Record field of 4,550 runners tour Boston’s Emerald Necklace.
Written by: Marc Davis, Running USA Wire
A new course, yet a familiar backdrop, greeted a record field of runners at the 10th B.A.A. Half Marathon in Boston, presented by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and The Jimmy Fund. This year’s event, which started in Franklin Park, and wound its way through the City of Boston and Brookline’s Emerald Necklace park system, was the showcase for 4,550 athletes under near perfect running conditions. Two Kenyan runners, John Korir (1:02:21) and Caroline Rotich (1:10:52), emerged as the victors, yet both winning under very different circumstances.
In the men’s race, Korir, 35, one of the most successful road racers over the past decade, needed a last minute kick to pull away from the charging countryman Alan Kiprono, both running within a second of Thomas Nyariki’s 2007 event record of 1:02:20. Even though this year’s race featured a new course, it is the second year in a row that the men’s winning time narrowly missed the event record. Martin Fagan of Ireland won last year’s race in a mirror time of 1:02:21.
From the gun, the front running style of the Kenyan runners took over, with a lead pack including Korir, Kiprono, Julius Kogo, Linus Maiyo and Elkanah Kibet. By two miles (9:30) the pack had indeed broken up and the Kenyans had taken over sole duty of leadership. Running shoulder-to-shoulder Korir, Kiprono, Kogo and Maiyo “looked dominating”, according to men’s lead vehicle lookout, Peter Brown. After hitting three miles (14:11), the foursome dwindled to a threesome, having slowly created a gap on Kiprono.
With another fast mile time of 4:41 (42:17 at 9 miles), it was now down to a two-man show, with Korir and Kiprono battling to the very end. Rising up the final hill together, Korir and Kiprono were clearly going to make this into a final kick.
The two runners stepped onto the White Stadium track neck-and-neck with 120 meters to decide the champion. With less than 50 meters to go it was the veteran Korir who showed the most desire, edging Kiprono, who was given the exact same time of 1 hour, 2 minutes, 21 seconds.
The top American spot was taken by Colin Leak (6th overall) in 1:05:25. And the top local runner was Timothy Richie (10th overall) in 1:07:52.
The Masters Division was won for the second straight year by Joseph Koech, 41, of Kenya in 1:11:08.
The women’s race saw a much different approach to victory, as Caroline Rotich, 26, seemed to almost sprint from the very first meter, daring all that wished to challenge her.
By mile 10, it actually looked as though Rotich was beginning to fall victim to her own amazing pace, as countrywoman and soon-to-be U.S. citizen Janet Cherobon became a more visible presence behind her. Seemingly being paced by a male runner, Rotich was still holding on through the remaining hills and into the zoo area.
By mile 13, Cherobon’s efforts to catch up to Rotich had fallen short, as Rotich entered White Stadium all alone in her field and cruised to an event record time of 1:10:52, with Cherobon runner-up in 1:11:50. Jane Kibii was third in 1:16:02. The top American female was Elle Pishny (4th) in 1:18:42. Living in Boston, Pishny was also the top local female athlete. Kara Hass, who turned 40 today, finished sixth overall and won the Masters Division (1:21:44).
The professional fields of athletes competed for a combined prize purse of $30,000, with Rotich and Korir each taking home $5,000.
10th B.A.A. Half Marathon
Boston, MA, Sunday, October 10, 2010
1) John Korir (KEN), 1:02:21, $5000
2) Alan Kiprono (KEN), 1:02:21, $3000
3) Linus Maiyo (KEN), 1:03:06, $1500
4) Julius Kogo (KEN), 1:04:06, $1000
5) Elkanah Kibet (KEN), 1:05:06, $600
1) Caroline Rotich (KEN), 1:10:52*, $5000
2) Janet Cherobon (KEN), 1:11:50, $3000
3) Jane Kibii (KEN), 1:16:02, $1500
4) Elle Pishny (USA / MA), 1:18:42, $1000
5) Sallie Ford (USA / VA), 1:21:30, $600
*event record (previous, 1:10:57, Marie Davenport (IRL), 2003)
Complete results at: BAA.org