WORLD LEAD FOR MUTAI, DEFENDS B.A.A. 10K TITLE IN 27:29
By Chris Lotsbom
Geoffrey Mutai successfully defended his crown here at the 2012 B.A.A. 10K, running away from a stellar field here on the streets of Boston. Crossing the finish in 27:29, the fastest 10K run thus far in 2012.
"I am happy again. I don't know if you know all my happiness when I am in Boston. It is not like other races," said the champion.
After pushing the pace through two miles in 8:51, Mutai and fellow Kenyan Philip Langat broke away from the rest of the eight-man lead pack. Turning down Bay State Road and running through the picturesque campus of Boston University, Mutai and Langat were pushing together.
"I was very happy when I was running with Geoffrey because I knew we were on course record [pace]," said Langat. "I was trying his pace, and I follow him. When I saw the people cheering outside, I caught the morale to follow him and run a good time."
As the pair approached 5k, Mutai began to seperate ever so slightly from the 22-year-old Langat. While competing, Mutai said he had one thing on his mind: to win the race for his daughter, Marieke, whose birthday is this week.
"Last year when I was running here, my baby was born. So when I came back to this race I told my family I am going to try to win in the name of my child," he said this morning.
Rounding the halfway turnaround point in 13:51, Langat had returned to Mutai's shoulder. But that would only last for a brief second.
Before the pair hit four miles, Mutai was alone once again. Running down Commonwealth Avenue, the father of two pushed on, gaining strength from the many competitors running in the opposite direction who offered cheers along the way.
"I hear a lot because they are shouting at me so I push it again," he said. "They remind me of the Boston Marathon."
Through Kenmore Square with a seven second lead on Langat, Mutai still was within range of his 27:19 course record.
"For me, the last kilometer was slow because I lost the motion because I didn't have anyone to pull or anyone to see that I am fighting against," he said. "For me, I was trying to push it. I won only, but I didn't have the time like last year."
With a mixture of a grimace and a smile across his face, Mutai continued down Commonwealth Avenue before passing the Public Garden. Turning onto the finishing straight on Charles Street, no one was in sight.
Crossing the finish line in 27:29, the fastest 10K run on the roads this year, Mutai was very happy.
"What is in my mind is this is my home. All of the course records are mine, in the Boston Marathon and the B.A.A. 10K. All of my best times are here in Boston. I am here in Boston! This is my home," said Mutai, who picks up $5000 for his win. Behind, Philip Langat and Ali Abdosh of Ethiopia would round out the top three in 27:53 and 28:21, respectively. Fourth was Ahmed Baday (28:30) and fifth was Allan Kiprono, 28:37. B.A.A. 5K runner-up Sam Chelanga finished one second behind in sixth.
With the B.A.A. 10K serving as the second leg of the inaugural B.A.A. Distance Medley, many were looking to see who would come out of the race atop the leaderboard. At the end of the series -- which includes April's B.A.A. 5K, today's B.A.A. 10K, and October's B.A.A. Half Marathon -- $100,000 will be awarded to the male and female with the lowest cumulative time from the three races.
Entering the B.A.A. 10K, Chelanga held a three second lead over Lani Rutto and a five second margin on Kiprono. Ethiopia's Abdosh was 16 seconds behind coming into today's race.
By the time all had finished and results were calculated, Abdosh leaves Boston with a one second lead over Chelanga, something that the 24-year-old is quite happy about.
"I am very happy and excited for the Half Marathon," said Abdosh, who won last year's B.A.A. Half Marathon. "I won last year and I hope to win again. If I win [the Distance Medley] I would be very happy. Very happy."
In October 7th's B.A.A. Half Marathon, both will surely be dueling for the top prize, just like the tandem did in 2011.
4,560 competitors finished today's race, which was run in near perfect weather: 74 degrees at the start, blue skies, and 42% humidity.
KIM SMITH SETS COURSE RECORD AT B.A.A. 10K
By Michael Keebler
A beautiful summer morning greeted 4,576 runners gathering on Boston Common for the 2nd annual B.A.A. 10K on June 24. As the runners toed the line at 8:00 a.m. under bright and sunny skies, the conditions were set for fast running, with a temperature of 74.4 degrees, 42% humidity, and very low winds.
The elite women stuck together in the early stages of the race, making their way through Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood and heading down scenic Commonwealth Avenue. The women ran in a tightly bunched pack that included Ethiopia’s Aheza Kiros and Kim Smith, of New Zealand.
Sharon Cherop, the 2012 Boston Marathon champion, and Caroline Kilel, the 2011 Boston Marathon champion and defending B.A.A. 10K champion, were also among the contenders in the early goings. They were joined by Kenyan compatriots, Jelliah Tinega and Chemtai Rionoukei. The leaders passed the one mile mark in 5:04, with American Lindsey Scherf on their heels.
New Zealand native and Providence, RI-native Smith was content with the relaxed pace in the opening miles. Comparing this year’s race to last year’s, where she placed second in 32:08, Smith said, “definitely, going out a little easier helped.”
Smith and Kiros appeared to be feeding off one another, coming through 5K tied at 15:58. In the fourth mile, Kiros tried to push the pace on Smith, who responded well.
"I kind of just sat in for the first 5K and then Kiros pushed the fourth mile a little bit and I went with her," Smith said. "I thought she was tiring a little bit, so then I surged a little bit and dropped her. I like to run alone and push on, so that kind of suited me."
Once she had room to run alone, Smith never looked back. Finding some daylight, Smith passed the four-mile mark in 20:23, opening a gap on Kiros and Cherop. Behind them, the chase pack strung out. By five miles, Smith opened a 12-second lead on Kiros. With just one kilometer to go, she extended her lead to 15 seconds.
Fueled by the cheers of the crowd, the New Englander could not be denied over the race’s final stages. Smith went on to win convincingly, setting a new course record of 31:36.
"Being local, I think I knew a lot of people in the race,” Smith said with a smile after her victory. “I felt like everyone was kind of cheering for me."
Smith’s time was 22 seconds ahead of Caroline Kilel’s record of 31:36, which she ran at the inaugural B.A.A. 10K last year. Kiros also finished inside of Kilel’s former course record, running 31:57. Cherop rounded out the top three in 32:03.
With the B.A.A. 10K in the history books, Smith will turn her attention to the Olympic Games in London, where she will compete in the marathon. After that race, she will return to Boston for B.A.A. Half Marathon, the third and final race of the inaugural B.A.A. Distance Medley.
The B.A.A. Distance Medley incorporates the B.A.A. 5K, B.A.A. 10K, and B.A.A. Half Marathon to crown one overall male and female champion based on total elapsed time across all three races.
After her convincing win today, Smith has taken sole possession of first place on the B.A.A. Distance Medley leaderboard with a cumulative time of 47:03. Kiros sits in second, just 15 seconds behind Smith. Tinega is in third, 1:15 behind Smith.
Excited about her victory today, Smith spoke briefly about her outlook on the B.A.A. Distance Medley.
"I don’t know if there’s ever been anything like this before. When I heard about it, I was definitely really excited, especially the fact that it’s in Boston. It’s just down the road. Anytime there’s a $100,000 prize, it’s exciting. It’s really exciting for the sport that the B.A.A. has put this on, and I’m really grateful for that," she said.
The twelfth annual B.A.A. Half Marathon, presented by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund, will be held on Sunday, October 7 in Boston's Franklin Park. Registration will open on July 18, 2012.