Monday, April 09, 2018

Defending Champions Return for B.A.A. 5K and B.A.A. Invitational Mile

Defending Champions Return for B.A.A. 5K and B.A.A. Invitational Mile

American record holder Ben True and Ethiopia’s Buze Diriba aim to retain B.A.A. 5K titles, while global medalist Nicole Sifuentes leads B.A.A. Invitational Mile field.

BOSTON – The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) today announced an elite field of world class competitors for the 2018 B.A.A. 5K and B.A.A. Invitational Mile, to be held on Saturday, April 14, two days prior to the 2018 Boston Marathon®. New Hampshire’s Ben True will return to Boston looking to earn his fifth B.A.A. 5K title, while Ethiopia’s Buze Diriba will defend her 2017 crown. 

Following the B.A.A. 5K, Canada’s Nicole Sifuentes and American Drew Hunter will lead world-class fields at the tenth annual B.A.A. Invitational Mile. The B.A.A. Invitational Mile will also include Middle School 1K races and Scholastic Mile races featuring youth athletes from the eight cities and towns of the Boston Marathon course.   

A $39,900 (USD) prize purse will be distributed to the top finishers of the B.A.A. 5K, while a $14,500 (USD) prize purse will be available in the B.A.A. Invitational Mile.

True is a veteran and New England favorite on the roads of Boston, having broken the American record twice at the B.A.A. 5K in both 2015 and 2017. A year ago, True timed 13:20 en route to his fifth win in seven years. Coming off a win at the NYC Half in March, True will drop down in distance and face a tough field that includes fellow Americans Eric Jenkins, Tommy Curtin, and Scott Fauble. Jenkins, a native of New Hampshire, is a two-time NCAA champion and was runner-up at last year’s USA Championships 5000m on the track.

Leading the international challengers are 2016 Olympic 5000m bronze medalist Hagos Gebrhiwet, three-time B.A.A. Half Marathon champion Daniel Salel, and last year’s B.A.A. 5K fourth place finisher Philip Langat. Charles Philibert-Thiboutot of Canada is also in the field.

Ethiopia’s Buze Diriba earned a nailbiting victory a year ago, denying Molly Huddle her fourth straight victory by two seconds. Crossing the line in 14:54, Diriba set a new personal best; since then she’s been a consistent winner on the U.S. road racing scene. Diriba placed third at the B.A.A. 10K in June of 2017, and won the NYC Half last month.

Americans Emily Sisson, Molly Seidel, Diane Nukuri, Sarah Pagano, and Elaina Tabb will all toe the line alongside Diriba. Sisson represented Team USA at the 2017 IAAF World Championships 10,000m, while Seidel finished second at the USA 5K Championships last November. Pagano and Tabb each are part of Team B.A.A. – training in Boston under B.A.A. High Performance coach Ricardo Santos – and have represented the USA in cross country and on the roads. 

Kenya’s Monicah Ngige and Ethiopians Fotyen Tesfay and Gotytom Gebreslase join Diriba as the top women’s international entrants. A field of 10,000 participants will take part in the B.A.A. 5K, the first event of the 2018 B.A.A. Distance Medley. The race starts and finishes on Charles Street adjacent to Boston Common and the Boston Public Garden, and passes the Boston Marathon finish line on Boylston Street approximately 2.4 miles into the race.

Returning to the B.A.A. Invitational Mile a year after setting a course record is Nicole Sifuentes of Canada. In 2017, Sifuentes clocked an event record 4:33.7 to take the title, finishing a step ahead of Cory McGee. The two-time Olympian returns looking to become the first woman to earn back-to-back B.A.A. Invitational Mile crowns. 

Sifutentes will again face McGee, as well as fellow University of Michigan alums Shannon Osika and Becca Addison. Lauren Johnson, Katrina Coogan, and Amanda Rego round out the field. Johnson is a member of Team B.A.A., and finished fourth at last year’s USA Outdoor Championships 1500m.
The B.A.A. Invitational Mile men’s field features Drew Hunter, a 3:56.79 miler and one of the top young talents in track and field. Hunter will be joined on the line by Patrick Casey, Daniel Winn, Daniel Herrera, Sam Parsons, John Simons, and Julian Oakley. Oakley placed ninth at the IAAF World Indoor Championships last month representing New Zealand.

A detailed start list and schedule of events for both the B.A.A. 5K and B.A.A. Invitational Mile can be found below. The men’s event record for the B.A.A. 5K stands at 13:20, set by Ben True in 2017, while the women’s event record is 14:50 run by Molly Huddle in 2015. The men’s and women’s event records for the B.A.A. Invitational Mile are 4:03.3 (Nick Willis, 2013) and 4:33.7 (Nicole Sifuentes, 2017).
The B.A.A. Invitational Mile includes six races, held shortly after the 2018 B.A.A. 5K. The first two races feature middle school age students from the eight cities and towns of the Boston Marathon course – Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton, Brookline, and Boston. The girls’ and boys’ Middle School 1K races include runners between sixth and eighth grade and finish at the Boston Marathon finish line on Boylston Street.   
Following the Middle School 1K races is the Scholastic Mile, which features girls’ and boys’ races for high school students from the eight cities and towns of the Boston Marathon course. The Scholastic Mile follows the same three-lap, USATF-certified course the professional mile athletes run, finishing at the Boston Marathon finish line.

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