BAA 5K and Invitational Mile Kick Off Boston Marathon Weekend in Style

Charles Philibert-Thiboutot and Senbere Teferi won the BAA 5K races, while Johnny Gregorek and Annie Rodenfels took the invitational mile titles.

charles philibertthiboutot and senbere teferi
Derek Call

The Boston Marathon is back on Patriots’ Day, and the BAA 5K and Invitational Mile kicked off the weekend Saturday morning. Some of the top U.S. and global distance running stars dashed down the streets of Boston to crown this year’s winners.

Here are the podium finishers. For a rundown of how the races went, continue reading below.

Women’s BAA 5K

  1. Senbere Tefere (ETH) — 14:49
  2. Weini Kelati (USA) — 15:04
  3. Sharon Lokedi (KEN) — 15:16

    Men’s BAA 5K

    1. Charles Philibert-Thiboutot (CAN) — 13:35
    2. Geordie Beamish (NZL) — 13:36
    3. Zouhair Talbi (MAR) — 13:36

      Women’s BAA Invitational Mile

      1. Annie Rodenfels (USA) — 4:35.51
      2. Taryn Rawlins (USA) — 4:35.59
      3. Emily Lipari (USA) — 4:36.98

        Men’s BAA Invitational Mile

        1. Johnny Gregorek (USA) — 4:08.15
        2. Kasey Knevelbaard (USA) — 4:08.88
        3. Shane Streich (USA) — 4:09.28

          Complete BAA 5K Results | Complete BAA Invitational Mile Results

          Charles Philibert-Thiboutot and Senbere Teferi Win BAA 5K

          senbere teferi
          Senbere Teferi crosses the finish line of the BAA 5K in a course record.
          Derek Call

          The women’s race played out much differently than the men’s race. Two women—Senbere Teferi of Ethiopia and Weini Kelati of the U.S.—broke away early. Teferi, who is the world record holder for the road 5K, would break Kelati over the course of the race, and cruised to a course record time of 14:49. Her time bettered Molly Huddle’s record of 14:50 from 2015. (Teferi just last month set the event record at the New York City Half Marathon, breaking Huddle’s mark by six seconds.)

          “My main goal was to break the world record, but I'm thinking it’s a little bit windy,” Tefere said through a translator. “I’m very happy to get the course record here.”

          Kelati was the top American finisher with her second place time of 15:04. She won the USATF 5K championship last November in New York City. “I feel good... she’s a very strong runner but I’m lucky to be able to run with her halfway and I tried my best,” Kelati said.

          Sharon Lokedi of Kenya, who is based in Flagstaff, Arizona, rounded out the podium with her 15:16 time.

          Keira D’Amato, the American record holder in the marathon, found herself hurting in the shorter distance.

          “Half a mile in, I started getting dizzy because the pace was so hot,” she said. “My body is just not used to that now. It was over quickly, but I got crushed. That’s all I have to say, I got crushed, and not from lack of trying.”

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          D’Amato is starting a block of speed training, with the hope of making the U.S. team for the world championships in the 10,000 meters.

          The men’s race went out in a pack through the first mile, which they passed in 4:24. A group of three broke away in the second mile, led by Zouhair Talbi of Morocco and David Bett. Charles Philibert-Thiboutot of Canada followed, and they finished the second mile slightly faster, in 4:23.

          Tabli fell back slightly, while Philibert-Thiboutot put a step on Bett. With 1,000 meters to go, Philibert-Thiboutot felt the wind.

          “I felt like we were fading,” he told Runner’s World. “ I told myself I need to make a move now if I don’t want the pack to catch me. ”

          The Canadian held off a charging pack of runners led by Geordie Beamish of New Zealand, winning in 13:35. Beamish nipped Talbi at the line, and both men finished in 13:36.

          “It felt really good, it’s always nice to get a win,” Philibert-Thiboutot said. “I knew in the last straight I had to kick because guys like Geordie Beamish have a great kick. I had a couple steps on him and i worked hard to keep it and it worked out.”

          After the early break, Beamish thought he was out of contention, falling 20 to 30 meters behind. “I had kind of resigned to racing for fourth,” he said. “Then I kind of looked ahead and they were kind of coming back to us a little bit. So I put in a hard move, like I normally do with 250 to go and ran out of road.”

          Willy Fink of Blacksburg, Virginia, earned top American honors, running 13:37 and finishing fourth.

          Gregorek and Rodenfels Earn BAA Invitational Mile Titles

          The BAA Mile course is a roughly three 530-meter loops around Boylston, Dartmouth, Newbury, and Exeter Streets and finishes right at the historic Boston Marathon finish line. The winds didn’t ease up from the BAA 5K a few hours earlier, so both races packed up early and came down to strong finishing sprints.

          After one loop, 2017 world championships qualifier and Massachusetts native Johnny Gregorek found himself in the back.

          Johnny Gregorek at the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials.
          Steph ChambersGetty Images

          “I knew that it was going to be a mad dash around those last couple turns, so the real emphasis of the race was just to stay relaxed and stay close,” he told Runner’s World.

          After the second loop, U.S. Olympian Mason Ferlic made a big push to the front, even after competing in the BAA 5K earlier. His lead wouldn’t last the final loop, as Gregorek, Kasey Knevelbaard, and American record holder in the 1,000 meters Shane Streich sprinted to take the top three spots in the final stretch.

          “It was fun, the jostling and the sharp turns,” Gregorek said. “It was really just the spirit of racing, no time involved, just trying to win.”

          Gregorek’s winning time was 4:08.15. Knevelbaard ran 4:08.88, and Streich ran 4:09.28.

          On the women’s side, Heather MacLean got out front of the pack early, leading the field through the first lap. The U.S. indoor 1500-meter champion was doubling back from running the opening 1,200-meter leg of the fastest distance medley relay in women’s indoor history last night.

          As a result, steeplechase specialist Annie Rodenfels of the BAA, Taryn Rawlins, and Emily Lipari dashed to the finish to take the top three spots.

          Rodenfels, who was initially intimidated by racing a group of milers, was happy to take the win. “I tried to... keep myself in contention and up with them,” she said. “And then halfway through, I was starting to feel like I was feeling better than everyone else.”

          Her coach told her to start her kick with 600 to go, but Rodenfels chose a different path to victory. “He told me, everyone wants to be a hero and leave it to look flashy on Boylston Street, and I was like yeah me too,” Rodenfels said.

          She caught the leaders by the final turn and charged down the home stretch to win in 4:35.51. Rawlins ran 4:35.59 for second and Lipari took third in 4:36.98.

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