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True repeats Boston 5k win

Ben True in Course Record

Ben True in Course Record

BOSTON – April 15, 2012 – A 60 degree Sunday morning with light winds meant that the scene was set for some fast running at the fourth B.A.A. 5K, held the day before the 116th Boston Marathon. With the celebrated Marathon finish line as the backdrop – and serving also as the finish line for this race – there was anticipation aplenty that this year’s men’s race would be as thrilling as it had been 12 months previously.

On that occasion, Dartmouth grad, Ben True, had unleashed a blistering home straight finish to steal the win in a course record time of 14 minutes, 7 seconds. One could hardly expect the same again this time around – enthralling tactics, a rocket-launched sprint finish, a record time; an absorbing race would be good enough. In the end, the vocal crowd all around the course got all of the above, and more – a repeat winner.

“A lot of people forget how long that finishing straight is,” proffered True, drawing on his experience of 2011 and moments after blowing away the field and the record. “I just bided my time.”

That was the defending champion’s tactic throughout the race. While Lani Rutto of Kenya, Ali Abdosh of Ethiopia, Sam Chelanga also from Kenya and a group of others took turns at the front, pushing the pace, True held fast in the pack, rarely drifting to the front, but always remaining within striking distance.

It was close to the halfway mark, that Rutto decided to up the ante still further. Making the left turn off Commonwealth Avenue onto Berkeley St and the right off Berkeley onto Boylston, Rutto pressed all the harder, opening inches of daylight. At two miles, the clock showed 8:58, with Rutto’s advantage increasing with every stride.

By 2.25 miles, the Kenyan had opened a five meter lead on a pack that included Chelanga, Abdosh, True, Kenyan Allan Kiprono and Adrian Blincoe of New Zealand, and it appeared as though the writing was appearing on the wall, but making the left turn off Hereford back onto Boylston, six men wound into that oh-so-long home straight almost shoulder-to-shoulder. The finish line was visible, but still a long way away. Rutto led the pack, but Kiprono injected a surge that brought him into the lead. Then Chelanga wound it up and bolted for the line. But they were all preamble. True, 26, had been through this before and knew the moment to strike.

Having covered every move without making one of his own, the Yarmouth, ME native picked his spot perfectly. With 100 meters or so remaining, he blasted past Chelanga, opened an immediate two strides and hammered through the tape in a shattering course record of 13:41, also claiming the $4000 first place prize money. Chelenga held on for second in 13:43 ($2000), with the valiant Rutto claiming third in 13:46 ($1500) and Blincoe clocking the same time for fourth ($1000).

“I was a little worried with a mile to go that I didn’t have the legs today,” revealed the happy winner. “But that finish line is very long and I just bided my time. I’m pretty confident in my kick.”

The top 11 men broke the previous course record revealing the depth of the 2012 field.

In the women’s race, Werknesh Kidane of Ethiopia, whose eight medals in the World Cross Country Championships are the most of any woman in history, took the lead early and held it in a blistering 15:12. Her time demolished the course record of 15:51 set by Kenya’s Lineth Chepkurui just last year.

“It was a bit windy, but good weather,” said Kidane, 31, unlike the conditions her husband Gebre Gebremariam expects to face for Monday’s Boston Marathon.

Finishing second to Kidane was countrywoman Aheza Kiros (15:21), with New Zealand’s Kim Smith third (15:26). The top six women – rounded out by Janet Cherobon-Bawcom, Diane Johnson and Sarah Porter – all dipped under the previous course record.

Desiree Davila, the American who last year came within two seconds of winning the Boston Marathon, was 10th in 16:03. Davila, who made her first Olympic team in January when she was runner-up at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston, rarely races at short distances on the roads: her last 5K was two years ago, and Sunday’s time was a personal best by 12 seconds.

Her Boston Marathon education will continue on Monday, when she rides the women’s press truck, calling in reports to the press room at the finish line.

Among the other notable finishers were three-time Boston Marathon champion Uta Pippig, 45 (20:06); Nina Kuscsik, 73, celebrating her 40th anniversary as the first official women’s winner of the Boston Marathon, in 1972 (43:08) and Val Rogosheske, 65, another of the eight original “Class of 1972,” (39:06).

4th B.A.A. 5K
Boston, MA, Sunday, April 15, 2012

1) Ben True (USA / NH), 13:41*, $4000
2) Sam Chelanga (KEN), 13:43, $2000
3) Lani Rutto (KEN), 13:46, $1500
4) Adrian Blincoe (NZL), 13:46, $1000
5) Allan Kiprono (KEN), 13:48, $750
6) Aaron Braun (USA / AZ), 13:49, $600
7) Bobby Curtis (USA / KY), 13:52, $500
8) Ben St. Lawrence (AUS), 13:59, $400
9) Ali Abdosh (ETH), 14:00, $300
10) Brett Gotcher (USA / AZ), 14:00, $200
*course record (previous record, 14:07, Ben True (USA), 2011)

1) Werknesh Kidane (ETH), 15:12*, $4000
2) Aheza Kiros (ETH), 15:21, $2000
3) Kim Smith (NZL), 15:26, $1500
4) Janet Cherobon-Bawcom (USA / GA), 15:41, $1000
5) Diane Nukuri-Johnson (BDI), 15:41, $750
6) Sarah Porter (USA / NC), 15:50, $600
7) Stephanie Rothstein (USA / AZ), 15:59, $500
8) Jelliah Tinega (KEN), 16:00, $400
9) Kellyn Johnson (USA / AZ), 16:01, $300
10) Desiree Davila (USA / MI), 16:03, $200
*course record (previous record, 15:52, Lineth Chepkurui (KEN), 2011)