6th Annual B.A.A. Half Marathon
The women’s division of the sixth B.A.A. Half Marathon was full of questions. Would course record holder Marie Davenport (Guilford, CT / IRL) be in top form, despite suffering through a cold and missing a key workout during her build-up for the race? How would 20-year-old Josephine Deemay (TAN) run in just her second trip to the United States? And could the ageless Firaya Sultanova-Zhdanova (RUS) continue to compete with the top open runners while also dominating the masters division?
Within the first mile, all questions had already been answered. Davenport and Deemay quickly established themselves in front of the field, while Sultanova-Zhdanova followed close behind.
While the men favored a faster second-half, Davenport and Deemay were content to run an even pace, their mile splits rarely under 5:20 or over 5:30. Davenport repeatedly tested her young rival, throwing in several surges over the second half of the race. Though Deemay hung tough through nine miles, Davenport's tactics finally paid off in the 10th mile as she gradually built up a lead. By the time the two-time Irish Olympian flew through a 5:11 12th mile, she had a comfortable cushion of 30 seconds.
Though she wasn’t able to match her 1:10:56 course record from 2003, Davenport was ecstatic over her victory, which makes her the second woman to win two B.A.A. Half Marathons, following Sarah Nixon (2001 & 2002 champion). Her time, 1:12:10, marks the fourth-fastest in event history. Deemay crossed the line in 1:13:17, the seventh-best performance at the B.A.A. Half.
Though forced to run most of the race alone--behind the two leaders, but in front of the chase pack--Sultanova-Zhadanova finished in 1:16:12, to capture both third-place overall and the masters division title.
Boston Athletic Association
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Top Three Overall
1. Marie Davenport (IRL) 1:12:10
2. Josephine Deemay (TAN) 1:13:17
3. Firaya Sultanova-Zhdanova (RUS) 1:16:12
Top Masters Finisher
1. Firaya Sultanova-Zhdanova (RUS) 1:16:12
Top Push Rim Wheelchair Finisher
1. April Coughlin (USA) 1:15:17