Nixon Becomes First-Ever Women’s Champ of B.A.A. Half Marathon
Sarah Nixon, 37, of Medfield, MA became the first woman ever to cross the break tape of the B.A.A. Half Marathon. Nixon ran tightly with B.A.A. Running Club member Cathi Campbell for the first seven miles of the 13.1-mile stretch before an adrenaline kick propelled her into the lead and to a 1:21:16 finish.
“Seeing the cheering crowd really pumped me up, and I just tried to hang on for as long as I could,” Nixon said. A member of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute training team, Nixon said that the support of her teammates and friends along the route gave her the “incredible rush” she needed to cross the finish line first.
In what Nixon described as her ideal racing conditions--cool, drizzly autumn weather--she was able to maintain a 6:12 pace as she traversed the leafy roads lining the Emerald Necklace park system. Campbell, moving at a 6:14 pace, ran closely with Nixon for just over half of the course. “I have a ton of respect for Cathi,” said Nixon. “She is a really consistent runner.”
While Nixon may have backed off slightly on the uphill sections of the race route, such as the mile stretch leading up to Franklin Park, Campbell, a 2000 U.S. Marathon Trials participant, held a consistent pace. Both women were able to adjust well to the shifting terrain and landscape–which varied from a dirt path cut through a safari-like backdrop of zebras and giraffes, to a verdant roadway lining Jamaica Pond.
Nixon, who has competed in the Boston Marathon seven times, said that the B.A.A. Half Marathon course provides a flattering reflection of the City of Boston. “While the Boston Marathon ends in the City, this race really showcases some lovely parts of Boston,” she said.
In addition to being the first female champion of the B.A.A. Half Marathon, Nixon was also the first American woman to cross the finish at the 2001 Paris Marathon, where she established her personal best of 2:53:30. Nixon will compete next at the New York City Marathon this November.
Carly Graytock, 23, of the Boston Athletic Association was the second female finisher with her time of 1:21:35. A resident of Cambridge, MA, Graytock is currently training to run her first marathon. She has also excelled in shorter distance competitions, with a 10,000M personal record of 35:59.
The inaugural women’s race of the B.A.A. Half Marathon witnessed a field of top local running talent–an exhibition of the finest of what the greater Boston community has to offer, in both its athletes and its seasonal beauty.
- By Julia Beeson