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Record Field on Sparkling Day at BAA Half Marathon

Abdosh, Cherobon-Bawcom Reign Supreme in 11th
Annual B.A.A. Half Marathon Presented by
Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund

 

Record Field Size Runs along
Boston’s Emerald Necklace Park System

 

Boston, Mass ‰ÛÓ Clear skies and a starting
time temperature of 67 degrees greeted an event record 5,253 runners at the 11th
Annual Boston Half Marathon, presented by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the
Jimmy Fund. For the second consecutive year, the race started in Franklin Park,
and took runners out and back along the Emerald Necklace Park System through
Brookline and Boston. Ethiopian Ali Abdosh (1:03:36) and
Janet Cherobon-Bawcom from Rome, Georgia (1:11:58) took the titles,
though their respective races unfolded under opposing circumstances.

 
In the men’s race, Abdosh was one of five key runners who at any
time seemed to capable to jump to the front and take the title. Among them were
returning champion John Korir (KEN), Sam Chelanga (KEN), Gilbert Okari (KEN) and
Samuel Ndereba (KEN). While the quintet jostled through the leafy roadways of the Emerald Necklace, it was Abdosh who
outlasted them all, prevailing over newcomer Chelanga in the remaining half
mile.
 
Once the gun went off, the field was immediately dominated
by a pack of 10, including Abdosh, Chelanga, Okari, Ndereba, Korir, and surprise
front runner, Daniel Berry from local Sheffield Harriers. A comfortable 4:42
opening mile split kept the leaders in tight quarters, with perhaps Okari the
only one wanting to stick his neck out in front the core group.
 
At
mile two (9:38), while the media scrambled to find out who he was, Berry remained ahead of
some of the best runners on the road racing circuit. Berry not only decided to
push the pace through two miles, but he kept his intentions all the way up to
three miles (14:34). It was there, however,  that reality set in, and the Kenyan crew
and Abdosh soon engulfed Berry, essentially ending his 15 minutes of
fame.
 
Once the African contingency regained control, it was a pack
mentality that would dictate the latter stages of the race. Miles marks of 19:19
(four miles), 24:13 (five miles), and 28:55 (six miles) followed, with no
particular runner wanting to take the risk of pushing too soon under the warming
conditions. But by the 10k point of 29:56, Abdosh was ready to turn up the heat;
forcing a single file line of runners behind him.
 
Overall times of
33:50 (seven miles) and 38:51 (eight miles) greeted the pack of lead runners,
now down to only Abdosh, Korir, and
Ndereba. But the eighth mile found them not only hitting the hill near the
Arnold Arboretum, but also bunching back up, with Chelanga and Okari finding
themselves back in the hunt for the title. The time at eight miles (43:42)
showed the change in road conditions with a sluggish 5:01 mile
split.
 
The group hit ten miles in 48:39 and 11 miles at 53:22. It
was then that Abdosh decided to make his second and most decisive move in the
race by gaining five meters on Chelanga and Okari. John Korir, one of the most
successful road racers over the past decade, fell of the back end of the pack at
this point; leaving only Ndereba with any possible chance to upset Abdosh’s
plans for victory.
 
The runners entered the Franklin Park Zoo,
passing miles 12 and 13 with no change in order. Chelanga kept his chances of
winning with the approach of White Stadium and the finish line area. It was only
after entering the stadium grounds did Abdosh finally establish himself as the
clear victor in 1:03:36, winning over Chelanga (1:03:41) by five seconds. Third
place went to Gilbert Okari (1:03:48), fourth to Samuel Ndereba (1:04:01), and
John Korir (1:04:37) rounding out the top five. Top American honors went to
B.A.A. club member Timothy Richie (1:05:29), which gave him a seventh place
overall.
 
“I still thought I could win once we got near the
stadium”, said Chelanga. “But once we hit the track, it was second place for
me”. Chelanga, who was 4th place at the B.A.A. 10K last June, was very happy
with his race, despite the runner-up placing. “This is a longer race than I
usually run, and I just wanted to see how it would feel. But I really like
running here in Boston, so I’m happy with my
race”.
 
The women’s race once again saw two strong runners dual it
out from start. Janet Cherobon-Bawcom (USA) and Caroline Rotich (KEN) returned to renew
their epic battle from 2010. Both of them lead through miles one and two, with
only Jane Kibii (KEN) keeping pace. The trio hit mile three in 15:24, and by
this time it looked as though Kibii was ready to relinquish her chances of
winning, allowing Cherobon-Bawcom and Rotich to open up a 100 meter lead by mile
four (20:40).
 
From that point forward it would be a mirror image of
last years race with both women running side by side seemingly gauging each
other’s fitness. Miles 5 (26:06) and 6 (31:30) saw no change in order of first
through third. However, the race would soon take a dramatic turn as the women
entered the Arnold Arboretum and the 8 mile split.
 
“I don’t really
remember what happened for the first half of the race”, commented
Cherobon-Bawcom. “But we got to the seven or seven point five mile mark, and
next thing I knew I looked back and Caroline was falling off”.

 
Mile eight (42:33) saw Cherobon-Bawcom open up her lead to almost
30 meters. She then increased that to almost 40 seconds by mile nine (48:04). “I
don’t really like looking back, so if she was going to come again, there was
really nothing I was planning on doing”, said Cherobon-Bawcom.

 
With every passing mile, Cherobon-Bawcom furthered her lead,
closing in on victory, and getting closer to taking home the $5,000 first place
prize. Cruising into White Stadium with a bright smile on her face,
Cherobon-Bawcom waved to the crowd and avenged her second place finish from last
year. Caroline Rotich (1:13:33) finished a minute and 35 seconds behind to take
second.  
 

Behind
Cherobon-Bawcom and Rotich at the finish line was Heather Cappello of the B.A.A.
Running Club, who finished third with a time of 1:13:44. A native of Arlington, MA, Cappello closed to within 11 seconds of
Cherobon-Bawcom in the last few miles to claim her spot on the podium. Jane
Kibii of Kenya finished
fourth with a time of 1:16:18, and Diana Bowser of Needham, MA and also of the B.A.A. Running Club
placed fifth with a time of 1:17:37.

 

In the Men’s
Wheelchair Division, Tony Nogueira of Glen Ridge, New Jersey won his sixth title
in the B.A.A. Half with a time of 56:26. After a one-year hiatus from the race,
the 43-year-old extended his lead as the winningest competitor in race history.
Defending champion Gary Brendel of Sterling Massachusetts finished second with a time of
59:44. The 52 ‰ÛÓyear-old finished more than three minutes behind Nogueira. Jason
Fowler of Belmont,
Massachusetts finished third in
1:06:31.

 (Photo of former NE Patriot linebacker Teddy Bruschi & wife Heidi by Victah/photorun.net)

In the Women’s
Wheelchair Division, Carla Trodella of Newburyport, Massachusetts took the win with a time of 2:41:49.

 

In the crowd were thousands of smiling
faces, including nearly 500 runners from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Running the Race Against Cancer Team. Representing 17 different states, the
Dana-Farber runners in the B.A.A. Half Marathon
raised more than $300,000 to help fund scientists and clinicians at the
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

 

Also in the
crowd was former New England Patriot
Tedy Bruschi and his wife Heidi. Finishing together with an official time
of  2:10:04 for Heidi and 2:10:05
for Tedy, it was the furthest distance the former linebacker has ever covered.

 

Next up for
the B.A.A. are the Mayor’s Cup Cross Country Races in Franklin Park on Sunday,
October 23, and the Bill Rodgers Jingle Bell Run on Sunday December 11, at the
Hyatt Regency in downtown Boston.

 

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