Hagos Gebrhiwet, the defending BAA 5K champion, didn’t improve upon his time from last year’s race when he ran again Saturday morning, but he didn’t get any worse, either.
The 24-year-old from Ethiopia took the men’s title again in the 11th annual race, crossing the finish line on Charles Street in a light rain in 13 minutes, 42 seconds, the same time that won him the 2018 title.
“I trained very well,” Gebrhiwet said through a translator. “The only thing [that] I was thinking was to break my time [from last year]. Because of the rain, that did not happen.”
Gebrhiwet broke away from course record-holder Ben True, who had paced the lead group at both mile splits (4:38, 4:27). The 33-year-old Hanover, N.H., resident is a four-time BAA 5K winner and set the American road 5K record (13:20) at the BAA race in 2017.
True said the wet conditions were a factor in Saturday’s race.
“There was a little bit of wind,” said True, who finished second in 13:44. “It felt like a little bit of a harder race than the time said at the end.”
At the second mile split of the women’s race, Violah Lagat of Kenya held nearly a 20-meter lead, clocking in at 4:51. But Monicah Ngige, who led at the first split (4:50), found her speed again to win in 15:16, 13 seconds ahead of Lagat.
“I make my speed to be a little bit faster, and I catch Lagat,” Ngige said. “But that is not the end. You have to keep moving, and I move faster until I get there.”
Kimberley Conley, of Oakland, Calif., placed fourth (15:36), the highest finish by an American woman.
Also participating in the women’s 5K was Adrianne Haslet, who had part of her leg amputated after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. In January, Haslet was hit by a car. The accident dislocated her shoulder and broke three bones.
On Saturday, 98 days after her latest injuries, Haslet passed the Forum restaurant where the bombs went off, and crossed the intersection on Commonwealth Avenue where she was hit by the car.
“I definitely went out strong, which is not surprising at all,” she said. “It feels really good to put on a running leg and go. It was very emotional.”
Haslet stopped to celebrate with teammates and friends who were cheering her on, but warned that a year from now, when she hopes to return to the Marathon, she might not be able to stop and chat.
“Next time I do that, I won’t have time for high-fives,” she said. “I’m going to be going for the win.”
Following the 5K, professionals from around the world and students from the towns along the Marathon route competed in invitational races.
Just 0.6 seconds separated the top three finishers in the women’s invitational mile, with Nikki Hiltz, 24, taking the title in 4:40.1. Emily Lipari finished second but was credited with the same time.
“[Lipari] pushes until the very end,” Hiltz said. “Every lap, if you were to ask me, ‘Are you going to win?’ I would’ve said, ‘No, I don’t feel good.’ For some reason, the last lap, I found it in me.”
In his first race as a professional, Robert Domanic clocked in at 4:06.4 to take the men’s invitational mile.
Framingham native Ben Groleau, 25, became the first runner to participate in the professional mile after once competing in the high school invitational. Though he finished last on Saturday, he took comfort in the special meaning the course held for him.
“It’s definitely not a spot I thought I was going to be in,” said Groleau. “I had no idea that 10 years later I would be back, and it’s really cool.”
In the middle school 1K races, Newton stole the show, with eighth-graders Tyler Tubman (2:55) and Amelia Everett (3:15.3) crowned champions. Everett’s time was a course record.
The boys’ high school invitational mile was a showcase of Bay State Conference talent, with Brookline’s Lucas Alejandro Aramburu (4:29.5) outpacing Wellesley’s Colby Zarle (4:30.3) and Framingham’s Ben Burgess (4:36).
Natick High senior Grace Connolly, who will run at Stanford next fall, won the girls’ high school mile (5:07.5).