Road Digest — Action Off The Track

Hobbs Kessler’s road mile win was one of two for the Very Nice TC at pre-marathon BAA races in Boston. (VICTOR SAILER/PHOTO RUN)

THE MARATHON VENERABLES in Boston and London were highlights of the spring road season , but there was other noteworthy macadam activity:

Bor Busts Ancient 10M AR

Hillary Bor is best known as a steeplechaser having reached the last three World/Olympic finals. However Bor and coach Scott Simmons saw and capitalized on an opportunity at the 50th Cherry Blossom 10-Miler (Washington, DC, April 02).

In placing a close 2nd to Ethiopia’s Tsegay Kidanu (46:08), Bor finished in 46:11 to cut 2 seconds from Greg Meyer’s American Record, which had stood for 40 years. (Note: Galen Rupp ran 45:54 in ’20, but the time recorded in a specially organized half-marathon was never ratified by USATF.)

Meyer also posted his AR at Cherry Blossom, in ’83 during a golden era for the U.S. road circuit. This time Kidanu and Bor essayed a 2-man breakaway from eventual 3rd-placer Biya Simbassa (47:09) and the rest.

The Ethiopian won the finish kick yet Bor collected a $50,000 bonus on top of $9K in runner-up money. And the man whose record he took down was on hand to witness it.

Said Meyer, “It was exciting to see the record fall on the 40th anniversary of my setting it and the 50th anniversary of the race. That capped a perfect race weekend. Hillary ran a spectacular race in tough conditions [40s, sunny yet windy]. I had dinner with him last night and he is such a nice person. I see great things to come in the future for him.”

The race served also as the USATF 10M Champs, thus Bor collected that title as Sara Hall claimed the women’s crown. Hall (52:37), placed 2nd overall in the women’s race to Uganda’s Sarah Chelangat, who surged away from the field around halfway to a 52:04 victory.

Bor had targeted the men’s AR after winning the USATF 10M title in St. Paul, Minnesota, last year with a time of 46:06. That point-to-point course trends a touch too downhill for record purposes though Bor and Simmons saw opportunity.

“Final road race before heading back to track,” Bor wrote on Instagram. “Had a little fun this morning and walked away with an 🇺🇸 American Record…” Thanking race organizers and shoe sponsor Hoka, Bor added, “Couldn’t have happened without the help of my coach, teammates and my family.”

Very Nice Tactics In Boston

The day before the Boston Marathon, race organizers per recent tradition staged BAA 5K and road mile races. With turns a plenty, the contests played out tactically. Also most pleasantly for the runners on Ron Warhurst’s Very Nice TC.

First among Warhurst’s Michigan-based crew to breast a finish tape was Morgan Beadlescomb in the 5K. From a field of 18 men bunched together over the final K, ’22 Michigan State grad Beadlescomb used his 3:52 miler’s speed to surge away from a dozen opponents in the final 200m for a 13:25–13:26 win from Canadian training mate Ben Flanagan as 8 rushed in under 13:30.

In the women’s race Mekides Abebe of Ethiopia bested Kenya’s Agnes Ngetich 15:01–15:02 with Americans Annie Rodenfels (15:12) and Weini Kelati (15:13) next.

The men’s mile, even more tactical, went to Very Nice 20-year-old Hobbs Kessler in 4:08.0 from Casey Comber (4:08.3) and Johnny Gregorek (4:09.2). Kessler told reporters Warhurst and others had told him that over many years the leader at the penultimate turn had won. That’s where he shot ahead of Comber for a confidence-boosting result ahead of the outdoor track season.

Krissy Gear — now finished at Arkansas and training under coach Alan Culpepper with the HOKA Northern Arizona Elite group — scored her first pro win with roughly the same tactic. Only her move settled the score sooner, with the result a 4:40.0 well clear of Briton Lizzie Bird (4:42.4) and Kenya’s Susan Ejore (4:42.6).

Prakel, Hiltz Claim USA Road Crowns

The Grand Blue Mile (Des Moines, April 25) warmed up Iowa fans on the Monday before the Drake Relays. The contest again served as the USATF Road Mile Champs.

Nikki Hiltz’s 4:28 women’s win from Sinclaire Johnson by 0.7 set a course and USA Champs record. Huntington U frosh Addy Wiley placed 3rd ahead of Colleen Quigley, Shannon Osika and Alexina Teuble with that trio all at 4:31.

Sam Prakel grabbed the men’s title in 4:02 from Comber, Vincent Ciattei (both 4:03) and three at 4:04: Nick Randazzo, Kasey Knevelbaard and Jake Gillum.

Other Marathon Winners

March and April weekends were crowded with elite 26-mile races. Winners of other majors:

Barcelona — Marius Kimutai (Bahrain) 2:05:06 & Zeineba Yimer (Ethiopia) 2:19:14; Daegu — Milkesa Mengesha (Ethiopia) 2:06:49 & Ayantu Abera (Ethiopia) 2:25:44; Enschede — Alfred Barkach (Kenya) 2:08:51 & Shyline Jepkorir (Kenya) 2:22:45; Hamburg — Bernard Koech (Kenya) & Dorcas Tuitoek (Kenya) 2:20:09; Milan — Andrew Rotich Kwemoi (Uganda) 2:07:14 & Sharon Cherop (Kenya) 2:26:13; Nagoya Women’s — Ruth Cheptngetich (Kenya) 2:18:08; Paris — Chalu Deso (Ethiopia) 2:05:07 (7th — Leonard Korir 2:09:31 AL) & Judith Korir (Kenya) 2:19:48; Rotterdam — Bashir Abdi (Belgium) 2:03:47 & Eunice Chumba (Bahrain) 2:20:39; Seoul — Amdework Walelegn (Ethiopia) 2:05:27 & Da-Eun Jeong (South Korea) 2:28:32; Seville — Gadisa Shumie (Ethiopia) 2:04:59 & Jackline Chelal (Kenya) 2:20:29; Tokyo — Deso Gelmisa (Ethiopia) 2:05:22 & Rosemary Wanjiru (Kenya) 2:16:28; Vienna — Samwel Nyamae (Kenya) 2:05:08 & Magdalene Masai (Kenya) 2:24:12. ◻︎