With a mile to go and Leonard Korir and Kennedy Kimutai running running side by side down Commonwealth Ave. in the early morning sunshine, the outcome of Sunday’s BAA 10K was looking like it would be decided by a furious sprint finish on Charles Street.
Then something happened that all but gave Korir the victory without having to break into a dead sprint.
After knocking down a 4:27 fifth mile (22:26) together, Kimutai suddenly swerved to the side of the road to run in the forgiving shade, if just for a short time. Korir stayed put in the middle of the road and was never challenged. He crossed the finish line in a swift 28:00 for the win on the fast layout to lead the field of 5,159. Kimutai held on for second in 28:07 just in front of Philemon Kiplimo and Ben True, both of whom were clocked in 28:09. Defending Falmouth Road Race champion Ben Flanagan rounded out the quick top five in 28:11.
Korir found himself in the lead pack early, but wary of taking an early lead as Bravin Kiptoo (10th, 28:49) led the group in a sizzling 4:21 first mile.
“When I saw the first group going out so fast, I knew that they would pay” said Korir. “I just wanted to hang in there and strike when the time comes. It was like suicide. I was like, ‘whoa. Are we going to be able to maintain this?’ I told myself just to be patient because I knew they couldn’t hold that speed in the heat.”
The pace didn’t slow the second mile as Kiptoo pulled the group through in 8:45. Kimutai joined Kiptoo at the front a half mile later and the pack grew to six near the turnaround point at three miles (13:18) at the Agganis Center. By four miles (17:49) the race had come down to Korir and Kimutai.
In the women’s race, Keira D’Amato and Sharon Lokedi ran together after breaking up a pack of seven past the 2-mile mark (10:03.55). D’Amato covered a break by Lokedi on the downslope past the turnaround point and the two were still together at five miles (25:14).
Lokedi dropped out of sight and D’Amato went on to break the tape in 31:17. Emily Sisson was a strong second in 32:03 and Edna Kiplagat garnered the bronze medal in 32:09.
“I wanted to run aggressive today and go for the American Record,” said D’Amato, who broke the American Record at the Houston Marathon in February with a 2:19:12. “I went for it but fell just a little short. My goal today was just to keep the pedal to the medal.”
Susannah Scaroni absolutely scorched the field in the wheelchair division and broke the world record in a scintillating 21:56. Scaroni has two second-place finishes in the Boston Marathon and a gold medal in the 5,000 at the 2021 Tokoyo Paralympics.
(062622 Boston, MA): Wheelchair winner and new world record holder Susannah Scaroni poses for photos at the finish line of the BAA 10K on Sunday,June 26, 2022 in Boston, MA. (Staff Photo By Nancy Lane/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)
Scaroni was all smiles after the race and said the warm temperatures played no factor in her superb effort. “When you’re a wheelchair racer you’re traveling faster than the runners,” said Scaroni. “You’re done sooner as well so you can handle higher temperatures.”