Two runners—one male, one female—will leave Boston this weekend $100,000 richer.
On Sunday, October 13, the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) holds the final stage of its 2013 Distance Medley, a three-race competition that kicked off in April with a 5K, continued in June with a 10K, and concludes with a half-marathon. Top prize money goes to the man and woman with the lowest combined time.
Some 7,500 runners, among them some notable elites, will take part in this, the 13th BAA Half-Marathon. It’s a popular event: During registration in July, it took only 12 minutes for all available slots to disappear.
Among the men to watch are a trio of Kenyans: Stephen Sambu, who tops the Distance Medley leader board with a cumulative time of 41:53; Allan Kiprono, who trails by a mere 26 seconds and set a BAA Half-Marathon record last year with a time of 1:01:44; and Daniel Salel, runner-up at this year’s Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run in Washington, DC.
Also on hand will be Ethiopian stars Lelisa Desisa and Gebre Gebremariam, two of the top finishers at the 2013 Boston Marathon.
On the women’s side, two Kenyans, Millicent Kuria and Alice Kumutai, will challenge New Zealand native Kim Smith for the Distance Medley purse. Based in nearby Providence, RI, Smith arrives in Beantown with a cumulative time of 48:50, but Kuria’s only 71 seconds back, so the final standings are anything but set.
The women’s field also includes last year’s BAA Half runner-up, Ethiopia’s Aheza Kiros; American Kristen Fryburg-Zaitz; and Danish Olympian Jess Draskau-Petersson—all of whom have half-marathon bests of 1:13:30 or faster.
The out-and-back race begins and ends at White Stadium in Franklin Park, located in Boston’s Jamaica Plain and Dorchester neighborhoods. The top 10 finishers split a $38,400 purse not related to the Distance Medley, so even runners only signed up for this final leg stand to make some cash.
Of course, it’s about more than just money. Per the BAA website, the event is geared toward “highlighting the beauty” of Boston’s historic Emerald Necklace park system and “promoting health and fitness.”
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg