Stephen Sambu Takes Down Geoffrey Mutai At BAA 10k And Sets 8k America’s Best En Route, Mamitu Daska Wins
By Chris Lotsbom, @ChrisLotsbom
(c) 2014 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
June 22, 2014
BOSTON, MA — Under bright sunny skies and with conditions perfect for racing, Kenya’s Stephen Sambu and Ethiopia’s Mamitu Daska raced their way to world leading times at the fourth annual B.A.A. 10-K here. Sambu, 25, and set an American All-Comers Road Record (pending) for 8 kilometers en route, , while Daska’s time of 31:04 is an event record and world leader as well.
SAMBU VS. MUTAI:
After an opening mile of 4:30, Sambu was joined by Geoffrey Mutai –the 2011 Boston Marathon victor, two-time TCS New York City Marathon champion, and fastest marathoner of all time– out front. It was the second year in a row that Sambu found himself with a marathon champion, as in 2013 he dueled with 2012 Boston Marathon winner Lelisa Desisa.
Brimming with confidence derived from a win at the UAE Healthy Kidney 10-K (27:39) and a 26:54.61 10,000m personal best at the Prefontaine Classic, Sambu pushed through 5-K in 13:57 with Mutai and fellow Kenyan Daniel Salel alongside.
After Salel began to drop, Sambu and Mutai continued to duel through the fourth mile, reaching the official 8 kilometer timing mat at nearly the exact time: 22:01.03 and 22:01.10, respectively. With his time split, Sambu broke the Association of Road Racing Statisticians (ARRS) 8-kilometer world record of 22:03 (22:02.2), set by Peter Githuka in 1996 at the Crazy 8’s 8-K in Kingsport, Tennessee (the IAAF does not ratify records at this distance, but USA Track & Field does).
But Sambu wasn’t about to settle after achieving the record. In fact, he wasn’t aware he’d broken the record until after the race’s conclusion.
“Our plan from the beginning was to make the pace high,” he said. “I didn’t even know we set the record for 8-K [during the race].”
Sambu and Mutai would remain together until less than a mile remained. On Commonwealth Avenue, Sambu started to edge away from his compatriot, ultimately making the final turn with a comfortable lead.
Stopping the clock at 27:25, Sambu had run the fastest 10-K on the roads this year and a personal best by 14 seconds. His time, however, fell six seconds short of Mutai’s event record set in 2011.
“After 8-K I knew I still had to run 2-K so I thought ‘let me increase the pace’ because I was just thinking about finishing,” he said. “It’s really good, it makes me feel good.”
Finishing second was Mutai, 27:35 his time. Mutai, who had won this race twice, said he hasn’t sharpened himself on the track recently, and that was why he couldn’t match Sambu’s speed.
“I am still not already in my [peak] shape,” said Mutai. “I know that I still have more training because when I see that my races are coming [ahead, likely referring to a fall marathon] I still have more time to train. For me I was not ready in my shape.”
Rounding out the top three was Salel in 27:41, while Sommerville, Mass.’s Bo Waggoner –a Duke University graduate– was the top American in tenth (30:48).
With his victory, Sambu becomes the second man to win back-to-back B.A.A. 10-K titles, a feat Mutai accomplished in 2011 and 2012. Sambu’s coach, James Li, believes even faster times are in his future.
“I think he can run a little bit faster still. He’s still young at this, relatively,” said Li, who has coached Sambu since his days at the University of Arizona. “He’s an awesome runner, very steady.”
Top 10 Men’s Results Searchable results here
Place Div/Tot Bib Name Age Sex City St Gun-Time Net-Time ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1 1/472 1 Stephen Sambu 25 M Tucson (ken) 27:25 27:25 2 1/507 2 Geoffrey Mutai 32 M Kenya 27:35 27:35 3 1/188 9 Daniel Salel 23 M Kenya 27:41 27:41 4 2/472 7 Leonard Korir 27 M Tucson (ken) AZ 28:09 28:09 5 3/472 5 Samuel Chelanga 29 M West Lebanon (ken) NH 28:11 28:11 6 2/188 6 Philip Langat 24 M Kenya 28:33 28:33 7 4/472 8 Lani Rutto 25 M Kenya 29:14 29:14 8 3/188 11 Kevin Kochei 24 M Kenya 29:28 29:28 9 4/188 10 Philemon Cheboi 20 M Kenya 30:23 30:23 10 5/472 7940 Bo Waggoner 25 M Somerville MA 30:48 30:48
COURSE RECORD FOR DASKA:
On the women’s side, Daska became the first two-time B.A.A. 10-K champion in race history. Making a decisive move in the final mile, Daska went on to win in 31:04, shattering Kim Smith’s previous event record of 31:36.
In the opening mile, Daska established her intent to win the $10,000 first place prize. Pushing the pace with Kenyans Aliphine Tuliamuk-Bolton and Betsy Saina by her side, Daska went through two miles in 9:47.
Tuliamuk-Bolton and Saina, who starred in college at Wichita State and Iowa State, led the way at 5-kilometers in 15:34, with Daska a second behind. The three would trade leads throughout the race.
Biding her time and saving energy, Daska sat back while her Kenyan counterparts tried to break up the group in the fourth and fifth miles. Not letting the hard surges get to her, Daska kept the podium on her mind.
“I know that all the runners are good runners and I have confidence I am going to win. But in the meantime, I was watching them and making sure they weren’t going to push and pass me,” she said through a translator. “I am so happy my strategy worked.”
Daska made the winning move with one mile to go, creating a gap that would grow to six seconds by the finish. With a time of 31:04, Daska finished with the fastest 10-K time in the world this year, setting an event record and personal best in the process.
“I didn’t expect to run this kind of fast race today,” said Daska with a bright smile across her face. “I am so happy I won.”
Daska considered the victory extra meaningful because she thinks of Boston as a second home.
“I love Boston. Coming back, Boston is always an honor for me. Even though what happened last year, everyone knows. Coming to Boston is like a hometown, always people encouraging me, so I am happy that I won again,” she said.
Daska earned a $7,500 event record bonus in addition to her $10,000 first place prize.
“I am thrilled and so happy, I have no words to explain.”
Saina and Tuliamuk-Bolton would finish second and third in 31:10 and 31:52, rounding out the podium. Boston Athletic Association team member Jen Rhines, 39, was the top American in eighth, 33:45 her time.
The B.A.A. 10K –the second race of the 2014 B.A.A. Distance Medley– saw 6,619 finishers, an event record. Of the 6,623 starters, only four were unable to finish.
Top 10 Women’s Results Searchable results here
1 1/742 41 Mamitu Daska 30 F Ethiopia 31:04 31:04 2 1/973 46 Betsy Saina 25 F Colorado Springs ( CO 31:10 31:10 3 2/973 47 Aliphine Tuliamuk-Bolton 25 F Santa Fe (ken) NM 31:52 31:52 4 2/742 43 Caroline Kilel 33 F Kenya 32:06 32:06 5 3/742 45 Werknesh Kidane 32 F Ethiopia 32:13 32:13 6 1/526 44 Linet Masai 24 F Kenya 32:27 32:27 7 3/973 48 Lineth Chepkurui 26 F Kenya 33:37 33:37 8 1/565 50 Jennifer Rhines 39 F Boston MA 33:45 33:45 9 4/742 42 Flomena Chepchirchir 32 F Kenya 33:58 33:57 10 5/742 49 Heather Cappello 34 F Arlington MA 34:26 34:26