Huddle Wins Third-Consecutive B.A.A. 5K

Contact Info:
T.K. Skenderian (Communications Director)
Boston Athletic Association
185 Dartmouth Street, 6th Floor
Boston MA 02116
e-mail:tk@baa.org
17 APR 2016
Becomes first three-peat champion in B.A.A. 5K

For the first five years of the B.A.A. 5K, which was run for the first time in 2009, the women’s race saw five different champions. But for the past three, the top step of the podium has been the sole province of Molly Huddle.

Although any chance of breaking the American record she set here last year was, literally, gone with the wind on a gusty, sunny spring morning in Boston, the 31-year-old Huddle easily captured her third-consecutive B.A.A. 5K win when she crossed the finish line in 15 minutes and 14 seconds, 14 seconds ahead of runner-up Buze Diriba (15:28) of Ethiopia. Finishing third was Caroline Chepkoech of Kenya (15:35).

“It was definitely a lot breezier and chillier this year,” said Huddle, who took home $7,500 for the victory. “I think people wanted to stay closer together.”

“That’s what makes racing so much fun,” declared Diane Nukuri of Burundi, who finished fourth (15:43). “You get to deal with everything.”

The B.A.A. 5K course, considered one of the fastest in the country if not the world, begins and ends on Charles Street between the historic Boston Common and Public Garden, running up Commonwealth Avenue before making a U-turn and passing the Boston Marathon finish line as the final mile runs down Boylston Street.

In 2015, the torrid early pace of the leaders dragged Huddle to a 4:42 first mile, despite being in sixth place. This year, she led a pack of seven through the mile in 4:52, and soon thereafter began pulling away. That did not, however, mean that she had any desire to brave the wind alone.

“I was just trying to chase a few of the men from here,” said the 21-time national champion and 2012 Olympian at 5000 meters. “But the guys in front of me were just a little too far ahead, so I was trying to reel them in and use them as a target.” She went through two miles in 9:45.

Huddle said that she felt a little bad about tucking behind “a tall guy” on Boylston Street to escape the wind, but described him blowing her away in the last 200 meters.

“He beat me,” she said, “so it’s OK.”

Next month, Huddle will head to Flagstaff, AZ, for a stint of altitude training before her next race, a 5000 meters at the Prefontaine Classic on May 27 where, she acknowledged, she has an eye on chasing her 5000-meter American record.

Finishing sixth was the last woman not named Huddle to win this race: Kim Smith, a three-time New Zealand Olympian who trains with Huddle under coach Ray Treacy in Providence, RI. Smith, 34, was competing for just the second time after missing most of the last two years after foot surgery, childbirth, and pulmonary emboli that landed her in intensive care weeks after the birth of Violet, now 10 months old.

Smith is also a two-time winner of the B.A.A. Distance Medley.

“I had to come and put myself out there and run hard,” she said. “It’s good to test yourself.”

In a magnificent comeback of her own, Adrianne Haslet-Davis finished the race in 54:28. A dancer, Haslet-Davis, 35, lost part of her left leg in the 2013 bombings at the finish line.

But it’s not the only race she has on her immediate agenda. When she encountered the Marathon finish line yesterday in the final mile, the winner of the 2016 Boston Athletic Association’s Patriots’ Award asked a running companion to carry her over it, preserving the emotional moment of crossing it under her own power for when she finishes the Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon.

B.A.A. Moment

Huddle Wins Third-Consecutive B.A.A. 5K

For the first five years of the B.A.A. 5K, which was run for the first time in 2009, the women’s race saw five different champions. But for the past three, the top step of the podium has been the sole province of Molly Huddle.

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