6th Annual B.A.A. Half Marathon
In 2005, Celedonio Rodriguez (Alamosa, CA) shocked the field, seizing the lead in the early going, and holding off a late charge from Samuel Ndereba (Kenya) to win the B.A.A. Half Marathon. Rodriguez had just obtained his U.S. citizenship two weeks earlier, and was a relative unknown on the road race scene at the time.
Motivated by his near-miss last year, Ndereba (the younger brother of four-time Boston Marathon champion Catherine Ndereba) wasn’t about to let himself fall short two years in a row. “Today I had a different plan because last year the winner went fast, and we let him go,” Ndereba said after the race. “Today we did not allow him to push the pace.”
While Rodriguez again ran aggressively, Ndereba wasn’t alone in his efforts to keep the young American within reach. Following the starter’s gun, a pack of six men quickly formed at the front of the field. In the group were Ndereba, Rodriguez, Richard Kiplagat (Kenya), Michael Misoi (Kenya), Peter Gilmore (San Mateo, CA), and John Mortimer (Waltham, MA). The group, averaging 5:00/mile as they neared Franklin Park Zoo--and the turn-around point on the course--began to pull away from Mortimer. Soon thereafter, the three Kenyan men began to assert themselves at the front, with Ndereba in particular hoping to prevent a replay of last year’s close finish.
The leaders’ pace dropped quickly. While five-minute miles were the norm over the first half, they averaged 4:45’s over the second half. By mile 11 Ndereba had managed to drop all of his competitors except Kiplagat, who owns a personal best of 3:57 in the mile. To avoid facing the speedy Kiplagat in a close finishing kick, Ndereba surged through a 4:29 12th mile to build up an eight-second lead. After breaking the finish tape in 1:03:02, a tremendous smile crossed the new champion's face.
Close on his heels was Kiplagat, who finished in 1:03:15--a time that’s all the more impressive given that this was his debut at the half marathon distance. “My specialty events have always been the 5K and mile,” said the former Iona College star. “Never mind finishing second, running 63 minutes is very exciting.”
Misoi was next to finish, crossing the line in 1:04:01 in his first race ever in the United States. Finishing next, in 1:04:31, was Gilmore, running a final tune-up race before he competes in the ING New York City Marathon on November 5. Though this was his first appearance in the B.A.A. Half Marathon, Gilmore has already made a name for himself in the Boston Marathon, having finished 10th in 2005 and seventh this past April--setting a personal best of 2:12:45 in the process.
Rounding out the top five was last year’s champ, Rodriguez, who finished with a time of 1:05:19.
Boston Athletic Association
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
TOP THREE OVERALL
1. Samuel Ndereba (KEN) 1:03:03
2. Richard Kiplagat (KEN) 1:03:15
3. Michael Misoi (KEN) 1:04:01
TOP MASTERS FINISHER
1. Oscar Gonzalez-Barreto (USA) 1:10:59
TOP PUSH RIM WHEELCHAIR FINISHER
1. Mark Ledo (CAN) 56:48