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Salel, Wacera Repeat at Rain Soaked BAA Half

Daniel Salel and Mary Wacera Defend B.A.A. Half Marathon Titles

 

Despite heavy rain, exciting races highlight 16th annual B.A.A. Half Marathon, presented by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund

 

[BOSTON, MA] – Experience proved to be the difference maker here at the 16th
annual B.A.A. Half Marathon, presented by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
and the Jimmy Fund. Kenyans Daniel Salel and Mary Wacera pushed through
relentless rainfall and blustery winds to claim victory, defending
their titles in 1:03:13 and 1:10:19, respectively. Both Salel and
Wacera came to Boston eyeing a second straight win, and got the job
done with defiant moves.

 

On a significant day for sports in New England,
before Tom Brady returns to guide the New England Patriots and David
Ortiz leads the Boston Red Sox playoff push, the B.A.A. Half Marathon
served to kick off the city’s scheduled sporting festivities.

 

Salel was part of an eight-man pack through the
five kilometer mark, hit in 14:42. With a harsh rain falling and wind
blowing across iconic Jamaica Pond, no one wanted to take a risk and
make a bid for the lead. Salel, Abraham Kipyatich (Kenya), Tsegay
Tuemay (Eritrea), and Eliud Ngetich (Kenya) were among the leaders to
slowly pull away in the subsequent miles, creating a quartet that would
cover the race’s middle miles as one. Japan’s Akihiko Tsumurai did his
best to stay with the group going by the picturesque Arnold Arboretum.

 

Using his knowledge of the rolling course to his
advantage, Salel ran in the midst of the pack conserving energy through
the later miles. Aware of the looming hills and quick straightaway
through Franklin Park Zoo, Salel moved up and knew the race would come
down to the final two miles.

 

“I planned that maybe after the last mile
[marker] I would try to surge and destroy the guys so I picked it up
around the corner and pushed around there. I tried to go!” Salel
explained. “I was comfortable because I knew exactly where I had to go
and move. In the last mile I tried to move and go, I planned that. I
knew I could destroy the guys there!”

 

Motivated to take home the $10,000 top prize and
extend his B.A.A. Half Marathon winning streak, Salel entered the Zoo
with three runners by his side. Exiting the Zoo roughly a half mile
later only one runner ‰ÛÓKipyatich‰ÛÓwas able to match Salel’s pace. 

 

Salel surged again in the final kilometer and
created an insurmountable lead. He’d enter White Stadium in full sprint
before breaking the tape in 1:03:13, a bright smile across his face.
Kipyatich claimed second in 1:03:22, followed by Tuemay in 1:03:29.
Ngetich (1:03:31) and Tsumurai (1:03:39) rounded out the top five.

 

“I am very happy, very happy!” Salel proclaimed
after becoming the second man in race history to win two straight
titles. “The weather was a lot of rain and it made it a bit tougher. We
try to stick to our plan and run a good time, but I am very happy
because I won and defend my championship.”

 

Salel said the win was extra meaningful because
of the support he received from fellow runners and spectators on the
course. After the turn-around point near five miles, Salel got a boost
of adrenaline with runners going the opposite way waving and shouting
his name.

 

“Maybe in the future when I run the marathon I
will just run in Boston because I really like Boston. It’s like my
second home. I am happy here. Maybe in the future I will look for an
apartment here! I am so happy here,” Salel said. “The people of Boston
are very nice and support me.”

 

B.A.A. 10K winner Daniel Chebii finished eighth
in 1:05:26. The top American was Patrick Geoghegan of Portland, Ore.,
placing tenth in 1:07:39.

 

In the women’s race, Mary Wacera took off from
contenders Diane Nukuri (Burundi) and Valentine Kibet (Kenya) after the
five mile mark and never looked back. Determined to retain her title,
Wacera kept her foot on the gas pedal and began chasing the men racing
ahead of her.

 

Wacera happened to run stride for stride with
Team B.A.A.’s Chris Allen, passing Olmsted Park and Jamaica Pond on
their way through 10-K in 32:45.

 

“I didn’t want to run alone so I saw this guy
and wanted to run with him so he could help me,” Wacera said with a
smile. “He really helped me and I thank him for that.”

 

Though Nukuri and Kibet did their best to chip
away at the gap Wacera had created, the pace was simply too quick to
match. Despite the inclement conditions, Wacera held a pace that was
slightly faster than her 2015 winning tempo; a year ago she won in
1:10:21 under perfect conditions. Comfortable with running out front,
Wacera said she was confident controlling the race from the pole
position.

 

Making her way into White Stadium, Wacera took a
moment to celebrate with the rain-soaked crowd, waving after breaking
the tape in 1:10:19. Nukuri would finish less than a minute behind in
1:10:52.

 

“The rain, the weather, I am happy to win today.
To run a better time than last year is really good and amazing. The
weather was very tough, it was raining the whole way on the course and
I was running alone so it kind of hurt, but I am very happy!” said
Wacera. “It’s very special for me to come and defend my title.”

 

Like Salel, Wacera gave credit to those along
the course for the endless encouragement. On a day when rain increased
in intensity as the race went on, the cheers of runners and spectators
kept the Kenyan native going.

 

“I knew I could win. Coming here I had done my
training well, I was in good form and I believed in myself. I knew I
could do it because I knew the course,” she said. “I have been coming
and winning here, coming and winning, and I will come and win‰Û¢ I wish
to do the marathon someday. I don’t know when but I will someday!

 

“I have a lot of good friends out there cheering me in defending my title. It was so nice.”

 

Third place went to Kenya’s Valentine Kibet in
1:14:42, with Team B.A.A. member Heather Cappello finishing fourth as
the top America in 1:15:53. 

 

In total, 6,363 participants started the 2016
B.A.A. Half Marathon. In the field were nearly 500 runners representing
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, raising funds to improve patient care and
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.
Over the past 13 years, Dana-Farber runners have raised more than $5
million USD through the B.A.A. Half Marathon.

 

 

ABOUT THE BOSTON ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION (B.A.A.)

Established in
1887, the Boston Athletic Association is a non-profit organization with
a mission of 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,
including high performance athletes and running club. Since 1986, the
principal sponsor of the Boston Marathon has been
John Hancock Financial
. The Boston Marathon is part of the
Abbott World Marathon Majors
,
along with international marathons in Tokyo, London, Berlin, Chicago,
and New York City. More than 60,000 runners will participate in B.A.A.
events in 2016. The 121st Boston Marathon will be held on Monday, April
17, 2017. For more information on the B.A.A., please visit
www.baa.org
.

 

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