Quest for $100,000 Begins at BAA 5k

By Tom Davis,
April 13, 2012

Sunday will mark the fourth annual BAA 5k and it should be the most competitive one yet.  The BAA 5k is the first leg of this year's inaugural BAA Distance Medley, which also includes the BAA 10k on June 24th and the BAA Half Marathon in October.  In order to draw top competition to the race series, there is a $100,000 incentive for the male and female winners of the series (the runner with the fastest cumulative time from the three races).  The 2011 women's 5k was dominated by Lineth Chepkurui in 15:51 (course record), and the men's 5k by Ben True (course record.)

The women's race is highlighted by Desiree Davila, Kim Smith, and Werknesh Kidane.  Kidane, the 2003 World XC Champ, comes into the race off a second place at the Carlsbad 5000m, with a personal best of 14:33, which is the fastest time in the field, 12 seconds ahead of Smith's best of 14:45.  Davila and Smith were present at this afternoon's press conference and they offered comments about the race.  Davila, who owns a 5k best of 15:08 and who raced to the fastest American time in the history of the Boston Marathon (2:22:38) with her second place finish at last year's race, is bringing the distance way down this year for the 5k.  Davila would have loved to have been running in the marathon again this year, but she is looking forward to the 5k on Sunday.  She is doing a short training cycle to get some more speed into her legs in the hopes of it helping her Olympic Marathon effort.  This weekend's 5k will be her first race of the training cycle after finishing second at the trials, "I'll use this as a stepping stone to hopefully run fast this spring and ultimately for the marathon," said Davila.  When asked, she could not remember the last time that she raced a 5k on the roads, and she said the BAA 5k is the "perfect place to do a rust-buster and then go for a really fast time on the track."  Davila's goal for Sunday is to be in the mix, saying that a top-3 finish would be great.  

Kim Smith, who is committed to the distance medley race series (along with Kidane and Janet Bawcom, 5th placer at the US Olympic Marathon Trials), is ready for a tough race on Sunday, but she feels like she is ready for the challenge.  "A lot of us are really similar," said Smith.  "So it will be interesting to see who wins."  The Providence, RI resident says that she enjoys racing in Boston because of the great crowd support and because it is right down the road from home. Smith plans on the BAA 10k to be her last race heading into this summer's Olympic Games. 

The men's field is equally strong and is led by Ali Abdosh of Ethiopia, who holds the top time in the field with a best of 12:56.  Sam Chelanga, the 14 time All-American, was the only male 5k competitor at the press conference.  Chelanga, who enters the race with a 13:19 personal best, is also committed to the Distance Medley.  Ben True, the 2011 champion, is also scheduled to start.  True won the race last year in a sprint to the line to beat out Bobby Curtis in a course-record time of 14:06.  Chelanga is more focused on the distance medley series of races rather than the 5k alone, saying "my strategy is to keep it consistent in the 5k and 10k and go for it in the half."  Chelanga was hoping to compete for the United States at the Olympic Trials, but he said "the citizenship process takes so long that it is kind of up in the air." (For more on Chelanga on Friday click here)

The BAA 5k starts and finishes in Copley Square on Sunday at 8:00 am.  The race features a $24,900 prize purse, with $4,000 going to the winners. 

LRC Note: Hard to believe that at least one sub 1 hour half-marathoner didn't run this race with the hope of setting themselves up for the $100,000 prize. Abdosh is a 12:56 guy but he's only run 1:03:36 for the half-marathon. The US Olympic Trials 10,000m is June 22nd, two days before the 10k in Boston, so most of the Americans are likely out. From the looks of it now Chelanga or Abdosh will win $100,000 and the other $0 for second. Wonder if they can work out an agreement to split it like in poker.

Men's 5K Elite Field (as of 4.8.12)

Name (Citizenship)                            Age                  5K or 5000m Personal Best (and half marathon best in ())
* ALI ABDOSH (ETH)                            24                     12:56 (1:03:36)
ADRIAN BLINCOE (NZL)                     32                     13:10 (---)
* SAM CHELANGA (KEN)                    27                     13:19 (1:01:19)
BEN TRUE (USA)                                  26                     13:24 (---)
AARON BRAUN (USA)                          24                     13:27 (---)
SHAWN FORREST (AUS)                    28                     13:28 (1:01:25)
ANDREW CARLSON (USA)                29                     13:32 (1:02:21)
BOBBY CURTIS (USA)                         27                     13:18.97 (1:01:53)
SCOTT SMITH (USA)                            25                     13:56 (1:03:18)
BRETT GOTCHER (USA)                    27                     13:58 (1:02:09)
BEN ST. LAWRENCE (AUS)               30                     14:05 (1:02:51)

Women's 5K Elite Field (as of 4.5.12)

Name (Citizenship)                                Age            5K or 5000m Personal Best
* WORKNESH KIDANE (ETH)                31            14:33 (1:07:28)
* KIM SMITH (NZL)                                    30            14:45 (1:07:11)
BENITA WILLIS (AUS)                            32               14:47 (1:07:55)
* AHEZA KIROS (ETH)                           26               14:56 (1:09:10)
DESIREE DAVILA (USA)                       28                15:09
JULLIAH TINEGA (KEN)                       26                15:25
KELLYN JOHNSON (USA)                    25               15:45
TERESA McWALTERS (USA)               27                15:49
SARAH PORTER (USA)                        22                16:00
STEPHANIE ROTHSTEIN (USA)          28               16:10
JANET BAWCOM (USA)                         33                16:16

*Indicates committed to three-race B.A.A. Distance Medley (B.A.A. 5K, B.A.A. 10K, B.A.A. Half Marathon).

Men's Mile Invitational Field (as of 4.5.12)

Name (Citizenship)                            Age                  Mile Personal Best
COLLIS BIRMINGHAM (AUS)            27                     3:54.30
KYLE MILLER (USA)                           26                     3:55.38
TIM RITCHIE (USA)                             24                     3:58.49
BEN BRUCE (USA)                             29                     4:00.40
AIDAN WALSH (IRL)                            31                     4:04.25

Women's Mile Invitational Field (as of 4.5.12)

Name (Citizenship)                            Age                  Mile Personal Best
MORGAN UCENY (USA)                   27                     4:31.70
MARINA MUNCAN (SRB)                  29                     4:31.84
GABRIELLE ANDERSON (USA)      25                     4:33.57
KATIE FOLLET MACKEY (USA)        24                     4:34.98 Scratch
TRENIERE MOSER (USA)                30                     4:35.07


Sam Chelanga

Desiree Davila

(top row) Ben Groleau, Sam Chelanga, Morgan Uceny, (bottom) Kim Smith, Desi Davila

Kim Smith

Morgan Uceny

Ben Groleau (High School)



More Boston:
8 Days to Glory Series: LRC 
Geoffrey Mutai Returns to Boston, Can He Recreate the Magic of 2011?
*LRC 8 Days For Glory - A Kenyan Flavored Preview Of The Upcoming Men's Marathon World Record Assault

LRC: Friday's Press Conference Highlights: Mutai Set to Defend, Wesley Korir Ready to Challenge, Americans Arciniaga and Hartmann Ready
Women: Defending Champ Caroline Kilel And NYC Champ Dado Try and Recreate Drama of Last 4 Years
*Full Boston Pro Fields

Boston on the Boards: Brutal Weather for Boston
*Boston Questions Thread--course, racing, pre-race planning


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