The 2014 BAA 5km on Saturday (19) was one for the ages, as thousands of runners took to the streets of Boston two days prior to the Boston Marathon.
Under crystal clear skies through Boston’s picturesque Back Bay neighbourhood, Ethiopia’s Dejen Gebremeskel set a men’s event record of 13:26, while Molly Huddle came from behind to win the women's race in 15:12.
Moments after the starting horn sounded, Olympic 5000m silver medallist Gebremeskel bolted into the lead, taking control of the early pace. As reigning champion, Gebremeskel was determined to claim yet another BAA 5km crown.
Covering the first mile in 4:23, Gebremeskel was joined by USA’s Ben True and Kenyan trio Daniel Salel, Stephen Sambu and Lani Rutto. The pack would remain together through the second mile (8:49), crossing the Boston Marathon finish line on Boylston Street as one.
Gebremeskel waited until the final straight to move up another gear on Charles Street, one that was only matched by two-time BAA 5km champion True.
In a photo finish, Gebremeskel was given the verdict ahead of True as both finished in an event record time of 13:26.
Sambu, the 2013 BAA 10km champion, rounded out the top three in 13:27.
In the women’s race, US 5000m record-holder Molly Huddle powered her way through the second half, going on to win in 15:12. Her time ties the previous event record, set in 2012 by Ethiopia’s Werknesh Kidane.
While 2013 BAA 10km champion Mamitu Daska took the pace out hard early on, hitting the first mile in 4:50, Huddle sat back and waited patiently. In sixth place when crossing the Boston Marathon finish line with less than a mile to go, Huddle began to slowly gain on the field. Soon thereafter, the world and Olympic finalist drew extra motivation from the tragic events of April 15, 2013.
“I felt like everyone was cheering for us,” said Huddle. “With a half mile to go I thought it would be great for an American to win this race and so I think it gave me a little extra boost.”
Using this inspiration, Huddle moved into third, then second, and found herself in front with the finish in sight. Breaking the tape in 15:12, Huddle was overjoyed.
“Once the crowds were cheering and I was building momentum, I was able to pass the girls,” said Huddle. “People were really rooting for the Americans out there.”
Daska placed second in 15:14, while fellow Ethiopian Sentayehu Ejigu took third in 15:16.
The BAA 5km is the first race of the BAA Distance Medley, a three-race series that includes the BAA 5km, BAA 10km, and BAA Half Marathon.
The BAA Mile races were won by 2008 Olympic silver medallist Nick Willis and Olympic finalist Morgan Uceny in respective times of 4:12 and 4:44.
Chris Lotsbom (organisers) for the IAAF
1 Dejen Gebremeskel (ETH) 13:26
2 Ben True (USA) 13:26
3 Stephen Sambu (KEN) 13:27
4 Lani Rutto (KEN) 13:30
5 Daniel Salel (KEN) 13:31
6 Tyler Pennel (USA) 13:42
7 Leonard Korir (KEN) 13:44
8 Nick McCormick (GBR) 13:45
9 Haron Lagat (KEN) 13:46
10 Bobby Curtis (USA) 13:47
1 Molly Huddle (USA) 15:12
2 Mamitu Daska (ETH) 15:14
3 Sentayehu Ejigu (ETH) 15:16
4 Betsy Saina (KEN) 15:16
5 Gotytom Gebreslase (ETH) 15:17
6 Linet Masai (KEN) 15:21
7 Lineth Chepkurui (KEN) 15:35
8 Amy Van Alstine (USA) 15:38
9 Emelia Gorecka (GBR) 15:40
10 Amy Hastings (USA) 15:45