BOSTON (15-Apr) -- It was a very nice day for the Michigan-based Very Nice Track Club here in Back Bay this morning. In a wild sprint finish, Morgan Beadlescomb emerged first from a group of a dozen athletes who were still bunched tightly together after 13 minutes of nervous running, breaking the tape of the 13th edition of the B.A.A. 5-K in 13:25. His Very Nice teammate, Canadian Ben Flanagan, finished one second behind, and could hardly believe what had just happened.
PHOTO: Morgan Beadlescomb wins the 2023 B.A.A. 5-K in 13:25 (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)
"It was nuts," Flanagan told Race Results Weekly, moments after crossing the finish line.
Flanagan was referring to the final kilometer of the race where 18 men were running closely together on Boylston Street headed for the Charles Street finish line next to Boston's iconic Public Garden. While Ethiopian Tsegaye Kidanu was the nominal leader, nobody wanted to make a move until the last minute after the course takes a 90-degree left turn with about 200 meters to go before the finish.
"I turned around approaching mile 2 and everybody was there," Flanagan continued. "The whole field. So, I had to back off a bit to save something for the final straight."
Beadlescomb, who has a mile personal best of 3:52.03, had been near the front the entire race which saw the first two miles go down in 4:21 and 4:25, respectively. Like Flanagan, he knew it was going to come down to the final sprint, and he was ready.
"I knew I had a chance to win at two miles," Beadlescomb told Race Results Weekly. "I was feeling so good and everybody started getting antsy right after the two mile mark. So, I was just trying to be patient and hang out."
Beadlescomb, who represents adidas, timed his move to perfection. Running in the center of the roadway, he jumped to the lead just after the turn and put two meters on the field. He shot one look over his left shoulder just before the tape, but the gap had held. Today was his first-ever road race victory as a pro.
"I knew I had one in the chamber with 200 to go, and I knew it was going to be dangerous," Beadlescomb said. "So, as soon as I made that move, as soon as I started that surge at the corner, I knew I won."
Flanagan, who represents On Running, was able to hold off half a dozen men who were on his heels, and it was Kenya's Edwin Kurgat, the former Iowa State star, who got the third spot on the podium in 13:37. The same time was given to the next three men, Kenya's Alex Masai and America's Olin Hacker and Ahmed Muhamed. Early leader Kidanu, winner of the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile two weeks ago, finished seventh in 13:28.
"When those guys went for it, it was like all-out," Flanagan said. "I train with Morgan so I know when he accelerates if you miss it you're gone. Morgan, in my opinion, is one of the most underrated distance runners in America right now. Like, he's on the up and up. This is the first of many more wins."
The women's race also came down to a final sprint, but only two athletes were involved. Ethiopian Mekides Abebe, the 2022 World Athletics Championships steeplechase bronze medalist, beat Kenyan Agnes Ngetich, the 2023 World Athletics Cross Country Championships bronze medalist, 15:01 to 15:02. Third place went to American Annie Rodenfels, who runs for the Boston-based B.A.A. High Performance team, in 15:12. She was able to beat Weini Kelati, the reigning U.S. 5-K road running champion, by one second.
PHOTO: Mekides Abebe wins the 2023 B.A.A. 5-K in 15:01 (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)
"The race was very good," Abebe said through her coach and translator Haji Adilo. "I prepared very well. The only thing is that it was a little bit cold for me." The adidas-sponsored athlete added: "When it came to one kilometer remaining, for sure I was the winner of the race."
Last year Rodenfels won the B.A.A. Invitational Mile (which will be held later today). She and her coach Mark Carroll went back and forth about which event would be best for her to enter this year. She did a six-week altitude training stint in Albuquerque over the winter, and felt that the strength and endurance she had developed there would benefit her most in the longer race today.
"We were kind of selfishly looking at which would be less-fast, which one was less-competitive, and as time went by we were just like, these are really both stellar fields," Rodenfels, a steeplechaser, told reporters. "It's going to be hard either way. I don't know, we just felt more confident in my ability to do endurance stuff right now."
Both Beadlescomb and Abebe won $7500 in prize money.
The professional wheelchair races went to Marcel Hug of Switzerland (9:52) and Susanna Scaroni of the United States (11:10). They each won $1000.
Some 10,000 runners started this year's race (there were 8197 finishers in 2022).