Keira D’Amato thought she was pouring water over her head on Mile 4, but the accidental Gatorade shower might have been just what she needed to win the Boston Athletic Association’s 10K.
“I feel a little sticky right now, but I thought, ‘Well maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe we haven’t been doing that and we should start doing that,’” said D’Amato, 38. “Maybe this is the little juice I need.”
The BAA 10K returned Sunday for the first time since 2019. Runners made their way through Back Bay on a 6.2-mile course beginning and ending on Charles Street adjacent to Boston Common.
D’Amato, the American record-holder in the marathon, finished in 31 minutes, 17 seconds, while Emily Sisson (32:03) and Edna Kiplagat (32:09) rounded out the women’s podium.
Earlier this month, D’Amato set a personal best of 31:03 while finishing third at the New York Mini. She was just shy of the American 10K record (30:52 by Shalane Flanagan) in New York and came to Boston with hopes to break through.
“I thought if I really went for it, maybe I’d have a shot,” D’Amato said. “I fell a little short of that but I just wanted to be aggressive. I find sometimes when the going gets tough, I let off the pedal, so my goal today was just to keep the pedal to the metal and I think I did that.”
For the better part of the race, D’Amato battled it out with Kenyan Sharon Lokedi. The pair broke away from the pack after hitting Mile 1 at the 5:05 mark. D’Amato slipped ahead of Lokedi after a downhill stretch on the third mile.
“I don’t think I’ve ever won a duel like that,” D’Amato said. “She’s a fierce runner.”
Lokedi fell in the hot, humid conditions about 200 meters from the finish line and was taken away by medical personnel. She did not finish the race.
The men’s and women’s fields were dominated by Americans as Leonard Korir led the men, finishing in 28:00. Korir improved his personal best by nine seconds.
“I thought to myself, just be patient, these guys are going to feel it because I know they didn’t have a lot of experience with the heat and humidity,” Korir said. “They didn’t know the course well, so if you go fast, you will pay later on.”
Korir, who was born in Kenya, joined the US Army in 2015 and represents the United States, which is why he broke the BAA tape in an Army singlet. His season is off to a hot start with wins at the US Half Marathon Championships, the US 25K Championships, and the Bolder Boulder 10K. This was his second time at the BAA 10K.
“I just wanted to win. When I saw people starting to fall back, I thought to myself, ‘I have to win this race,’ ” Korir said. “I took the opportunity and I was able to win.”
Kennedy Kimutai (28:07) and Philemon Kiplimo (28:09) finished second and third for the men.
Susannah Scaroni, 31, broke the wheelchair world record by more than a minute, with a 21:56 finish. After winning a gold medal in the Tokyo Paralympics, Scaroni was rear-ended by a vehicle while training back home in Illinois. She fractured three vertebrae and just started training again in January.
“I feel like I’m getting the chance to show where I was last fall and with the bigger perspective that I have now of just being able to be alive and to do this sport,” Scaroni said. “It has just really come together with those two perspectives in mind.”
The official number of runners to start the race was 5,159. The 10K was the second race of the BAA’s Distance Medley, with the BAA Half Marathon scheduled for Nov. 13.