A field of more than 6,300 finishers raced in New England’s signature half marathon
BOSTON – The 2023 B.A.A. Half Marathon presented by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund took place today, November 12, starting and finishing within Boston’s Franklin Park. Personal bests and fast times were achieved on a chilly fall day. Preliminary results can be found here.
In the professional open divisions, Fotyen Tesfay (Ethiopia) and Abel Kipchumba (Kenya) took home the women’s and men’s titles respectively, while Jenna Fesemyer and Hermin Garic, both of the USA, captured the wheelchair division victories. American Paralympian Liz Willis set a world record in the T61-64 division (lower limb impairment) in a time of 1:45:19. Among today’s finishers were more than 600 athletes representing the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Jimmy Fund, raising more than $700,000 to defy cancer.
Warming up through the early miles, Tesfay and a sizeable lead pack passed 5 miles in 27:10 and 10 miles in 53:17. The race began to intensify as Tesfay, American record holder Keira D’Amato, B.A.A. 5K champion Senbere Teferi, and World Cross Country Championships silver medalist Tsigie Gebreselama covered the hilly course along Boston’s Emerald Necklace Park System.
While it was a pack with 5K to go, Tesfay was all alone entering White Stadium, breaking the tape in 1:08:46. In her Boston debut, Tesfay not only conquered the competition but also the cold temperatures.
“The pack was so big, but I managed to move ahead of them as I got close to the finish to take the win,” said Tesfay. “This is my first time running a half marathon in Boston and the coldest race I have ever run, so I am very happy to win.”
Teferi (ETH) and Gebreselama (ETH) rounded out the podium in 1:09:00 and 1:09:06, followed by D’Amato as the top American in 1:09:12.
In the men’s race, Kipchumba was determined to improve upon a ninth place finish a year ago. Running with Australian Olympian Pat Tiernan and defending champion Geoffrey Koech (Kenya) through five miles, Kipchumba began to break away little by little. At six miles it was a seven second lead, then at 10 miles the gap stood 30 seconds.
Kipchumba’s broke the tape all smiles in 1:01:32 with a hard-charging Tiernan second (1:01:56) and Yemane Haileselassie third in 1:02:17. Sam Chelanga, who won a silver medal in the 10,000m at the Pan Am Games on the track last week, was top American, seventh in 1:02:49.
“Today was difficult because it was very cold. And as we know, Boston has a lot of hills. But I managed to win the race, so I am happy,” said Kipchumba. “I like the crowds. They cheered me and I got a lot of energy to push the pace.”
FESEMYER DEFENDS, GARIC GAINS REDEMPTION IN WHEELCHAIR DIVISION
One week after placing eighth at the TCS New York City Marathon, Jenna Fesemyer battled with training partner and Illinois teammate Yen Hoang for much of the B.A.A. Half Marathon course. With hopes of breaking her course record from a year ago, Fesemyer attacked the hills and broke away for a nine second win over Hoang, 1:01:47 to 1:01:56.
“I always love coming to Boston and I always appreciate the support of the B.A.A. It was a really strong field today, and the sun came out too, so I’d consider it a good day!” said Fesemyer.
Hermin Garic and Wyatt Willand entered White Stadium side by side, and it was the veteran Garic –winner of this year’s B.A.A. 10K—who prevailed in a sprint to the line. One second separated the pair: Garic’s 53:34 to Willand’s 53:35. The win helped Garic gain redemption on the course, as an errant turn last year cost him a podium finish.
“It was a year’s preparation to get some redemption and get the win here,” said Garic, clutching the winner’s trophy. “A win at any B.A.A. race is just an amazing feeling. You have the crowd supporting you out there, all the staff, all the people who put this together. It is awesome.”
WORLD RECORD FOR WILLIS; REYNOLDS EARN HOMETOWN WIN
Paralympic sprinter Liz Willis set a pending world record of 1:45:19, earning the victory in the Para Athletics T61-64 Division (lower-limb impairment). With her family cheering her on, Willis averaged an 8:01 mile pace along the course, and continues her winning ways in Boston having also won the Boston Marathon and B.A.A. 10K Para Athletics Divisions.
