A wealth of talent is getting ready to descend on the streets and neighborhoods of Boston for the B.A.A. Half Marathon presented by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund. Before they packed their cases, we asked three of them to tell us about their reparations ahead of the half and their thoughts on coming back to Boston.
Defending men’s champion, Geoffrey Koech from Kenya:
It feels very nice to be coming back to Boston, knowing that I am the reigning champion. I have trained specifically for this year now that I know the course.
Even though the course is challenging, I like it and I think my experience from last year gives me an advantage over those who will be doing it for the first time. We have hilly courses around my hometown of Kericho, so I have been adding some tough routes into my training, so my legs are used to it.
The spectators gave me a lot of encouragement last year and made the course feel a lot easier. It’s so inspiring to be cheered all through the course. The people of Boston are very friendly and welcoming to me. My goal is to win again this year so I hope I can do that and make the fans happy again.
I like to run in temperatures between 59-64F and preferably no rain! I wonder what we will get on race day! See you soon Boston.
Defending women’s champion, Viola Chepngeno from Kenya:
I really like Boston and I am very happy to be coming back to defend my title this year.
The course for the B.A.A. Half Marathon is great! Some might call it challenging but I love it. Keringet, where I live in Kenya, is known to be one of the hilliest places to train in Kenya so I know I am good over tough courses. Perhaps one day I will run the Boston Marathon too!
I am mentally and physically prepared for the race, and I know what I am capable of doing. I just have to be ready for a tactical race with lots of quality opponents also competing.
The crowds were really amazing last year. They cheered me on and made me push even harder to achieve my goals, so I am hoping they can help me improve my PR this year. I prefer warm weather - which we definitely didn’t get last year but I managed to do it so I’ll take whatever we get.
World record holder*in T62 category, Brian Reynolds from Dedham, Massachusetts:
I was born and raised in Dedham, Massachusetts and lived in the state until my mid 20s. Coming home to run in Boston races is always special for me. Running on familiar streets and knowing that I have a ton of friends and family on the course makes it feel like I truly have a home field advantage!
Running in the B.A.A. events over the last few years has become quite special for me. The staff are amazing, and I love getting to hang out with my fellow Para Athletes.
My favorite moment so far was standing at the starting line of the Boston Marathon 2022 - it was my first time, and it was everything I could have imagined. The roar of the crowds from start to finish, the encouragement of other runners, and the epic feeling of crossing the finish line is unparalleled. Given this is my hometown race and one of the biggest factors in me starting to run, it still gives me chills thinking about how special this race is and the incredible community support.
The work that the B.A.A. is doing to advance Para and Adaptive Athletic Divisions is vitally important on so many levels! It allows the youth to see athletes that look like them push, dream and achieve their goals. On a broader scale it is showing the world that Para Athletes deserve to be competing at the highest levels of competition around the world.
Running and the strength I have gained from it both physically and mentally is one of the biggest factors in allowing me to continuously push past my perceived boundaries.
I can’t wait to line up for the B.A.A. Half and I hope to see lots of you out there!
(*Set at last year’s event)