Kenyan Geoffrey Koech took the reins at mile nine and held off Ethiopia’s Tsegay Kidanu for an eight-second win on Sunday in the first running of the Boston Athletic Association Half Marathon since 2019.
Coming off a victory at the Cardiff Half Marathon in Wales on Oct. 2, Koech, who was second in the 2018 Boston half, completed the 13.1-mile course through the Emerald Necklace parks in 1:02:02 on a chilly, rainy Sunday morning, marking the sixth straight time a Kenyan has won the men’s race. Kidanu finished in 1:02:10, followed by Morocco’s Zouhair Talbi (1:02:15) in a field of 6,300 runners.
Viola Chepngeno completed a Kenyan sweep, and the reigning Houston Half Marathon winner captured her first Boston women’s half marathon win in 1:10:40, holding off Ethiopia’s Bosena Mulatie (1:10:43) by three seconds. Hiwot Gebrekidan of Ethiopia was third in 1:11:09.
“I’m happy. So, so happy,” said a smiling Chepngeno. “The rain was cold. But I am happy so much!”
US Olympians Molly Huddle and Molly Seidel placed 12th (1:13:29) and 16th (1:16:22), respectively.
Teshome Mekonen (1:02:28) was the top American male finisher, followed by Kevin Koski (1:04:34) and Geoffrey Kipchumba (1:04:44)
Erika Kemp of New Jersey (1:12:13) was the top American on the women’s side, besting Minnesota’s Jessa Hanson (1:12:24) and Jacqueline Gaughan (1:13:23).
Daniel Romanchuk, a two-time Boston Marathon wheelchair division champion and 2019 Boston 10K winner, captured his first BAA half title by setting a course record (50:43), besting the previous mark by nearly two minutes.
“I always look forward to racing new courses, especially a technical one, and the BAA Half Marathon did not disappoint,” said Romanchuk. “The rain added another level of challenge, but it was fun, and I’m very happy with the outcome today. Looking forward to being back in April for the marathon!”
Fellow American Jenna Fesemyer (59:50) became the first woman to break the one-hour barrier in the women’s wheelchair race, adding to her 5K victory.
“I’m honored to be here for the BAA Half Marathon and to walk away with the course record today,” said Fesemyer. “The course presented various challenges with the rolling hills and weather. I want to thank my teammate Yen Hoang for bringing the intensity today and pushing me to do my best.”
A pending world record was set by Dedham native Brian Reynolds in the Para Athletics Division T62 category. Reynolds finished the course in 1:25:46.
More photos from Sunday’s race
Brendan Kurie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.