Results & Commentary: 2009 Invitational Mile Recap

Inaugural B.A.A. 5K, Invitational Miles a Success

BOSTON, Mass. – Sunday morning marked the start of a new Boston Marathon tradition: the B.A.A. 5K and Invitational Mile, the latter showcasing both professional and scholastic athletes before thousands of cheering spectators. By all measures, the events were a huge success, adding another facet to what is already the most prestigious weekend in road racing.

The series of races began with the B.A.A. 5K. More than 3,500 runners from 36 countries lined up at Copley Square Park on a clear, breezy morning for a 3.1-mile race that passed some of Boston’s historic sites, winding around the Boston Common and the Massachusetts State House, down Beacon Hill, and offering the rare chance to fly down the home stretch on Boylston Street and cross the Boston Marathon finish line in a competitive race.At least six past champions of the Boston Marathon ran the 5K, lending a historic aspect to the new event.

Following the 5K was the Invitational Mile, a series of four races for scholastic girls, scholastic boys, professional men and professional women. In a fitting tribute to the 113th Boston Marathon set for Monday, the scholastic fields featured young athletes from the eight host cities and towns along the course - Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton, Brookline and Boston.

The Professional Invitational Mile

Darren Brown of Austin, Texas, and Anna Willard of Mammoth Lakes, Calif. won the first-ever professional Invitational miles. An All-American in both indoor and outdoor track at the University of Texas, Brown finished in 4:11.6. Ian Dobson, a 2008 Olympian in the 5,000 meters and a two-time World Cross Country team member, was a half second behind. Alistair Cragg, a two-time Olympian and seven-time NCAA champion, finished third in 4:12.7.“I think it’s fantastic to involve more elite runners in this weekend,” Dobson said. “The Boston Marathon is a very elite event and adding something like this involves more of the running community, so I’d love to see it continue.”Willard, a 2008 Olympian in the 3,000 meter steeplechase, finished in 4:38.6, beating Olympic 10,000-meter bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan by nearly two seconds. Amy Mortimer, a former assistant coach at Boston College and the 2005 third-place finisher in the 1,500 meters, was third in 4:42.0.

The Scholastic Invitational Mile

Margo Gillis of Newton and Ryan Hardiman of Brookline captured the B.A.A. scholastic Invitational Mile titles.“It was definitely fun, a real good atmosphere,” Hardiman said. “I didn’t know I was going to win until coming around the last turn. All I wanted do to was go out there and have fun.”Hardiman squeaked out his victory over Daniel Hamilton, a Newton senior. All-American Omar Abdi of Boston finished in third place in 4:39.2Gillis finished the race in 5:10.6 over Newton teammate Carolyn Ranti by nearly four seconds. The pair was part of Newton North’s sprint medley relay team that finished third at the 2009 indoor nationals held in Boston last month. Rebecca White, a Natick senior, finished third with a time of 5:17.4.Newton (Gillis, Ranti) and Boston (Abdi, Ahmed Ali) won the team titles. Newton’s time of 10.24.7 was 28 seconds ahead of second place Natick.

B.A.A. Moment 3

1966 - Bobbi Gibb

Although not an official entrant, Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb became the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. Joining the starting field shortly after the gun had been fired, Gibb finished the race in 3:21:40 to place 126th overall. Gibb again claimed the “unofficial” title in 1967 and 1968.