Ali Abdosh was the lone Ethiopian in a tightly packed lead group today in the Boston Athletic Association's Half Marathon. Surrounded by Kenyans who gave no quarter as the course wound through the Emerald Necklace park system, the 24-year-old Abdosh jockeyed with five to eight other elite runners to stay near the curb and remain in the shade as bright blue skies soon sent temperatures into the 70s despite the 8:30 a.m. start
The pack clung together through numerous hairpin turns coming off the Riverway, and again in Franklin Park. Only when the leaders Abdosh, Sam Chelanga, and Gilbert Okari neared the finish at White Stadium in Franklin Park was Abdosh able to pull ahead with a short, but decisive, kick. Abdosh crossed the line in 1:03:36, followed by Chelanga, five seconds back.
"It was only with .5 miles to go, right behind the stadium,'' said Chelanga, 26, who admitted he was mad about what might have been in his half marathon debut.
Abdosh said it was hard to make a move earlier because of the narrow roadways through the park. "The last of the course was good,'' Abdosh said, "to go push, push, push.''
In the women's race, Janet Cherobon-Bawcom (Kenyan-born but now an American citizen) claimed her fourth straight race of the last two months (and she'll run in the Tufts 10K Monday) in 1:11.58. Defending champion Caroline Rotich, 27, stayed with Cherobon-Bawcom's fast start for a while, but when Cherobon-Bawcom, 33, pushed the pace through some hills between miles 7 and 8, she lost touch.
"I looked back and she was not anywhere,'' said Cherobon-Bawcom.
Top Ten Finishers 2011 BAA Half Marathon:
1.) Ali Abdosh, 24 (ETH) 1:03:36
2.) Sam Chelanga, 26 (KEN) 1:03:41
3.) Gilbert Okari, 33 (KEN) 1:03:48
4.) Samuel Ndereba, 34 (KEN) 1:04:01
5.) John Korir, 35 (KEN) 1:04:37
6.) John Itati, 37 (KEN) 1:04:39
7.) Timothy Ritchie, 24 (US) 1:05:29
8.) Fernando Cabada, 29 (US) 1:06:18
9.) Kevin Johnson, 22 (US) 1:07:38
10.) Mike Popejoy, 25 (US) 1:07:50
1.) Janet Cherobon-Bawcom, 33 (US) 1:11:58
2.) Caroline Rotich, 27 (KEN) 1:13:33
3.) Heather Cappello , 31 (US) 1:13:44
4.) Jane Kibii, 26 (KEN) 1:16:18
5.) Diana Bowser, 38 (US) 1:17:37
6.) Elle Pishny, 26 (US) 1:20:10
7.) Amanda Brewster, 30 (US) 1:20:54
8.) Caroline Bjune, 37 (US) 1:21:20
9.) Jordan Daniel, 23 (US) 1:22:25
10.) Melissa Henry, 24 (US) 1:23:11
There were 5,253 official starters, including six wheelchair athletes, led by seven-time winner Tony Nogueira (US), who won in in 56:56.
Former Patriot Tedi Bruschi and his wife Heidi joined the field, finishing in 2:10.05.
- Matt Pepin, Boston.com sports editor
- Steve Silva, Boston.com senior producer, two-time Boston Marathon sub-four hour runner.
- Ty Velde is a 15-time Boston qualifier who's completed 11 consecutive Boston Marathons and 23 marathons overall. Ty is now training for his 12th Boston run and will provide training tips for those who train solo and outside, no matter what temperature it is.
- Rich 'Shifter' Horgan is a 19-time Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team member who runs in honor of his father, who died of colon cancer. He will provide updates on local running events with a focus on the charitable organizations that provide Boston Marathon entries for their organization's fund raising purposes