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Boston Marathon Champion Wins B.A.A. Half

2013 Boston Marathon Champion Lelisa Desisa (ETH) Wins 13th B.A.A. Half Marathon, presented by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund

 

Stephen Sambu (KEN) and Kim Smith (NZL) Each Win $100,000 USD Grand Prize in the 2013 B.A.A. Distance Medley

 

By Michael Keebler and Chris Lotsbom

 

BOSTON – 2013 Boston Marathon® champion Lelisa Desisa (ETH) and Kim Smith (NZL) won the 13th
B.A.A. Half Marathon, presented by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the
Jimmy Fund, under sunny skies in
Boston‰Ûªs Franklin Park. Desisa and Smith both broke the event record on
this rolling course through
Boston‰Ûªs picturesque Emerald Necklace park system, running 1:00:34 and
1:09:14, respectively. Stephen Sambu (KEN), who placed third today, and
Smith won the 2013 B.A.A. Distance Medley and earned $100,000 each.

 

The 13th
B.A.A. Half Marathon is the third and final event of the 2013 B.A.A.
Distance Medley, a three-race series which combines the B.A.A. 5K on
April 14, the B.A.A. 10K on June 23, and the B.A.A. Half Marathon.
Sambu, 25-years old, and Smith, 31, won $100,000 each as the male and
female with the fastest cumulative time in the three-race series.

 

Desisa, 25, remembering his victory in the 117th Boston Marathon just six months ago, smiled at the cheers from the crowd at the finish line inside White Stadium. ‰ÛÏI
like the people of Boston, and I am considering myself now one of the people of
Boston,‰Û said the reigning Boston Marathon champion.

 

Desisa
will be remembered in
Boston for more than his victory on April 15, 2013. He also returned
for the B.A.A. 10K on June 23, where he gifted his Boston Marathon
winner‰Ûªs medallion to Mayor Thomas M. Menino in a gesture of solidarity
with the City of Boston and as a tribute to those who were affected by
the events of April 15.

 

Following
the B.A.A. 10K, Sambu held a 26-second lead over Daniel Salel (KEN) on
the B.A.A. Distance Medley Leader Board. 2012 B.A.A. Distance Medley
champion Allan Kiprono (KEN) and 2012 B.A.A. Distance Medley runner-up
Lani Rutto (KEN), were both within one minute of the overall lead.

 

In
the early stages of the race, a pack of more than ten runners
controlled the pace, passing the first mile marker in 4:26, two miles
in 9:06, and reaching 5K in 14:11. Kiprono and Rutto led the pack by a
step in these first few miles, as Rutto took the pace-setting duties
until the sixth mile. Passing the 10K mark in 28:17, Kiprono made a
move to take the lead by a step, but the pack remained largely
unchanged.

 

By
the eight-mile mark, the lead pack was narrowed to Sambu, Salel,
Kiprono, Desisa, and Sam Chelanga (KEN). Following a 4:22 mile split in
the ninth mile, Salel and Sambu took the lead and raced side-by-side.

 

The
four runners clocked consecutive 4:48 splits for the next two miles,
passing the 11-mile mark in 50:52. As they entered the Franklin Park
Zoo, the runners remained together. Desisa said later that he had made
his decision to start pressing and pushing at 10 miles, but it was in
the zoo in the eleventh mile that Desisa made a decisive move, using
the narrow pathways to his advantage. As Sambu noted after the race,
‰ÛÏWhen Lelisa sprinted inside there, we just followed him.‰Û

 

The
crowd inside White Stadium stood and cheered as Desisa broke the tape
in 1:00:34. Salel and Sambu finished second and third, respectively,
and both were recorded with a time of 1:00:41. Also finishing under
Kiprono‰Ûªs old event record of 1:01:44 were Chelanga and Rutto,
finishing in fourth and fifth respectively.

 

After
the race, Sambu, who lives and trains in
Arizona, discussed his plans to use his $100,000 grand prize winnings
in the B.A.A. Distance Medley to buy water purification resources for
his native village in
Eldoret, Kenya, where his family still lives.

