Home >> National News >> Defending Champions Set for Sunday’s B.A.A. Half – Olympians ‘Ritz’, ‘Abdi’ Lead Americans – Full Elite Lineup

Defending Champions Set for Sunday’s B.A.A. Half – Olympians ‘Ritz’, ‘Abdi’ Lead Americans – Full Elite Lineup

Reigning Champion, USA Olympians Return to Boston for this Sunday’s B.A.A. Half Marathon

Defending champion Daniel Salel and B.A.A. 10K winner Joan Chelimo lead strong international field for 17th annual B.A.A. Half Marathon. Olympians Dathan Ritzenhein and Abdi Abdirahman front American charge.

BOSTON – The Boston Athletic Association today announced the elite field for the 17th annual B.A.A. Half Marathon, presented by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund. Headlining the men’s field is two-time reigning B.A.A. Half Marathon champion Daniel Salel, joined by a pair of USA Olympians in Dathan Ritzenhein and Abdi Abdirahman. In a rematch of June’s B.A.A. 10K, women’s winner Joan Chelimo will be challenged by B.A.A. 5K champion Buze Diriba on the roads of Boston. The B.A.A. Half Marathon will be run this Sunday, October 8 at 8:00 a.m., beginning and finishing in Boston’s Franklin Park.

A native of Kenya, Salel won last year’s B.A.A. Half Marathon in 1:03:13, persevering through torrential downpours and tough conditions. Salel also won the 2015 edition in 1:00:56, and has a personal best of 1:00:41 from the 2013 B.A.A. Half Marathon. A veteran on the roads of Boston, he’s never finished outside the top two at the B.A.A. Half Marathon.

Joining Salel at the head of the field will be Dathan Ritzenhein and Abdi Abdirahman, two of America’s most decorated distance runners. Ritzenhein, an IAAF World Half Marathon Championships bronze medalist from 2009, has a personal best of 1:00:00 and won the USA 25K Championships this year. In June, he placed fourth at the B.A.A. 10K. Abdirahman won the Masters Division title at April’s Boston Marathon, finishing sixth overall.

Another familiar face at the starting line will be Suguru Osako of Japan. Making his marathon debut in Boston this year, Osako placed third in 2:10:28. He boasts a half marathon best of 1:01:13, and trains in Oregon. American Tyler Pennel is also in the field, as are Kenya’s Jameson Kabuku and Ethiopia’s Markos Geneti.

Fresh off a 1:06:25 runner-up finish at the Copenhagen Half Marathon on September 17, Kenya’s Joan Chelimo will bring a dose of speed to the B.A.A. Half Marathon. She could very well challenge the course record of 1:08:20 if conditions are right. In June, Chelimo ran 31:24 to win the B.A.A. 10K by eleven seconds.

Buze Diriba, the 2017 B.A.A. 5K winner and world leader at 5K this year, has had a season to remember on the American road racing scene, including five wins at races from 5K through 10 miles. She was third at the B.A.A. 10K in June.

Both Chelimo and Diriba have extra incentive to place well at the B.A.A. Half Marathon: if either wins, they will take home a $20,000 bonus for winning two B.A.A. events this year. If Diriba places in the top three, then she’ll earn $5,000 for finishing in the top three in all three of the B.A.A. Distance Medley events.

Diane Nukuri, a three-time Olympian for Burundi who lives and trains in Arizona, also returns after placing second last year. Making her B.A.A. Half Marathon debut will be Biruktayit Eshetu of Ethiopia, who has won her last five half marathons dating back to November of 2016. Her best stands at 1:10:12.

The B.A.A. Running Club will be well represented on course, led by Katie Matthews, Katie Kellner, Eric Ashe, and Guillaume Adam. Matthews placed fourth at the USA 25K Championships in May, while Ashe was fourth place –and the top American—at the 2015 B.A.A. Half Marathon.

Since first being run in 2001, the B.A.A. Half Marathon has seen winners from eight different countries. The winner of the B.A.A. Half Marathon will earn $10,000, plus an additional $10,000 if the winner’s time is under the event records of 1:00:34 for men and 1:08:20 for women. In 2016, a total of 6,198 athletes participated in the B.A.A. Half Marathon, presented by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund. This year’s field has 9,000 participants.

 

MEN’S ELITE FIELD (as of October 2, 2017)

 

NAME

CITIZENSHIP (STATE)

PERSONAL BEST

Daniel Salel

KEN

1:00:41

Dathan Ritzenhein

USA (MI)

1:00:00

Abdi Abdirahman

USA (AZ)

1:00:29

Jameson Kabuku

KEN

1:01:49

Suguru Osako

JPN (OR)

1:01:13

Tyler Pennel

USA (NC)

1:01:44

Ken Yokote

JPN

1:01:37

Shogo Nakamura

JPN

1:01:53

Markos Geneti

ETH

1:02:01

Tesfalem Gebrearegawi

ETH

1:02:11

Yudai Okamoto

JPN

1:02:48

John Crain

USA (NC)

1:03:21

Eric Ashe

USA (MA)

1:03:33

Henry Lelei

KEN (TX)

1:05:47

Guillaume Adam

FRA (MA)

1:05:47

 

WOMEN’S ELITE FIELD (as of October 2, 2017)

 

NAME

CITIZENSHIP (STATE)

PERSONAL BEST

Joan Chelimo

KEN

1:06:25

Buze Diriba

ETH

1:11:49

Diane Nukuri

BDI (AZ)

1:09:12

Biruktayit Eshetu

ETH

1:10:12

Elvin Kibet

KEN (CO)

1:11:37

Lindsey Scherf

USA (NY)

1:11:45

Katie Matthews

USA (MA)

1:11:57

Katie Kellner

USA (MA)

1:14:41

Kelsey Bruce

USA (TX)

1:14:15

Nicole Dimercurio

USA (NC)

1:14:37

Whitney Thornburg

USA (MA)

1:16:29

OPEN DIVISION PRIZE STRUCTURE (Men and Women)

 

PLACE

AMOUNT (USD)

1

$10,000

2

$6,000

3

$4,000

4

$2,500

5

$1,200

6

$1,000

7

$600

8

$500

9

$300

10

$200

 

BONUSES

 

BONUS INCENTIVES FOR TOP OVERALL FINISHES IN 2017 B.A.A. EVENTS*

Win three of the four events

$50,000

Win two of the four events

$20,000

Place among the top two in three of the four events

$10,000

Place among the top three in three of the four events

$5,000

 

* Includes the Boston Marathon.

EVENT RECORD BONUSES

 

B.A.A. 5K

B.A.A. 10K

B.A.A. HALF MARATHON

BOSTON MARATHON

$5,000

$7,500

$10,000

$25,000

 

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. 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 2017. The 122nd Boston Marathon will be held on Monday, April 16, 2018. For more information on the B.A.A., please visit www.baa.org.

 

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