(04-Oct) -- The biggest non-marathon cash prize in road running will be on the line on Sunday when the inaugural three-race B.A.A. Distance Medley concludes at the 12th B.A.A. Half-Marathon in Boston. The overall male and female series winners --determined by the lowest total time from the B.A.A. 5-K, B.A.A. 10-K and the B.A.A. Half-- will each be awarded $100,000.
"In this, the B.A.A.'s 125th anniversary year, we are plesed to have been able to mark this milestone by offering a unique series which promotes the City of Boston and the sport of running," commented Boston Athletic Association excecutive director Tom Grilk in a statement. "In addition to the overall men's and women's champions, the B.A.A. Distance Medley includes more than 1400 participants who will have completed all three races."
Four men --Ethiopia's Ali Abdosh and Kenya's Sam Chelanga, Allan Kiprono and Lani Rutto-- are closely bunched on top of the leader board, separated by just five seconds. The first two men are tied with a total time of 42 minutes and 21 seconds. Abdosh was ninth in the B.A.A. 5-K last April and third in the B.A.A. 10-K last June, while Chelanga finished second and sixth, respectively. Kiprono is four seconds back in third, and Rutto is just one second behind Kiprono in fourth. Although Abdosh has a mediocre half-marathon personal best of 1:04:26, he boasts a 27:04.92 10,000m best. Chelanga ran 1:01:19 at the NYC Half back in March and is the fastest man in the field for the 21.097-kilometer distance.
The women's contest has come down to just two athletes, New Zealand's Kim Smith and Ethiopia's Aheza Kiros. Smith, with a total time of 47 minutes and 2 seconds, has 16-second lead over Kiros by virtue of her third place finish at the 5-K (15:26) and her victory at the 10-K (31:36). Kiros was second at both events. Smith seems well-positioned for victory, given that the half-marathon is probably her strongest event. She holds the USA all-comers record of 1:07:11 set at the Rock 'N' Roll Philadelphia Half-Marathon in 2011. Kiros's best time is 1:09:10.
In addition to the Distance Medley prizes, athletes will also be competed for a $38,000 prize money purse, with $5000 going to the winners. Kenyan athletes hold the course records: 1:02:20 by Thomas Nyariki (2007) and 1:10:52 by Caroline Rotich (2010). At last year's event, organizers recorded a record 5179 finishers.
PHOTO: Kim Smith competing in the 2012 Olympic Marathon where she finished 15th in 2:26:59 (photo by Jonathan Cooper)