Kiprono and Smith take inaugural titles
The B.A.A. Half Marathon served as the culmination of the B.A.A. Distance Medley, a three-race series which combines the B.A.A. 5K in April, B.A.A. 10K in June, and the B.A.A. Half Marathon. In the B.A.A.’s 125th Anniversary year, a grand prize of $100,000 would be awarded to the man and woman with the lowest cumulative gun time across all three races. With four men within five seconds of the overall lead coming into the race, the stage was set for a thrilling end to the inaugural B.A.A. Distance Medley.
Allan Kiprono (KEN) set the pace in the early miles of the B.A.A. Half Marathon, running in a pack that included B.A.A. Distance Medley competitors Lani Rutto (KEN), Sam Chelanga (KEN), and Ali Abdosh (ETH). Kiprono ran alone for much of the race.
As he passed nine miles in 41:39 and 15K in 43:09, Kiprono began looking over his shoulder. Behind him, he saw the familiar face of Lani Rutto, his training partner, 13 seconds behind him. At mile 12 in the Franklin Park Zoo, Kiprono made a move, opening a gap of 18 seconds.
His large lead, however, was short-lived. With just 800 meters to go, Rutto was only six seconds behind. Despite his late charge, Rutto simply could not make up enough ground on Kiprono. As the leaders approached the finish line within White Stadium to the cheers of the crowd, the race clearly belonged to Allan Kiprono. He crossed the line in 1:01:44, with Rutto following in 1:01:55. Both times were better than the event record of 1:02:20, set in 2007 by Kenya’s Tom Nyariki. With his performance, Kiprono won the B.A.A. Distance Medley and the $100,000 grand prize.
On the women’s side, New Zealand native and Providence, RI resident Kim Smith entered the B.A.A. Half Marathon with a 16-second lead over Ethiopia’s Aheza Kiros on the B.A.A. Distance Medley leader board. After competing in the marathon at the London Olympic Games this summer, Smith had to make sure she balanced recovery and training in the buildup to this morning’s race.
Smith explained, “I had a week off [of training] after the Olympics and then slowly got back into [training]. I had to get back into training quicker than I usually do after a marathon. But luckily my legs felt pretty good, so the training was going pretty well.”
Keeping that in mind, Smith ran conservatively in the early miles. She ran with Kiros and Hellen Jemutai (KEN) through five miles in 28:05. Working together as they did in June’s B.A.A. 10K, Smith and Kiros ran side-by-side until about nine miles into the race. It was at that point that Smith began to pull away.
“I went out really, really conservatively,” Smith said after the race. [Kiros and I] both were throwing in some surges after about half way. I think at about the nine-mile mark, I threw in one last surge and got away. I got a bit of a gap and then just kept it going.” By mile 10, Smith built herself a 15-second lead over Kiros and never looked back.
Pouring it on at the end, Kim Smith went on to win by nearly two minutes, taking home the B.A.A. Half Marathon win, the B.A.A. Distance Medley crown and a $100,000 prize. Her winning time of 1:10:57 was only five seconds shy of the event record, set in 2010 by Kenya’s Caroline Rotich.
MEN’S MEDLEY FINAL LEADER BOARD
|ALLAN KIPRONO (KEN)
|LANI RUTTO (KEN)
|SAM CHELANGA (KEN)
|ALI ABDOSH (ETH)
|NATE JENKINS (USA)
WOMEN’S MEDLEY FINAL LEADER BOARD
|KIM SMITH (NZL)
|AHEZA KIROS (ETH)
|CAROLINE BJUNE (USA)
|ALICIA FOLLMAR (USA)
|MEGAN HYLAND (USA)
To view the complete B.A.A. Distance Medley Leaderboard, click the button below: