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Results and Commentary: 2006 Women's Commentary

6th Annual B.A.A. Half Marathon

See 2006 Results - Click Here 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.

Organizer

Boston Athletic Association

Presenting Sponsor

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Jimmy Fund

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

B.A.A. Moment 2

1935 John A. Kelley

Born in West Medford, Massachusetts as one of ten children, Kelley ran track and cross-country at Arlington High School in Massachusetts. He did not finish his first Boston Marathon in 1928, but eventually competed in a record 61 Boston Marathons. A legend of the marathon, Kelley won the 1935 and 1945 runnings of the Boston Marathon. He finished in second place at Boston a record seven times. Between 1934 to 1950, he finished in the top five 15 times at Boston, consistently running in the 2:30s. He ran his last full marathon at Boston in 1992 at the age of 84, his 61st start and 58th finish there.