Cox wins 5K, Baddeley and Uceny take titles in mile.
Written By: Mario Fraioli
Because he was already in Boston to do some promotional work for a few of his sponsors this weekend, Josh Cox decided on Saturday night that he might as well feed off the energy of the electric atmosphere around him and participate in a local road race on Sunday morning.
Cox, who hasn’t raced since running 2:13:51 (for a second-place result) at the Cal International Marathon in December, lined up at the start of the second annual BAA 5K and led from the sound of the starter’s horn to top the field of 5,000 in a winning time of 14:31. He is preparing to run the 56-mile Comrades Marathon in South Africa on May 30 and used Sunday’s race as a tune-up of sorts before contesting the Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon next weekend in Nashville.
“I thought the 5K would be a great way to loosen up the legs, bust some rust and get the legs turning over,” Cox said. “It’s so exciting to be here this weekend. You get caught up in the excitement of it all and I wanted to be part of the action. It’s a way for everyone to get involved and be in on some of the action.”
For a couple of top local runners who were hoping to battle it out for bragging rights on Sunday morning, it came as something of a surprise to see an athlete of Cox’s caliber standing next to them on the starting line the day before Boston’s biggest race of the year.
“Yeah, I was definitely thrown off,” said the Boston Athletic Association’s Brian Harvey, who finished 14 seconds behind Cox to take second place overall. “I don’t know a lot about him but I know he runs with Ryan Hall. It’s good to have good competition but he was out front from the start.”
“I thought I could hang a little bit,” added Keene, New Hampshire’s Mark Miller, who finished third in 15:00. “And then I started feeling redline city around 1,200 into it and had to re-evaluate the situation.”
Still, Miller was excited to be part of the action on Sunday and said that the energy of the crowds along the course inspired him to run the main event on Marathon weekend in 2010.
“When I walked in here this morning I said sign me up for next year,” Miller said. “I’m definitely going to do the marathon next year. It’s too good of a vibe not to be a part of in some capacity and I can only imagine how electric it would be on a Monday.”
Jennifer Campbell, a 26-year-old from Watertown, Massacusetts, won the women’s race in a course-record of 16:52, almost 45 seconds ahead of the course standard established by the Boston Athletic Association’s Maria Varela last year.
Campbell, who trailed second-place finisher Jeannette Seckinger of Somerville, Massachusetts through two miles, pulled away over the final third of the race to win by eight seconds.
“This is a great event to be part of during marathon weekend,” Campbell said. “It’s a great crowd out there and great competition. It was awesome.”
Wet and Wild Miles
A cold rain, wet roads and tight turns aren’t ideal conditions for a fast mile, but Andrew Baddeley didn’t let any of that bother him one bit.
The 27-year-old from Great Britain blasted the final turn onto Boylston Street and inched out Ethiopian Markos Geneti by two tenths of a second to win the men’s professional race at the second-annual BAA Invitational Mile in a course-record of 4:08.6.
“I was comfortable and I had quite a lot left,” said, who took home $5,000 for his efforts. “The crowds were amazing considering it was hammering down rain, it’s freezing cold out and you can see your breath. It went by very quickly.”
In the women’s race, Morgan Uceny pulled away from Mammoth Club teammate Sara Hall halfway through the last lap on the three-lap course and held on to win in 4:43, seven tenths of a second ahead of the second-place Hall
“I was trying to save some energy the first couple laps and just relax in the last lap,” Uceney said “I was kind of antsy. I just wanted to push it to make sure that coming around those turns nobody could make a move on me.”
Hall, who took the lead heading into the race’s last lap, couldn’t respond to Ulceney’s final move, but was excited for the opportunity to inspire Monday’s marathoners with her effort.
“I just tried as best I could to cover Morgan’s move,” Hall said. “She made a really strong move. Hopefully we could bring some inspiration for the marathoners out here watching. I felt like that was our role today.”
In the high school races, Framingham’s Ben Groleau pulled away from Ezra Lictman and Yuji Wakimoto, both of Newton, with 200 meters to go to win the boys race in 4:40.3. Groleau, who finished tenth in this race last year, was unexpectedly excited with his winning effort on Sunday.
“This is incredible,” said. “I would never have expected to do this well in a race of this magnitude.”
On the girls side, Melanie Fineman of Newton proved she was the tops in the town, winning a close race over fellow Newtonite Margo Gillis. Fineman, who followed Gillis’ fast pace from the get-go, crossed the finish line in a winning time of 5:10.9, four tenths of a second ahead of her cross-town rival.
“It was a really, really fast race,” Fineman said. “I was really lucky she was in the race. We worked together throughout the race and then I just dug deep and I kicked at the end.”