Kenyans Salel, Wancera Win Rain Soaked BAA 10K

By Chris Lotsbom, @ChrisLotsbom

(c) 2015 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
(Used with permission)

(21-Jun) — Despite a heavy rain falling consistently from start to
finish, Kenyans Daniel Salel and Mary Wacera were able to persevere and
prevail out front here at the fifth annual B.A.A. 10-K, claiming
victories in 28:09 and 32:07, respectively. Salel made a decisive move
in the final straightaway to pry victory from two-time defending
champion Stephen Sambu, while Wacera overtook marathon ace Edna
Kiplagat in the final mile to win by eight seconds.


both 2013 and 2014, Salel came to Boston with his eyes set on winning
the B.A.A. 10-K. Both times he’d finish third, with compatriot Stephen
Sambu taking the top spot. This year, however, the 24-year-old from
Eldoret wasn’t going to be denied.

“It was tough because of the
rain,” said a smiling Salel moments after breaking the finish tape and
winning $10,000. “I was happy, and am so happy.”

Through the
early miles, Salel found himself among a large pack of contenders that
included Sambu, 2011 Boston Marathon champion and two-time B.A.A. 10-K
winner Geoffrey Mutai, fellow Kenyans Leonard Korir and Philip Langat,
as well as Germany’s Arne Gabius and Eritrea’s Yonas Mebrahtu. Together
they’d reach the three mile mark and turn-around point at Boston
University, no one wanting to separate quite yet.

With their
feet sloshing through deep puddles on the roadway, the leaders reached
four miles in 18:21 before Mebrahtu and Mutai began to fall off the
pace. Mutai, the event record holder, was dressed in layers hoping to
fend off the incessant rain, but couldn’t maintain the tempo set by
Sambu and Salel at the head of the pack.

Through Kenmore
Square, Salel and Sambu asserted their dominance, completing a 4:27
mile split that left Korir, Langat, and Gabius five steps or more
behind. It would be a two-man duel down Commonwealth Avenue, around the
Boston Public Garden and into the finishing straight adjacent to Boston

Salel’s strategy was to surge with a kilometer to go,
then again as he turned onto Charles Street with under 400 meters
remaining. It worked perfectly, as his final push created a large gap
back to Sambu.

Maintaining his sprint through the finish, Salel
broke the tape first in 28:09, followed by Sambu in 28:21. Korir
rounded out the top three in 28:26, with Langat fourth (28:27) and
Gabius fifth in 28:36.

“I like it, it was good! I have been
trying, this is the third time in Boston. I have been trying, trying,
and fortunately today I won,” said a triumphant Salel. “I am happy. I
like Boston, I like the people of Boston, and I like running here.”

through the streets of Boston in the rain was thrilling, Salel said,
adding that he intends to return here for the B.A.A. Half-Marathon,
presented by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund, on
October 11.

“The conditions were tough because the rain and it
was humid, but we try our best,” he said. “I think if it was not
raining, we would have run a better time like 27:30. But we tried. I
was happy and am happy.” Sambu gave credit to Salel for finding another
gear in the homestretch, one that the University of Arizona alum could
not match.

“We ran together and then he just pulled away from
me in the last turn. I was just so tired. I had to accept number two,”
said Sambu, 26, noting that the slippery, wet conditions made it hard
to sprint.

Boston Marathon winner Mutai wound up seventh in 28:53, waving to his many fans as he crossed the finish.

top American was former University of Oregon standout Parker Stinson,
ninth in 29:24. Finishing first among masters athletes was 45-year-old
Joseph Ekuom of Kingston, N.Y., in 35:41.

today’s race, Mary Wacera knew she was in fast company, with 2011
Boston Marathon and B.A.A. 10-K winner Caroline Kilel, as well as
two-time IAAF World Championships Marathon gold medalist Edna Kiplagat
joining her on the start line. Quickly, the trio went to the front of
the field, joined by Burundi’s Diane Nukuri. Both Kiplagat and Nukuri
had run the ultra-competitive Oakley New York Mini 10-K one week

Similar to the men’s competition, the women’s race
would rapidly develop at the four mile mark, as Kiplagat injected a
quick surge to break up the pack.

“Me and my companion Edna
broke away about the fourth mile and in the fifth mile, from the
[Massachusetts Avenue] bridge, Edna was dropping me,” recalled Wacera.

Kiplagat charged out front past iconic landmark Kenmore Square, Wacera
stayed calm in her wake. Having broken from challengers Kilel and
Nukuri, Wacera maintained her tempo before reeling in her friendly
rival as they hit the fifth mile.

Wacera wasn’t going to let up
when she came even with Kiplagat, though. The 2014 IAAF World
Half-Marathon silver medalist kept her foot on the gas pedal, hitting
the final turn out front.

“I caught up with her around the
fifth mile and I tried to push,” said Wacera. “With 400 meters to go I
just pushed away and knew I was going to win.”

Win she did,
defeating Kiplagat by eight seconds. Crossing the line in 32:07, Wacera
became the first Kenyan woman since Kilel in 2011 to claim the B.A.A.
10-K crown.

“It is very special. Boston is a big city and known
for races like the Marathon. To be here and win means a lot to me,”
said Wacera, wiping rain drops from her brow.

With her victory
here, Wacera takes over the top spot on the B.A.A. Distance Medley
leaderboard, which combines times from April’s B.A.A. 5-K, today’s
B.A.A. 10-K, and October’s B.A.A. Half-Marathon. She’ll return for the
B.A.A. Half-Marathon in less than four months time, hoping to claim
victory once again.

Kiplagat was pleased with her second place showing, and said she gave everything she had to stay close to Wacera.

is a good showing because I haven’t done a lot of training since
London,” she said, referring to her 11th place finish at the Virgin
Money London Marathon in April. “I am happy because I am running good.
Though it’s not my best this year, I’m still happy I’m up there.”

third was Nukuri in 32:23, followed across the line by Kilel in fourth
(32:49) and Japan’s Tomomi Tanaka (32:56). Recent University of Arizona
graduate Elvin Kibet placed sixth in 33:38 in her professional road
race debut, as Kristen Zaitz of Broomfield, Co., was the top American
in seventh place, 34:26 her time.

The B.A.A. placed two women
in the top ten, as Heather Cappello and Jen Rhines finished eighth and
ninth in 34:58 and 35:42, respectively. Rhines was the top masters

In the wheelchair division, Tony Nogueira and Cheri
Blauwet prevailed victorious with winning times of 24:57 and 36:16.
Blauwet is a two-time winner of the Boston Marathon, having won the
push rim wheelchair division in both 2004 and 2005.

Despite the
pelting rain and less-than-ideal racing conditions, a total of 5,954
athletes finished the B.A.A. 10-K, down from 6,619 last year when the
weather was near-perfect.

The third and final race of the
B.A.A. Distance Medley series will be the B.A.A. Half-Marathon,
presented by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund, on
October 11. Registration for the event opens on Wednesday, July 15, at
10:00 a.m. ET at

PHOTO: Mary Wacera and Daniel
Salel of Kenya after winning the 2015 B.A.A. 10-K in 28:09 and 32:07,

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