Two US road-running records were broken on Saturday (18), as Molly Huddle and Ben True won the women’s and men’s elite races at the BAA 5k, kicking off the Boston Marathon weekend.
Huddle shattered the US record of 14:54 set by Deena Kastor in 2002, crossing the finish line in 14:50. True won the men’s race in 13:22, bettering the US record of 13:24 set by Marc Davis in 1996.
Both marks will be subject to ratification by USATF. The previous records were both achieved at the Carlsbad 5000.
The women’s race went out quickly, but Huddle bided her time. Ethiopia’s Mamitu Daska, winner of the 10km and half marathon in Boston last year, led at the first mile, which was passed in 4:38 but Huddle was a couple of seconds behind.
The pace then slowed slightly as Daska was reeled in. Daska, Huddle and 2008 world indoor 1500m champion Gelete Burka passed through the second mile in about 9:37.
With about 200 metres remaining, Huddle began to make her move and kicked ahead of Daska and 2010 world indoor 3000m bronze medallist Sentayehu Ejigu. The 30-year-old proved to have the best finish and she crossed the line in 14:50, just four second shy of Meseret Defar’s world best.
It was Huddle’s second big win of 2015, following her victory at the New York City Half Marathon last month in a personal best of 1:08:31. She now owns the US records for 5000m (14:42.64) and 5km.
“It (the record) was in the very back of my mind,” Huddle told reporters after the race after successfully defending her BAA 5k title. “I knew the course was very fast last year and when they made course improvements again this year, I thought you could run a record.
“At two miles, I did the math and realised even though I was in about fifth or sixth place, I was on American record pace so that kind of got me more momentum for the last mile.”
In a close finish, Ejigu finished just one second behind Huddle with Daska taking third place in 14:52. With Burka finishing fourth in 14:57, it was the first time in history that four women had run faster than 15 minutes in a road 5km.
The men’s race was similarly quick from the outset with the lead pack covering the first two miles in 8:34. True, who finished second last year, was in contention along with the Kenyan duo of Daniel Salel and Philip Langat.
True and Sambu began to pull away from the rest of the field in the final mile. Sambu tried to push the pace, but True drew level with him with 150 metres remaining before gaining a slight edge in the closing stages to win in 13:22.
As was the case in the women’s race, the runner-up was just one second in arrears. Salel held on for third place in 13:27.
Last year’s BAA 5k winner Dejen Gebremesekl contested the mile this year and notched up another victory. The Ethiopian won in 4:05 from Britain’s European bronze medallist Chris O’Hare, who clocked 4:07.
There was another Ethiopian victory in the women’s mile, where world junior 1500m champion Dawit Seyaum set a race record of 4:36, beating USA’s Heather Kampf by little more than a second.
The BAA 5k and mile kicks off a weekend of road running in Boston which concludes with the 119th running of the Boston Marathon on Monday (20).
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF
1 Dejen Gebremeskel (ETH) 4:05
2 Chris O’Hare (GBR) 4:07
3 Frezer Legesse (USA) 4:09
4 Duncan Phillips (USA) 4:10
5 Chris Gowell (GBR) 4:11
1 Ben True (USA) 13:22
2 Stephen Sambu (KEN) 13:23
3 Daniel Salel (KEN) 13:27
4 Philip Langat (KEN) 13:32
5 Girma Mecheso (ETH) 13:42
6 Kevin Chelimo (KEN) 14:08
7 Brett Gotcher (USA) 14:20
8 James Leakos (CAN) 14:25
1 Dawit Seyaum (ETH) 4:36
2 Heather Kampf (USA) 4:37
3 Morgan Uceny (USA) 4:38
4 Rachel Schneider (USA) 4:41
5 Gabe Grunewald (USA) 4:44
1 Molly Huddle (USA) 14:50
2 Sentayehu Ejigu (ETH) 14:51
3 Mamitu Daska (ETH) 14:52
4 Gelete Burka (ETH) 14:57
5 Buze Diriba (ETH) 15:00
6 Mary Wacera (KEN) 15:07
7 Cynthia Limo (KEN) 15:12
8 Monica Wanjuhi (KEN) 15:47