Boston has been a city of success for Janet Cherobon-Bawcom. The 33-year-old from Rome, Ga. has earned seven top-five finishes on the Boston roads over her career. Entered in the B.A.A. Distance Medley, Cherobon-Bawcom will again return to Boston’s Back Bay on June 24th for the B.A.A. 10K. When she arrives in Boston, it will be less than 48 hours since her last race – the 10,000m at the Olympic Trials.
“Some people think I'm crazy to race as much as I do, but I love racing,” she said. “I know some athletes who love to spend months preparing for that one race where they're going to shoot for a heroic effort or a special time. I would go nuts doing that.”
Cherobon-Bawcom has been on fire this year. She has finished in the top ten in each of her ten starts, notched four wins, two USA national titles, and one American record -- at the USA 25K Championships, where she ran 1:24:37.
A registered nurse, Cherobon-Bawcom credits living at high altitude, her coaching, and marathon training for her recent string of success.
“It's funny. I've definitely improved a bit in the past twelve months; I've run PR's at 5k (16:12 to 15:41), 10k (32:31 to 32:26), 15k (49: 58 to 49:41), and the half marathon (1:10:59 to 1:09:55). On the other hand, it's not like those are huge improvements,” said the modest Cherobon-Bawcom, who now calls Flagstaff, Ariz. home.
In Massachusetts alone, Cherobon-Bawcom has done very well over the years. Last October, she won the 2011 B.A.A. Half-Marathon, and then came back one day later to win the Tufts Health Plan 10-K for Women, which also doubled as the U.S. Women’s 10-K Championships. In addition, she has placed high up at the Falmouth Road Race on Cape Cod. Even when running in college, the Kenyan-born athlete was enjoying her time in the Bay State.
“My history in Massachusetts goes back to 2004 when I was runner up at the [NCAA] Division II Indoor Championships at the Reggie [Lewis Center in Roxbury],” said Cherobon-Bawcom. “I came into the race with one of the slowest qualifying times, and I just decided to go for it in the race - I PR'd by over 40 seconds and finished second. The next year I came back and won the same event in what was a championship record and another big PR. A couple of hours after that race, my husband proposed to me, so Boston has been pretty special for me.”
She continued, “I really enjoy racing in Boston because it’s become very familiar for me - it's a great place to spend a race weekend. I can get some easy runs in by the Charles River. I know where to eat, where to shop, and where to get cheap tickets to catch a show or concert, so it makes things easy. I race best when I'm comfortable, and I'm very comfortable in Boston now.”
This year, running the B.A.A. 5K, she set a personal best of 15:41 in the city. Cherobon-Bawcom is currently third on the women’s leader board for the B.A.A. Distance Medley, where the winner receives $100,000.
For the B.A.A. 10K, Cherobon-Bawcom is focusing on being in contention, hoping the travel from Eugene and the Olympic Trials doesn’t get in the way of a big performance.
“I'll just go out there and give it all I've got,” she said. “I don't know how much gas I'll have left in the tank for the start, but my goal is to use every bit of it getting to the finish!”
As for if she will ever run the Boston Marathon – it is the only long distance B.A.A. road event she has not competed in – Cherobon-Bawcom is eager.
“Oh, of course. I'd definitely love to run the Boston Marathon. Watching it in person this year after running the B.A.A. 5K was so exciting.”
This year’s marathon was extra special, for men’s champion Wesley Korir is a friend of Cherobon-Bawcom’s, and tenth place finisher Mathew Kisorio is her cousin. “I was really watching closely,” she said.
Make sure to watch out for Janet Cherobon-Bawcom on June 24th, as she hopes to continue her streak of strong performances at the B.A.A. 10K. To check out Janet’s “Five Tips for a Successful Race,” click here: http://www.baa.org/races/10k/participant-information/10k-training-tips.aspx