Josh Cox Wins Second-Annual B.A.A. 5K
By James O’Brien
BOSTON, April 18 ÛÓ A chilly, overcast Sunday morning is ordinarily a good opportunity to sleep
late before heading for brunch. But in Boston, on marathon weekend, there’s a new tradition,
even when the weather is less than inviting. Twelve months ago, the Boston Athletic Association
initiated the B.A.A. 5K, a race that was enthusiastically received by its more than 3500 inaugural
participants. This year, despite temperatures in the 40s, pesky winds and a threat of rain, close to
5000 entrants lined up on the starting line on Boylston Street, all poised to contest this second
annual event, the first running event of Boston Marathon weekend 2010.
A strong B.A.A. presence ensured that the unicorn would feature prominently in the results; but,
once the gun fired for the 8a.m. start, it was quickly evident that Boston hopes were in for a
powerful challenge. Mark Miller from Keene, NH and Matt Ely from Cambridge, MA were among
the foremost group in the first 200m, but marathon man, Josh Cox, quickly surged to the forefront
and, thereafter, there was no question about the outcome.
As the leaders hammered through the opening mile, with the Public Gardens and Boston
Common on their left, Cox opened daylight with each stride. Making the left turn onto Tremont
Street, the stiff climb to the one mile marker served to interrupt his tempo not in the slightest. His
opening split of 4:38 saw him with a 13 second margin on the small chasing pack, an advantage
that held steady all the way to the line.
The downhill stretch from Beacon Hill and the Massachusetts State House, heading towards
Commonwealth Avenue, saw Cox go from strength to strength. Sustained by the knots of vocal,
though cold, spectators dotted along the course, he cruised through two miles in 9:16 and never
had cause to look back, literally nor figuratively.
Fittingly for Marathon weekend, the long home stretch of the B.A.A. 5K replicates that of the
following day’s Marathon, and Cox may have had cause for a wistful moment as he surged
through three miles in 14:02 and towards the 26.2 finish line, the distinctive marker that also
serves as the finish line for this race. It may not have been a marathon win, but one could hardly
have known that from the raucous support of the hundreds of spectators jammed into the
roadside bleachers. Cox lunged across the line in 14:31, two seconds shy of Jarrod Shoemaker’s
inaugural course record from 2009, but a full 14 seconds up on the B.A.A.’s Brian Harvey, who
prevailed over Mark Miller in the battle for second place, 14:45 to 15:00.
Behind the medalists, in the region of 5000 runners – hailing from 31 countries and 49 states –
streamed across the most celebrated finish line in distance running. Some were fast, some were
less so, and some were names enshrined in Boston lore, among them Joan Benoit-Samuelson,
Greg Meyer, Bill Rodgers and Uta Pippig. Though only two years old – a baby in Boston Marathon
terms – the seeds of a long and storied history are being sowed by all of these runners in the
B.A.A. 5K. For countless among those who took part, last year as well as this, a tradition has