 

‰ÛÏI
know back home, we don‰Ûªt have those things; we don‰Ûªt have clean water,‰Û
Sambu said. ‰ÛÏIt‰Ûªs really bad. So that‰Ûªs my plan ‰Û_ I really want to make
a little bit of a change in my village. If I would be able to do that,
it‰Ûªs going to be a really big deal for my village.‰Û

 

As
for Desisa, his victory in today‰Ûªs race brought memories of the
cheering crowds at the Boston Marathon. When asked if he plans to run
the 2014 Boston Marathon, Desisa said, ‰ÛÏI come, I come. I will do more
training to win Boston again.‰Û

 

KIM SMITH DEFENDS BOTH B.A.A. HALF
MARATHON AND B.A.A. DISTANCE MEDLEY CROWNS

 

For
the second consecutive year, New Zealand Olympian Kim Smith asserted
her dominance at the B.A.A. Half
Marathon, claiming victory in a course record time of 1:09:14. The
31-year-old resident of
Providence, R.I., led from start to finish, going on to successfully
defend not only her race title, but also the B.A.A. Distance Medley
crown.

 

With her win, Smith becomes only the second women’s champion in race history to win the B.A.A. Half
Marathon two years in a row.

 

“It’s really cool!” Smith said moments after breaking the finish tape, who had both her parents from
New Zealand and her in-laws from
Maine present to watch her run. “Living in
Providence and coming up here to race was an easy choice… It’s just amazing.”

 

Shortly after leaving the start in
Boston’s Franklin Park, Smith found herself out front with
Ethiopia’s Aheza Kiros and
Kenya’s Alice Kimutai tagging alongside. The three would pass five kilometers in 15:52, then five miles in 25:39.

 

Running
in her first race since June’s B.A.A. 10K, Smith came into today’s
event holding a one minute, eleven second advantage in the B.A.A.
Distance Medley standings. Knowing she would have to push the pace for
her chance at the $100,000 grand prize, Smith kept her foot on the gas
pedal, leading every step of the early miles.

 

“I just tried to set a pretty decent pace and drop them,” Smith said. “The first 10K was pretty fast.”

 

Together
through 10 kilometers in 31:48.7, it appeared Smith and Kiros would
race neck-and-neck through the final half of the contest. But moments
before reaching the seven mile mark, Smith put any thoughts of a duel
to rest. Pumping her arms ferociously, the three-time Olympian eased
away from Kiros. A five second lead soon became ten seconds, then 34
seconds at the nine mile mark.

 

“Once
they dropped off I knew they must be tired, and I felt pretty good at
that stage. I thought  ‘I think I got it,'” Smith said.

 

All
by herself, Smith continued to push over the latter stages of the race,
through Franklin Park Zoo and into White Stadium with no woman in
sight. By then it was clear the previous course record of 1:10:52 would
be beaten. The only question was by how much.

 

The
answer wound up being one minute and 38 seconds, as Smith broke the
tape with 1:09:14 reading on the clock. Though she easily secured the
course record, Smith said it was never on her mind.

 

“I
knew I was running pretty fast going through 10K. I didn’t really worry
about course records. I just wanted to win,” she said. “I was just
running and felt pretty good.”

 

Defending her race title and picking up the B.A.A. Distance Medley victory was a thrill, Smith added.

 

Behind
Smith, Kiros would finish second in 1:10:03, with Kimutai third in
1:10:37. Kristen Fryburg-Zaitz was the top American in fourth, timing
1:13:12.

 

“It’s always great when you can be the first American,” said Fryburg-Zaitz. “I’m thrilled to be at this race and be here for
Boston. With what happened in April, this is just a great opportunity to prove how strong American distance runners are.”

 

In the push rim wheelchair division, Tony Nogueira, of
New Jersey, won his eighth B.A.A. Half
Marathon title, finishing in 55:06. Carla Trodella, of
Massachusetts, won the women‰Ûªs wheelchair division in 2:12:25.

 

Joseph Ekuom, of
New York, won the masters division in 1:13:38.
Scituate,
MA resident Holly Madden won the women‰Ûªs masters division, running 1:28:01.

 

Behind
the day‰Ûªs top finishers, an event record crowd of 6,535 participants
started the race. Also in the field were nearly 650 runners
representing Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, who are raising funds to
improve patient care and cancer research at Dana-Farber. The B.A.A.
Half
Marathon has been presented annually by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
and the Jimmy Fund since 2003. Dana-Farber runners have raised more
than $4 million USD through this event over the past 11 years.

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