Second Annual B.A.A. Half Marathon
Boston’s Emerald Necklace park system glistened in the mist as Fenway Park and the Franklin Park Zoo played starring roles at the second annual B.A.A. Half Marathon, presented by New England Baptist Hospital.
New for 2002, the course included running the inside perimeter of Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. The participants entered from the centerfield gate, ran clockwise on the warning track, and exited back onto Landsdowne Street through the same gate. The distance run inside the park was ¼-mile, and runners’ images were displayed live on the video board as they ran through Major League Baseball’s legendary structure. The Red Sox also played baseball-theme music to inspire the runners and wish them well on their trek.
Last year’s men's champion, Wayne Levy, 37, of Newton, Mass., finished fifth in 1:12:12.
Bill Rodgers, four-time Boston Marathon champion, returned to run the B.A.A. Half Marathon. Rodgers won his age category in 2001, and repeated the feat this year in a time of 1:16:05, an incredible four minutes, 26 seconds faster than his age division-winning time of 1:20:31 last year. Rodgers, 54, was not only the first Veteran (age 50 and older), but also the first 40-and-older finisher. He was eleventh entering the Zoo just prior to the seven mile point, and he held his position to the finish. In 2001, he was 27th overall.
Tim Kelly, of Weymouth, Mass., won the men’s wheelchair division for the second straight year with a time of 1:06:51. He beat runner-up Erik Corbett, of Methuen, Mass. (1:14:38) and third place finisher Christopher Ahearn, of Roslindale, Mass. (1:28:59). Ahearn was runner-up last year. No female wheelchair division racers started the race.
New England Baptist Hospital, located on Mission Hill just steps away from the Emerald Necklace, was the presenting sponsor of the half marathon for the second year. A world leader in orthopedics and sports medicine, NEBH is proud to join with the B.A.A. for this premier event, which benefits its community and caters to athletes of every level. Hundreds of participants attended a complimentary health education seminar series, presented by New England Baptist Hospital experts, on Saturday. Topics included running psychology, nutrition for runners, common running injuries, and selecting proper footwear.
The 2002 B.A.A. Half Marathon was dedicated to Justine Liff, Boston’s first female Commissioner of its Parks and Recreation Department, who died on September 11 of this year. Justine was a strong proponent of the B.A.A.’s mission of fostering fitness through athletics, especially among the City’s youth. Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino was present at the start of the half marathon and welcomed participants to the event.
The Boston Athletic Association won both the men’s and women’s open team titles, as well as the men’s masters division team title, for the second consecutive year.
A portion of the entry fees will be donated to the Emerald Necklace Conservancy for the maintenance, preservation and beautification of the park system.
The Franklin Park Zoo once again was a featured aspect of the course and located at the runners’ turnaround point. Runners reported that they especially noticed ostriches this year, along with other animals such as giraffes.
- Jack Fleming