“It feels unbelievable to have set a world record,” said Willis. “The fact that the B.A.A. has given us the opportunity to do this is extremely humbling and I hope I can pave the way for future Paralympians to see that there are possibilities for them in this sport.”
Brian Reynolds, a Dedham, Mass.-native, timed 1:26:44 to win the men’s T61-T64 Division. While he came up just short of his world record time from last year, the experienced marathoner and mountaineer was pleased with the day.
“Happy to be back out on the course. So many people, my hometown, my friends and family,” said Reynolds. “I’ve grown up in Boston, I was always on the sidelines of the marathon course, so it was kind of in my blood before I was even a runner…. so coming back to run in my hometown streets has always been a special occasion for me.”
Irwin Ramirez was the top T11-T13 (vision impairment) men’s finisher in 1:33:07, followed by Eric Strong in 1:42:39. Jennifer Herring earned top women’s honors in 1:41:11.
TEAM DANA FARBER RAISES $700,000+ TO DEFY CANCER
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund have partnered with the B.A.A. Half Marathon since 2003 as the race’s presenting sponsor and exclusive charity team. Through this relationship, Dana-Farber runners have collectively raised more than $8.6 million to support groundbreaking cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and enabled Dana-Farber scientists and clinicians to positively impact the lives of cancer patients around the world. A team of 600+ athletes were part of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund’s team for this year’s event, having already raised over $700,000 to defy cancer. Those interested in supporting Dana-Farber’s team can make a donation here.
B.A.A. HALF MARATHON FAST FACTS
- 6,311 athletes started the event, coming from 46 U.S. states (plus Washington, DC) and 97 countries.
- Also on course from start to finish were 38 MarathonFoto photographers. MarathonFoto and the B.A.A. celebrate 40 years of partnership in 2023, and photos from today’s event can be found at marathonfoto.com.
- 2,072 athletes were on track to complete the 2023 B.A.A. Distance Medley, a three-race series which includes April’s B.A.A. 5K, June’s B.A.A. 10K, and November’s B.A.A. Half Marathon. The B.A.A. Distance Medley series provides athletes a year-long way to experience training and racing at three different distances, with the aim of improving fitness throughout the calendar year.
- A prize purse of $96,200 was available for professional athletes in the open, wheelchair, masters, and Para Athletics Divisions. Additional details can be found here.
- For additional information on the 2023 B.A.A. Half Marathon presented by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund, please visit our event website.
ABOUT THE BOSTON ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION
Established in 1887, the Boston Athletic Association is a non-profit organization with a mission of promoting a healthy lifestyle through sports, especially running. The B.A.A. manages the Boston Marathon, and supports comprehensive charity, youth, and year-round programming. The Boston Marathon is part of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, along with international marathons in Tokyo, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York City. The 128th Boston Marathon presented by Bank of America is scheduled to take place on Monday, April 15, 2024. For more information on the B.A.A., please visit www.baa.org.
About Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is one of the world’s leading centers of cancer research and treatment. Dana-Farber’s mission is to reduce the burden of cancer through scientific inquiry, clinical care, education, community engagement, and advocacy. Dana-Farber is a federally designated Comprehensive Cancer Center and a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School.
We provide the latest treatments in cancer for adults through Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center and for children through Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. Dana-Farber is the only hospital nationwide with a top 5 U.S. News & World Report Best Cancer Hospital ranking in both adult and pediatric care.
As a global leader in oncology, Dana-Farber is dedicated to a unique and equal balance between cancer research and care, translating the results of discovery into new treatments for patients locally and around the world, offering more than 1,100 clinical trials.
About the Jimmy Fund
The Jimmy Fund, celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2023, is comprised of community-based fundraising events and other programs that, solely and directly, benefit Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s lifesaving mission to provide compassionate patient care and groundbreaking cancer research for children and adults. The Jimmy Fund is an official charity of the Boston Red Sox, the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, the Pan-Mass Challenge, and the Variety Children's Charity of New England. Since 1948, the generosity of millions of people has helped the Jimmy Fund save countless lives and reduce the burden of cancer for patients and families worldwide. Follow the Jimmy Fund on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @TheJimmyFund.