Both Athletes win $100,000 Grand Prize as Medley Concludes in Boston with B.A.A. Half Marathon
A Day of Firsts at the 12th B.A.A. Half Marathon, Presented by Dana-FarberCancer Institute and theJimmy Fund
BOSTON – Sunny skies and a temperature of 51F degrees at the start were the backdrop for the 12th B.A.A. Half Marathon, presented by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund. The rain that was forecasted earlier in the week never fell and would not dampen the spirits of the record crowd of 5,459 starters gathered in Boston’s Franklin Park on a beautiful autumn day in New England.
It was a day of firsts as a new event record was established: for the first time, the B.A.A. Half Marathon served as the culmination of the B.A.A. Distance Medley, a three-race series which combines the B.A.A. 5K in April, B.A.A. 10K in June, and the B.A.A. Half Marathon. In the B.A.A.’s 125th Anniversary year, a grand prize of $100,000 would be awarded to the man and woman with the lowest cumulative gun time across all three races. With four men within five seconds of the overall lead coming into the race, the stage was set for a thrilling end to the inaugural B.A.A. Distance Medley.
Allan Kiprono (KEN) set the pace in the early miles, running in a pack that included B.A.A. Distance Medley competitors Lani Rutto (KEN), Sam Chelanga (KEN), and Ali Abdosh (ETH). Kiprono ran alone for much of the race.
As he passed nine miles in 41:39 and 15K in 43:09, Kiprono began looking over his shoulder. Behind him, he saw the familiar face of Lani Rutto, his training partner, 13 seconds behind him. At mile 12 in the Franklin Park Zoo, Kiprono made a move, opening a gap of 18 seconds.
His large lead, however, was short-lived. With just 800 meters to go, Rutto was only six seconds behind. Despite his late charge, Rutto simply could not make up enough ground on Kiprono. As the leaders approached the finish line within White Stadium to the cheers of the crowd, the race clearly belonged to Allan Kiprono. He crossed the line in 1:01:44, with Rutto following in 1:01:55. Both times were better than the event record of 1:02:20, set in 2007 by Kenya’s Tom Nyariki. With his performance, Kiprono won the B.A.A. Distance Medley and the $100,000 grand prize.
Discussing his strategy after the race, Kiprono said, “I was trying to see how the guys [would] run. I [started pushing the pace] very early.” He admitted that leading the race was no easy task: “When you run [by] yourself, to maintain the pace while some guys follow you is not easy. The guys who follow you – they have a lot of morale.”
In the end, Kiprono clearly had enough morale to win, as he received a welcome boost from the crowd: “[The crowd support] was amazing! I was happy when I heard a lot of cheers for me. I was happy to see everyone was happy with me and my performance.”
Soft spoken and humble, Kiprono was the picture of quite confidence. Before the race, he told Lani Rutto, “I’ll go. Let the guys follow me. I’ll go, and then I’ll break the course record.”
The $100,000 B.A.A. Distance Medley prize will go a long way in Kenya, where Kiprono lives and trains. “Maybe [I will] invest in Kenya and do some business,” Kiprono said. [I will help] my parents and my little brothers, who are still in school. But first I will set a budget!" After a spectacular race and a welcome payday, Kiprono speculated about joining next year’s B.A.A. Distance Medley. “I hope I’ll come,” he said with a smile. “When I [came for the B.A.A.] 5K, I was not prepared well. I have to prepare for next year for the whole series.”
On the women’s side, New Zealand native and Providence, RI resident Kim Smith entered the B.A.A. Half Marathon with a 16-second lead over Ethiopia’s Aheza Kiros on the B.A.A. Distance Medley leader board. After competing in the marathon at the London Olympic Games this summer, Smith had to make sure she balanced recovery and training in the buildup to this morning’s race.
Smith explained, “I had a week off [of training] after the Olympics and then slowly got back into [training]. I had to get back into training quicker than I usually do after a marathon. But luckily my legs felt pretty good, so the training was going pretty well.”
Keeping that in mind, Smith ran conservatively in the early miles. She ran with Kiros and Hellen Jemutai (KEN) through five miles in 28:05. Working together as they did in June’s B.A.A. 10K, Smith and Kiros ran side-by-side until about nine miles into the race. It was at that point that Smith began to pull away.
“I went out really, really conservatively,” Smith said after the race. “[Kiros and I] both were throwing in some surges after about half way. I think at about the nine-mile mark, I threw in one last surge and got away. I got a bit of a gap and then just kept it going.” By mile 10, Smith built herself a 15-second lead over Kiros and never looked back.
Pouring it on at the end, Kim Smith went on to win by nearly two minutes, taking home the B.A.A. Half Marathon win, the B.A.A. Distance Medley crown and a $100,000 prize. Her winning time of 1:10:57 was only five seconds shy of the event record, set in 2010 by Kenya’s Caroline Rotich.
The 2005 graduate of Providence College and a resident of Providence, RI, Smith was a local favorite and was welcomed by cheers from the crowd in Franklin Park. “[Franklin Park] definitely feels like a home course for me,” Smith said with a smile. “This was always my favorite cross country course in college. I think I heard some people on the course saying, ‘Go Friars!’ I always like running in Boston, so coming here was a great end to the series.” The race was a brilliant homecoming for Smith in her first race since the Olympics. Next up for Smith, who was recently married in September, is the ING New York City Marathon on November 4. She said that she’ll honeymoon after that.
Behind Kiprono and Smith were thousands of smiling faces as runners poured into the finish area in Franklin Park’s White Stadium. Among those finishers were over 500 runners supporting adult and pediatric cancer care and research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Their goal is to raise more than $550,000 in today’s race.
This year marks the tenth year of the B.A.A.’s partnership with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund, the presenting sponsor of the B.A.A. Half Marathon since 2003. Dana-Farber runners have raised more than $3 million through their participation in the B.A.A. Half Marathon since 2003.
In the push rim wheelchair division, Tony Nogueira won by over a minute, with a time of 58:14. The women’s champion was Cheri Blauwet, of Massachusetts, who crossed the line in 1:26:48.
The culmination of the B.A.A. Distance Medley brings the B.A.A.‘s 2012 racing schedule to a close. This year marks the B.A.A.’s 125th Anniversary. Established in 1887, the B.A.A. is among the nation’s oldest athletic clubs. The 117th Boston Marathon will be run on Monday, April 15, 2013.
For results, please visit: www.baa.org OR coolrunning.com
To view the B.A.A. Distance Medley Leaderboard, go to:
Established in 1887, and now in its 125th year, the Boston Athletic Association is a non-profit organization with a mission of managing athletic events and promoting a healthy lifestyle through sports, especially running. The B.A.A.‘s Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest annual marathon, and the organization manages other local events and supports comprehensive charity, youth, and year-round running programs. Since 1986, the principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon has been John Hancock Financial. The Boston Marathon is part of the World Marathon Majors along with the Virgin London Marathon, BMW Berlin Marathon, Bank of America Chicago Marathon, and the ING New York City Marathon. Nearly 50,000 runners will participate in B.A.A. events in 2012.