BOSTON - Kenya’s Daniel Chebii and Joan Chelimo returned to Boston with fierce final surges, claiming the men’s and women’s titles here at the 18th annual B.A.A. Half Marathon, presented by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund. Both Chebii and Chelimo separated from the pack late, powering to victory with times of 1:03:08 and 1:09:34.
A total of 6,530 participants started the B.A.A. Half Marathon, including more than one thousand B.A.A. Distance Medley runners. The B.A.A. Half Marathon was the third and final event of the 2018 B.A.A. Distance Medley, a three-race series that includes the B.A.A. 5K and B.A.A. 10K.
As if speaking for both champions, Chebii declared “I’m back!” shortly after breaking the tape, returning to the top spot of the podium in a city both runners have had success in.
Reaching 5K in 14:31 and 10K in 29:21, a pack of four runners were well ahead of the field. Chebii, reigning B.A.A. 10K champion Gabriel Geay, three-time B.A.A. Half Marathon champion Daniel Salel, and half marathon ace Geoffrey Koech ran as one through the Emerald Necklace park system.
The quartet remained unaltered through ten miles and entered Franklin Park Zoo as one. Chebii, however, began to squeeze down the pace exiting the Zoo and covered the final mile towards White Stadium ahead by five steps.
With a hop and a holler, Chebii skipped across the finish line pumping his fist in 1:03:08. Chebii adds a B.A.A. Half Marathon title to his already stellar resume, which includes a pair of B.A.A. 10K trophies from 2016 and 2017.
“I’m back, and love Boston!” Chebii said. “It is great to be a champion today. Last time I disappointed my fans in Boston because I was number five [finisher] at the B.A.A. 10K so I was very disappointed. But this time I went back to Kenya and trained very well so I am back again!
“I was excited to be a champion because I did a lot of training,” he added. “I have been in Boston five times and now have won three times!”
Placing second was Koech (1:03:13), followed a second behind by Geay, then Salel rounded out the top four in 1:03:20. Mohamed Hrezi, an Olympian for Libya, was fifth in 1:04:24. Top American honors went to Brookline’s Brian Shrader, placing eighth in 1:05:26.
Similar to the men’s competition, the women’s race was a group run until the final mile. Chelimo – the defending champion – led a pack of five women from 9 miles through the finish. Course record holder Mamitu Daska and 2015 Boston Marathon champion Caroline Rotich held strong through the hour mark, but Chelimo proved too tough to tame through the course’s second half. Gotytom Gebreslase and Monicah Ngige also challenged, though each time Chelimo responded with a surge of her own.
Inspired by the thoughts of improving her 1:10:31 winning time from last year, Chelimo relied on the cheers of many to begin her move approaching White Stadium. Stepping onto the track, Chelimo held a five second lead and didn’t let off the gas: she’d break the tape in full sprint in 1:09:34.
“I was winning, and was just smiling,” said Chelimo. “Today it was really competitive. When you look at those women, they have run fast… I just waited for the last few miles and pushed and nobody could hold on to the pace.”
Gebreslase was second in 1:09:39, with Ngige third in 1:09:47 and Daska fourth in 1:09:50. Fifth went to Margaret Muriuki in 1:10:13.
Chelimo had a secret weapon up her sleeve today: her three year old daughter Ariana back home in Kenya. “When I get tired in the race, the last stages, I just think of her and feel that energy,” said Chelimo. “She’s the one who keeps me going, being a mother, I’m so happy. During this win, I thought about her.”
The B.A.A. Half Marathon serves as the third and final event of the 2018 B.A.A. Distance Medley, which also includes April’s B.A.A. 5K and June’s B.A.A. 10K. Daniel Salel and Monicah Ngige were declared series champions with the lowest cumulative time from all three events – 1:45:58 and 1:57:42, respectively. This is Salel’s second B.A.A. Distance Medley title.
Earning the wheelchair division title for the 12th time in race history was New Jersey’s Tony Nogueira, clocking 53:57. Carla Trodella was the women’s wheelchair winner in 3:21:04.
Nearly 475 runners were part of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Half Marathon team, raising $600,000. Since 2003, Dana-Farber has raised more than $7 million through participating in the B.A.A. Half Marathon.
Registration for next year’s B.A.A. Distance Medley will open in January, and dates for the 2018 B.A.A. Distance Medley events will be announced in the coming months.
TOP 10 MEN
- Daniel Chebii, Kenya, 1:03:08
- Geoffrey Koech, Kenya, 1:03:13
- Gabriel Geay, Tanzania, 1:03:14
- Daniel Salel, Kenya, 1:03:20
- Mohamed Hrezi, Libya, 1:04:24
- Edwin Kibichiy, Kenya, 1:04:40
- Eliud Ngetich, Kenya, 1:04:56
- Brian Shrader, Brookline, MA, 1:05:26
- Yemane Tsegay, Ethiopia, 1:07:04
- Ben Bruce, Flagstaff, AZ, 1:07:07
TOP 10 WOMEN
- Joan Chelimo, Kenya, 1:09:34
- Gotytom Gebreslase, Ethiopia, 1:09:39
- Monicah Ngige, Kenya, 1:09:47
- Mamitu Daska, Ethiopia, 1:09:50
- Margaret Muriuki, Kenya, 1:10:13
- Caroline Rotich, Kenya, 1:10:34
- Shitaye Eshete, Bahrain, 1:11:21
- Sentayehu Ejigu, Ethiopia, 1:14:12
- Brilliant Jepkorir, Kenya, 1:16:00
- Grace Kahura, Kenya, 1:16:12
Men’s Wheelchair Champion
- Tony Nogueira, Glen Ridge, NJ, 53:57
Women’s Wheelchair Champion
- Carla Trodella, Danvers, MA, 3:21:04