. Distance Medley, a three-race series which combines the B.A.A. 5K in April, the B.A.A. 10K, and the B.A.A. Half Marathon on October 13. The top male and female in the series, determined by the lowest cumulative time, will win $100,000 in prize money.
In the men’s race, B.A.A. 5K runner-up Aaron Braun, 26, of Arizona, led a pack of six as they crossed the one mile mark in 4:40. Along with Braun and Desisa, the pack included 2012 B.A.A. Distance Medley champion Allan Kiprono (KEN); 2012 B.A.A. Distance Medley runner-up Lani Rutto (KEN); 2012 Paris Marathon runner-up Raji Assefa (ETH); and Sambu, a six-time NCAA All-American at the University of Arizona.
The same pack of six worked together through miles two and three, notching splits of 4:37 and 4:41. Following a 180-degree turn at 5-kilometers on this out-and-back course through Boston’s Beacon Hill and Back Bay neighborhoods, the pace began to quicken.
As the leaders reached the four mile mark in 18:31 with a split of 4:31, Rutto began to fade and the duo of Sambu and Desisa established themselves as the men to beat.
Passing five miles with a split of 4:22, Sambu had a step over the reigning Boston Marathon champion. It was at that point that a cheering fan called Sambu’s name and got his attention.
“Somebody called my name. I don’t know who it was. Somebody said ‘Stephen! Arizona!’ I just graduated from Arizona,” he said with pride, speaking to reporters after the race.
Reacting to the fans, Sambu raised his hand in recognition. It was a gesture that also suggested his confidence as the race progressed to its final stages.
As Sambu and Desisa battled side-by-side, Sambu felt confident in his kick, which he has been developing with Coach James Li and his training partners four-time Olympian Abdi Abdirahman (USA) and Bernard Lagat (USA), who won the gold medal at 1500 and 5000 meters in the 2009 IAAF World Championships.
Sambu tested Desisa with a probing kick and, smiling after the race, said, “When I passed him, he didn’t react.” That was when Sambu knew he had won the race. Raising his hands in celebration, he broke the tape in 28:06, only four seconds slower than his personal best on the roads, which he set earlier this year in New York.
Behind Sambu’s victory and Desisa’s runner-up finish, Kenya’s Daniel Salel finished third in 28:30.
Sambu’s victory in today’s race continues his fine season, which has also included a 1:01:34 personal best at the NYC Half Marathon in March. That half marathon run, combined with today’s performance, has bolstered Sambu’s confidence as he turns his attention to the B.A.A. Half Marathon. Sambu currently holds a 26-second lead over Kiprono in the 2013 B.A.A. Distance Medley which is scored by total time among the three races. Sambu’s time was the fourth fastest in race history (course record: Geoffrey Mutai, KEN; 27:19; 2011).
“This will give me confidence now to come back to run the half marathon,” Sambu said. “That will make me just work really hard, because I want to maintain [the lead].”
Before the day’s champions were announced at the awards ceremony on Boston Common, Desisa gifted his championship medal from April’s Boston Marathon to the City of Boston and Mayor Thomas M. Menino in a display of solidarity and support to all who were affected by the attack that occurred in Boston on April 15, 2013. Thousands of runners gave a standing ovation after hearing the emotional speech delivered by Desisa.
On his gift to the City of Boston, Desisa commented, “I want people to know, I feel the pain. The pain I have … will encourage me every time when I run.” Desisa will now turn his focus to the 2013 IAAF World Championships Marathon in Moscow this summer.
While the men’s race came down to the wire, the women’s race was a different story altogether. Mamitu Daska (ETH) took control early in the race and established an insurmountable lead over 2012 B.A.A. Distance Medley champion Kim Smith, 31, a New Zealand native who resides in Providence, RI, and Kenya’s Chemtai Rionotukei, 26, who recently won the James Joyce Ramble 10K in Dedham, MA.
By the first mile marker, Daska had established a lead of more than 100 meters over Smith and Rionotukei. After reaching two miles in 9:53, she was out of sight of her nearest competitors.
Discussing her race to reporters, Daska was business-like and clearly pleased that her plan to lead today’s race from the start worked in her favor. “I’m glad I did it the way I did it, and that’s what I wanted,” she said through a translator. “This is exactly what I was expecting to do today.”
Daska extended her lead to 35 seconds by the three mile mark. On she went, passing four miles in 20:16 and going under the Massachusetts Avenue overpass without a single challenger in sight. Through five miles in 25:27 and six miles in 30:41, she kept to the plan and ran toward the finish line on Charles Street alone.
To the cheers of the crowd, Daska crossed the finish line in 31:45, a new personal record. Her win today comes only two weeks after she won the New York Mini 10K in 31:47, defeating 2009 IAAF World Champion at 10,000 meters, Kenya’s Linet Masai, in the process.
After today’s race, Daska credited her recent success and her personal record today to her training. “[I] make sure I train hard,” she said. “If I train very well, and then if I’m healthy, I know I can improve my PR. If you don’t train, you don’t get a PR. My plan is: make sure I work, I run, and then dedicate myself, my time [to] the hard training.”
She will continue her season on July 4 at the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, GA. Behind Daska, Smith finished second in 33:34 and Kenya’s Millicent Kuria, 27, rounded out the top three in 33:52.
After her victory in the B.A.A. 5K on April 14 and today’s runner-up finish, Smith leads the 2013 B.A.A. Distance Medley by more than a minute, with a cumulative time of 48:50.
Smith entered today’s race hampered by a strained Achilles tendon and said after crossing the finish line that she was simply glad to be able to maintain her lead in the B.A.A. Distance Medley. She will now focus her attention on rest, recovery, and the B.A.A. Half Marathon, a distance which Smith considers to be her best.
“I’ve been injured for the last month, so the aim for today was to try and keep as much of a lead in the Distance Medley as possible,” she said. “But I had to give myself a chance. It’s $100,000. “[The injury] just needs some time off, and I haven’t given it that. I wanted to try as hard as I could to get to this race.”
In today’s push rim wheelchair division, three men and one woman completed today’s race. Patrick Doak, of Carlisle, MA won in 25:11 over Gary Brendel, of Sterling, MA, who finished in 25:36. Placing third was John Sloan, of Acton, MA, in 40:52.
Taking the women’s push rim wheelchair division was Carla Trodella, of Danvers, MA, in a time of 59:36.
Joseph Ekuom, 43, of Kingston, NY won the masters division in 33:19 and Kara Haas, 42, of Chelmsford, MA was the women’s masters division champion in 37:47.
The 13th B.A.A. Half Marathon, presented by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund, will take place on Sunday, October 13 and will be the third and final race in the 2013 B.A.A. Distance Medley. Registration opens on Wednesday, July 17.
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